Football: Kitson keeps Europe in sight

West Ham United 2 Newcastle United 0 Di Canio 17, Kitson 82 Half-time: 1-0 Attendance: 25,997; Day Hammers took full advantage of Di Canio's sweet cameo

WEST HAM'S Anglo-Italian alliance had the Eastenders dreaming of Europe yesterday. Paolo di Canio and Paul Kitson both hit the target against a disappointing Newcastle side to lift Harry Redknapp's men into fifth place in the Premiership and within striking distance of a Uefa Cup place.

As the West Ham manager pointed out afterwards, a few years ago Newcastle would have visited Upton Park with the expectation of walking away with all three points. Back then Newcastle were also regulars in Europe, but, as Redknapp said: "They have gone backwards a bit recently."

Having completed the double over the Magpies this season, Redknapp has proof that the tables have now turned and the perfect way to demonstrate that beyond any doubt would be for West Ham to play in Europe for the first time since the early 1980s.

Before Kitson scored West Ham's second goal seven minutes from time, Redknapp's men were on their way to registering a 1-0 thrashing, such was the extent of Newcastle's anaemic performance.

Ruud Gullit made three changes to his side after their defeat against Manchester United last week but that made them look even more disjointed, while the West Ham defence coped easily with the threat, such as it was, from Alan Shearer and Louis Saha. The former had only one shot on goal, a free-kick turned away well by Shaka Hislop after just four minutes, while the latter's only shot came closer to putting out a floodlight than ever illuminating his own performance.

Di Canio gave West Ham the lead and, with the greatest of irony, he did it with the help of the referee, Paul Durkin. It was Di Canio, after all, who made himself an enemy of the men in the middle by pushing over Durkin's fellow referee Paul Alcock last September, an action which ultimately led to the Italian joining West Ham.

With 15 minutes gone the ball deflected to Di Canio and, despite the assistant referee flagging for offside, Durkin waved play on after seeing the ball reach the Italian off Newcastle's Nikos Dabizas. All that was left was for Di Canio to stroll unchallenged into the penalty area and roll the ball into the net, with Newcastle's defence left square and stranded 20 yards further back. Gullit later called Durkin's decision correct but accused his defence of being "sloppy".

By now Di Canio was tormenting the Newcastle back line and it was the former Milan, Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday striker who, after 13 minutes, crossed from the left only for Kitson to glance his header over the bar. Then, with 28 minutes gone, Di Canio again caused panic only for Dabizas to clear over the crossbar in front of his goalkeeper.

It was a good thing Kitson eventually did score, as it was his miss after 67 minutes that gave Newcastle the belief they could still snatch something from the game. Di Canio crossed, but Kitson's header hit the post before Laurent Charvet cleared off the line. He was more clinical with his next chance, turning Dabizas and slotting the ball past Shay Given after Frank Lampard had found him with a 30-yard pass.

Redknapp was particularly pleased with Di Canio's efforts. He said: "[He] was off for four months and still feels he's only 65 or 70 per cent fit but he was tremendous, especially in the first half-hour. I never thought he was really a gamble. He works hard, his attitude is great and you can't get him off the training field. He lives right, he eats right, he lives for the game and he's so excited that we've won today."

Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003