West Ham assist Carroll in discovering his sanctuary

West Ham United 1 Newcastle United 2
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The Independent Football

When Joey Barton said after Saturday evening's match that Newcastle United had been "under a little bit of pressure created this week by people who shall remain anonymous," he was not kidding, except that Andy Carroll has been anything but anonymous. Last week's papers were full of the England Under-21 forward's misadventures, which included a night in the cells and a court appearance.

But when Barton added: "I am guilty of it as much as anyone down the years, so it isn't my place to comment," he was well off the mark. His experience of the pitfalls of a life lived in the glare of publicity – and occasionally on CCTV – makes him uniquely placed to advise Carroll on the best way forward.

Concentrating on football, as Carroll did on Saturday, helping to create Newcastle's equaliser and scoring the winner himself, is the right thing to do, according to Barton, who knuckled down on the right and supplied the crosses for both goals.

"I always found the pitch can be a little bit of a sanctuary," he said. "I've been in Andy's shoes. My reputation hindered me for a long, long time and I will try and guide him to stop him from going down that path. Andy is a good guy. He comes into training and works hard every day, and all the lads in the dressing room support him, as does the gaffer. If he loses that, he will be in trouble. We have a massive team spirit, the likes of which I haven't felt at any club I have been at before. You go 1-0 down in the Premier League, and the stats say that 80 per cent of the time you don't win. We gave West Ham a goal today and clawed that back. We had a ropy 15 minutes but we showed an enormous amount of character at a place which isn't easy to come to."

It was polite of Barton to say so, but is it true? This was West Ham's first defeat in five league matches, but it was not the first time conceding a goal has revealed their early confidence as fragile. Avram Grant, their manager, talked of winnable games to come but the next three visitors to Upton Park – West Bromwich Albion, Blackpool and Wigan Athletic – have all beaten better teams than his on the road this season.

Grant tried his best to sound confident that he will survive a sequence of matches that also includes testing visits to Arsenal [on Saturday], Liverpool and Sunderland. "We know we are going through a tough season but I think, even having lost this game, I am sure we can do it and we will stay positive," Grant said. One win would help, as it did for Newcastle's Chris Hughton, said to be under pressure last week. But finding it will be the tricky part.

West Ham United (4-3-3): Green; Jacobsen, Da Costa, Upson (Ilunga, 53), Gabbidon; Behrami (Barrera, 76), Parker, Noble; Piquionne (McCarthy, 67), Cole, Obinna. Substitutes not used Stech (gk), Ben Haim, Boa Morte, Faubert.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Enrique; Barton, Tiote, Nolan, Gutierrez; Carroll, Ameobi. Substitutes not used Soderberg (gk), Guthrie, Routledge, Lovenkrands, Perch, R Taylor, Smith.

Possession West Ham 48% Newcastle 52%.

Shots on target West ham 1 Newcastle 8.

Referee C Foy (Merseyside). Attendance 34,486.

Man of the match Barton. Match rating 7/10.

Match facts

Possession West Ham 48% Newcastle 52%.

Shots on target West ham 1 Newcastle 8.

Referee C Foy (Merseyside). Attendance 34,486.

Man of the match Barton. Match rating 7/10.

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