Hammers Knock The Magpies Off Their Perch
By Tom Dowsett
Monday 12 Nov 2012 12:40:00
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West Ham United picked up their first win at St James' Park since 1998 on Sunday afternoon by beating Newcastle United 1-0 to make it an easier start to the month of November than most Hammers fans expected.

Sam Allardyce made one change to the team that started last weekend's goalless home draw against Manchester City; James Collins failed a fitness test but was started on the bench and James Tomkins, who managed to pass his late check, came in to replace the Welshman in the starting line-up. Guy Demel also started on the bench.

West Ham started the match well having the best of the chances from the kick-off without creating any real danger, but it was Newcastle who tested Jussi Jaaskelainen first. A shot from Johan Cabaye looked as if it was on its way into the net and was only just kept out by the goalkeepers thigh.

On 34 minutes, West Ham were forced to make a change as Matt Jarvis seemed to pick up a knock and was replaced by Modibo Maiga.

As I mentioned in my preview to this game, Kevin Nolan, in a complete reversal from last season when he was so prolific away from Upton Park, he had yet to score away from East London this season. However on 38 minutes former magpie Kevin Nolan knocked in a goal to send the 2,700 strong travelling supporters into raptures.

Three minutes later, West Ham almost doubled their lead when good ball from Mohamed Diame set up Nolan who sadly shot well wide. However, if he had seen Andy Carroll pop up alongside him and slipped the ball to him the East Londoners could most certainly have made it 2-0.

As the half entered four minutes of stoppage time, the home side forced Jaaskelainen into a regulation save. Shane Ferguson's shot took a deflection off Tomkins and went out for a corner after, Mike Williamson collected the ball and produced an effort that was on target but unfortunately for a Newcastle it didn't end up in the back in the net.

As Alan Pardew's side pushed for an equaliser Hattem Ben Arfa was brought down by Mark Noble. The midfielder was promptly shown a yellow card.

Ben Arfa went close again when he took on Nolan and produced a shot which took a deflection off two West Ham defenders and into the side netting. Some of the home support thought their team had equalised, but instead the ball went out for a corner which the Hammers struggled to clear. Carroll missed his kick inside the box, leading to a shot on goal, but fortunately for the visitors Jaaskelainen saved well.

Just before the break, Maiga ran all the way to the byline and crossed for George McCartney but Davide Santon got to the ball ahead of Yossi Benayoun. With that Mike Dean brought the 1st half to a close.

At the break, Pardew decided to make a change replacing Papiss Demba Cisse with Shola Ameobi in an effort to try and pull a goal back and it nearly paid off as former Hammer Demba Ba headed the ball powerfully towards the corner of the net but was kept out by another miraculous save by Jaaskelainen.

On 52 minutes, Allardyce made his 2nd change replacing Benayoun with Gary O'Neil.

A minute later, Diame was put under considerable pressure by two Newcastle players, but he still managed to go on a surging run towards the goal. Willianson blocked his first effort but the Senegal international shot again from the ground which unfortunately went high and wide.

Jaaskelainen was called into action again on 64 minutes this time, making a superb double save. First he pushed Ameobi's shot around the post for a corner, then as Ben Arfa's kick came in the Finn was alert to palm the ball over the crossbar.

Two minutes later, McCartney had to be replaced after hurting his leg so big Sam decided to replace him with Demel which meant that he slotted into his normal right back position and Joey O'Brien switched to left back.

On 71 minutes, Jaaskelainen won another dual with Ben Arfa as he made another superb flying save from his latest effort which Maiga then cleared for a throw. Newcastle played it back to the keeper but gave possession back to Carroll, passed to Nolan who in turn returned the ball who was through on goal but Tim Krul did well to stop the effort.

The game was then end to end without a clear-cut chance being created with both keepers still working hard making save after save. After five minutes of stoppage time had been played, the Hammers fans cheered as the final whistle was blown. The club now finds itself 6th in the table with 18 points; not a bad position to be in given the fixtures they've had to face in November so far. Allardyce's men now have to wait until next Monday night when they welcome Stoke city to Upton Park.

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