Premier League – Newcastle beat miserable West Ham
Carlton Cole scored his first goal of the season to put the Hammers in front inside the first quarter of an hour, before Newcastle skipper Kevin Nolan levelled for the visitors midway through the first half.
With 20 minutes to go, Andy Carroll headed the Magpies in front with his first goal since August, and the Hammers – depleted during the match by injuries to Matthew Upson and Frederic Piquionne – could not find an answer.
Avram Grant’s side are bottom with a worse goal difference than Liverpool and Wolves, who are also both on six points. Liverpool play Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.
Newcastle, meanwhile, climb all the way up to ninth, above Aston Villa on goal difference. That the Magpies started the day in 17th place should serve as a reason for hope for those in the relegatin zone, but something at West Ham needs to change dramatically if they are to haul themselves up the table and out of trouble now.
After a strong start from the Hammers Mark Noble spied Frederic Piquionne’s run and picked him out with an excellent long ball over the Newcastle defence. The Frenchman turned and fired a low ball across the box allowing Cole to slide in and score his first goal since May.
Newcastle had begun to get themselves into the game just before the opening goal, and they were back on terms 10 minutes later courtesy of Nolan’s fourth goal of the season.
Nolan currently has Andy Carroll living at his house as part of the conditions of the striker’s bail on an assault charge, and the pair linked up in their day job to level the score. Carroll headed down Joey Barton‘s cross to the far post into Nolan’s path his captain to strike a crisp low finish that left West Ham keeper Robert Green rooted to the spot.
After both sides had good spells rewarded with a goal each, the rest of the first half was a more keenly contested affair.
With Cole and Piquionne as the front pairing, Victor Obinna dropped back into midfield. The Nigerian took time to make his mark on the match, but two skilful runs down the left saw one dangerous ball flash across goal and Scott Parker fire over the bar, and they served to lift the Hammers in the run-up to half-time.
West Ham looked to replicate their bright start in the second half, but the losses of Upson and Piquionne were added knocks to their confidence as they were already struggling to break down a well-organised Newcastle side.
The belief was visibly draining out of the players, just as it was on the terraces, and it was no surprise when Carroll finally headed Newcastle into the lead.
It was another irresistible cross from Barton on 70 minutes, and defender Manuel da Costa gave Carroll all the space he needed to send a header past Green for his fifth goal of the season.
As the clock ticked down there was hardly any sign of a fight back from the Hammers, and by the final whistle those fans who stayed to watch the end made their feelings perfectly clear.
Tony Mabert / Eurosport