Alan Pardew praises Newcastle hat-trick hero Leon Best

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew watched striker Leon Best prove there is Barclays Premier League talent in the npower Championship as he tore West Ham apart.

The 24-year-old, a late replacement for the injured Shola Ameobi, started his first top-flight game for the Magpies and emerged from it with a fine hat-trick after ending a personal goal drought dating back almost a year.

With Ameobi having joined 11-goal frontman Andy Carroll on the sidelines, his contribution could hardly have been any more timely and Pardew was delighted with his display.

He said: "Leon has a good record in the Championship, but he is unproven at this level.

"Like all strikers and players in the Championship, there is sometimes a snobbish opinion that they are not going to be good enough.

"But as Charlie Adam has proved at Blackpool and Leon has tonight, there are players in that division who can play at this level if they have the belief."

Best, who had not scored since January last year before he left Coventry for Tyneside, plundered a fine treble to set up a win which was every bit as comprehensive as the scoreline suggests.

He struck after 18 and 39 minutes and on both occasions was indebted to strike-partner Peter Lovenkrands, and then after Kevin Nolan had made it 3-0, completed his hat-trick on the hour.

Lovenkrands was rewarded with the fifth three minutes later as the Magpies coasted to victory, although substitute Nile Ranger was guilty of an astonishing miss with 17 minutes remaining.

The win came at some cost with Pardew losing defender Steven Taylor and midfielder Cheik Tiote to hamstring injuries, but the manager was at least able to console himself with back-to-back victories which have left the club in eighth place.

He said: "I said to the players, when you lose a big player - and let's make no mistake, Andy Carroll is a massive player for this football club - you need people to step up to the plate, and as a squad we have done that."

By contrast, the Hammers left St James' Park with their four-game unbeaten run in tatters and having slipped back to the foot of the table.

However, the league is so tight that they are only eight points worse off than the Magpies, and that was a source of consolation to manager Avram Grant.

He said: "Yes, we are disappointed with this, of course. We don't want to be at the bottom.

"But the most important thing is where we are at the end of the season.

"We spoke even today about continuing to do what we have done well until now - we forgot to do it today - and then we will continue to pick up points. That's what we need to do."

Asked if he feared for his job, Grant replied: "I am not thinking about that, never. I am thinking how I need to do my job, and that's all."

Voices
Tony Blair’s time as Middle East envoy representing the US, Russia, the UN and the EU has come to an end
voicesRobert Fisk: How come a war criminal ever became a 'peace envoy' in the first place?
News
people
Life and Style
food + drink
News
peopleKatie Hopkins criticises River Island's 'seize the day' bags for trying to normalise epilepsy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Night job: Pacha nightclub DJ, Joan Ribas, is the new kingmaker on the island
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family
film'I survived it, but I’ll never be the same,' says Arash Amel
Life and Style
Retailers should make good any consumer goods problems that occur within two years
tech(and what to do if you receive it)
Life and Style
healthIf one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada