Hammers Achieve Newcastle Double
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 03 Mar 2019 16:27:00
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West Ham United achieved their second double in the space of eight days after a home win over Newcastle United in Saturday's late kick-off.

Manuel Pellegrini again made five changes to the team that narrowly lost away at Manchester City four days earlier, as Aaron Cresswell was back in the starting line-up after missing the encounter at The Etihad Stadium and regained his place from Academy graduate Ben Johnson, while captain Mark Noble returned to the side, taking the place of Pedro Obiang. 

Robert Snodgrass came back in for Samir Nasri with the Frenchman dropping back to the bench, Manuel Lanzini was handed his first start of the season, as Michail Antonio was also amongst the substitutes. Javier Hernández was also preferred to Andy Carroll as the lone striker.

The club had recently earmarked this fixture as the game where they were going to rename the East Stand in honour of Billy Bonds and once the action had started, the team were keen to pay their own tribute and they couldn't have asked for a better start, as with only seven minutes gone, Declan Rice headed past visiting goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. 

West Ham survived a scare when Ayoze Pérez thought he'd equalised but his effort was ruled out for offside.

After a lengthy stoppage due to Cresswell being attended to by the medical staff for a second time, Pellegrini had to make an early change with Arthur Masuaku being introduced on 34 minutes.

Rafael Benitez's men were creating opportunities but Issa Diop was in the way of every one of them, before
West Ham almost grabbed a second. Unfortunately though, Lanzini was unable to apply the telling touch in order to beat Dubravka.

The Irons didn't have to wait too long to go further in front however, as referee Christopher Kavanagh awarded a spot-kick after Hernández had been brought down by Florian Lejeune. Noble stepped up and smashed the ball past Dubravka to claim only his second goal of the current campaign.

Five minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the first-half due to Cresswell sustaining the injury but when the whistle was blown, the Hammers who were clearly enjoying their evening up to this point wanted to see if they could make it even more of a special occasion for both the club and Bonds.

Newcastle who went into this match off the back of an unbeaten three-game spell were still trying to find a way back into the game early in the second-half. Fortunately for the home faithful though, both Isaac Hayden and Pérez sent their efforts wide.

West Ham were playing some wonderful football at times in the game and this was particularly evident on the hour mark when Masuaku played a great ball to Hernández, the Mexican then took control but by the time he was ready to release his shot, the angle was too narrow, meaning he only found the side netting.

With his team unable to find the net for a third time, on 70 minutes, Pellegrini sent on Marko Arnautovic to see if he could make a difference.

Salomón Rondón looked odds-on to score but Angelo Ogbonna came to his team's rescue and produced a perfectly-timed tackle, while Newcastle had to do some defensive work of their own, as Snodgrass tried an ambitious effort but it was well blocked.

In all fairness to the visitors, they weren't without their fair share of decent opportunities but home stopper Lukasz Fabianski made some equally brilliant saves to keep them at bay.

Both teams made a change on 79 minutes with the West Ham skipper being withdrawn for Obiang, meaning Arnautovic was handed the captain's armband for the remainder of the match. Seconds later, the Spaniard was then followed onto the pitch by Christian Atsu, as he took the place of Hayden.

Whilst the Magpies were still carving out opportunities to grab a consolation, the home side were in the mood for a third but in the end, the two goals were enough to claim another hardfought win.

Pellegrini's men will be desperate to earn another three points when they make the trip to Wales to face newly-promoted Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon.

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