It was a proper knees-up, on Level Seven of the Leazes End of St James’ Park, long before Felipe Anderson crashed in the third and final goal of a one-sided afternoon.
Newcastle had won three successive games before Manuel Pellegrini took his men north. There was a need to check the Hammers had won just one of their previous seven by the time a comprehensive victory was concluded.
They were so much quicker and sharper, and the trio of Marco Arnautovic, Felipe Anderson and Javier Hernandez were at a level Newcastle’s defence could not cope with.
The margin of victory could have been greater. Hernandez scored twice and Arnautovic could have walked away with the same. It was a reminder, if Tyneside needed one, of the quality that real investment brings.
Rafa Benitez cut a frustrated figure as the final twenty minutes were played out. The visitors led two-nil by then. It was a struggle to find any sorts of answers for the Spaniard.
This was not his kind of football, open and littered with mistakes.
There had been a barnstorming run by Fabian Schar, charging past three West Ham players, and only as he became intoxicated with the lure of a quite outrageous goal, tried to go past the excellent Fabian Balbuena, that he was stopped by a fine challenge.
Newcastle did not retain full possession from there, and around six or seven passes later, Robert Snodgrass whipped over a right-footed cross from the right, Schar and central defensive partner Federico Fernandez were pulled out of position by the movement of Arnautovic and the unmarked Hernandez struck a first time shot past Martin Dubravka.
It was bang on the 11th minute.
Disaffected Newcastle supporters formed the Magpie Group in the summer, with the notion to make life difficult for Mike Ashley, after 11 years of his tenure. There is a planned boycott for the next home game against Wolves because of lack of investment in the playing squad.
Against West Ham a group of supporters, probably numbering between 500-1000 did not take their seats until the 11th minute.
Those supporters had only just started to filter back in their seats as Hernandez wheeled away in celebration.
Any hope of a joyous, raucous entry of those fed up with the Ashley regime was ended at that moment. Indeed Newcastle, who had started brightly, went flat for a period in the aftermath of the goal.
Arnautovic had the paradox of being a wasteful menace. Newcastle could not control the player, until his 70th minute substitution, presumably with an eye on Tuesday’s game with Cardiff.
West Ham had all but won by then, the Austrian flicking on in the 64th minute and Hernandez scarpered through before driving an angled shot past Dubravka.
There had been chances for Newcastle and Ayoze Perez had the best of them.
He missed with a twisting header, a glancing header and shot wide when through on the left.
Still, it came as surprise when his departure in the 78th minute was greeted with cheers by sections of the home support. Perez had scored the winning goal n Newcastle’s first victory of the season at the start of November. Modern football has no memory.
There was just a far greater cutting edge form the visitors. Hernandez’ movement and Arnautovic’s invention were a problem neither Newcastle or Benitez could solve. Arnautovic went around Dubravka in the 25th minute, but was forced so wide he could not shoot and four minutes later, again resisting the shot, he cut back inside the Newcastle six-yard box and the ball struck the heel of Fernandez. He spurned a fine chance five minutes into the second half and 60 seconds later smashed a shot wide from a narrow-angle.
Seven minutes later the forward found Hernandez and on this occasion the Mexican could not find the finish that such a good opportunity merited.
The goal followed soon after and despite opportunities for the well-marshalled Salomon London and a free-kick Jonjo Shelvey smashed over the bar, Newcastle were well beaten by the finish, a fact reinforced by Anderson’s low, angled drive right at the death.
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