Match Report: West Ham United's ‘Emotional’ Kevin Nolan returns to haunt Newcastle, the club he loves

Newcastle United 0 West Ham United 1

st James' Park

There is often a circularity to football: Newcastle were 11th when Mike Ashley sacked Sam Allardyce; Allardyce was back at St James’ Park as manager of West Ham yesterday; and Kevin Nolan, the former Newcastle captain who was sold 16 months ago, scored in the 38th minute.

It was a match-winning goal that moved his newly promoted side up to sixth in the table. Nolan pounced at the Gallowgate End, where many of the 30 goals he scored during his two and a half years at the club were scored. For the first time, he did not celebrate.

Andy Carroll, the forward who was sold by Newcastle for £35m to Liverpool and who was hounded relentlessly on his return last season with the Reds, was a makeshift third central defender late on for West Ham, and chested a 94th-minute cross back to his goalkeeper. He ended up man-marking Demba Ba, the centre-forward who was signed to replace him. Carroll also almost scored, after having been set up by Nolan.

“It was a perfect scenario for me to score the winner,” said Nolan. “It was quite emotional when I did score the goal: I had a little moment with Mark Noble afterwards. I did say I was never going to celebrate scoring against Newcastle and I never will. I love Newcastle and love everything about it – I made so many friends here along with my family. My boy is a Geordie, he was born here.

“That was down to the support I received when I was here. I’m just delighted for us because it got us the result and it moves us further up the table and it keeps us in the mix really.

“What we’re trying to do at West Ham is what we tried to do at Newcastle. When we came up it was about getting them back to where they belonged and then eventually into Europe. That’s what I feel that West Ham should do.”

Yesterday’s defeat left Newcastle 10th in the Premier League, one place higher than when Allardyce departed, back in January 2008.

The dismissal almost led Allardyce to quit management. He was encouraged to do so by his wife. He felt it was his one shot at one of England’s big clubs, and in eight months it ended.

Victory, although he did not admit it, will always be more special when he returns to St James’ Park. That is human nature.

Instead, he chose to focus on the performance and the resounding form this season of Nolan, whose goal was his fifth in the Premier League since the club returned to England’s elite.

“It’s our captain who is our leading scorer, who has got us the points with the goal,” he said. “His instinct in front of goal is there for us all to see. That’s five goals in 11 games now, for a midfielder and captain to get that tally is fantastic.

“Kevin’s relationship with Andy [Carroll] is such a good one, I don’t need to do a lot of coaching with those two. Kevin will instinctively play off Andy and vice-versa. That combination is causing lots of problems. We have 18 points after 11 games and that is an outstanding start.”

That is beyond dispute. As indeed was their superiority. This game was symptomatic of two things: West Ham’s growing power and belief, and Newcastle’s disjointed campaign. After 11 games no one is sure if they are doing well or badly. What Everton are doing this season, Newcastle did last, challenging to be in the top six. It raised expectations, and so far, in the Premier League, they have not been met.

Mohamed Diame was a force in midfield that Newcastle could not stop. Nolan’s wit and invention saw him score, go close twice and tee up Carroll in the 72nd minute with a chance that, but for Tim Krul’s brilliant right-handed save, would have brought serious consternation down from the St James’ Park stands.

Hatem Ben Arfa probed and saw a shot saved well by Jussi Jaaskelainen, low to his left. The goalkeeper then denied Ba in the 47th minute, although there was a half-hearted appeal that it had gone over the line.

In there somewhere is the fact that Newcastle were forced to live off the scraps, and they are clearly not the same side as last season.

“It is proving difficult to get into the rhythm at home,” admitted manager Alan Pardew. “Away from home we have been strong and dogged without pulling up trees. At home we need to perform better than we did today.

“I didn’t think Europe had much impact here. We played a different side. We have only had a couple of days to prepare, but I don’t want to make the Europa League an excuse. We had a good mindset today and we just didn’t click.”

It is November, and it still feels as though Newcastle, who finished fifth last season, are yet to do that. West Ham, on the other hand, continue to grow in belief.

Bookings: NU Ben Arfa. WH Noble, O’Brien

Man of match Nolan

Match rating 6/10.

Possession: NU 50%. WH 50%

Ref M Dean (Merseyside)

Att 51,855

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power