Magpies Lift Tyneside Gloom With Win Over Hapless Hammers
Newcastle's terrible start to the season has ended after Joselu, Ciaran Clark and Aleksandar Mitrovic handed them a timely 3-0 victory over West Ham United.
The striker's close range finish, Clark's bullet header and Mitrovic's slotted effort put an end to the Magpies' three match losing streak to provide some optimism under the sun's rays at St.James' Park.
West Ham, meanwhile, must contend with yet another league defeat that keeps them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League heading into the first international break of the season.
Newcastle fashioned the first potential chance of the afternoon following a sweeping right wing move, but Joselu fired well wide from Isaac Hayden's cut back.
A testy encounter was bubbling along nicely after a couple of incidents involving Matt Ritchie and Javier Hernandez, and Newcastle's home support grew more raucous as Hayden leathered a first time shot just over the crossbar shy of the 20th minute mark.
A lengthy stoppage in play came not long after as Andre Ayew received extensive treatment on a nasty gash on his head, but the striker was able to continue.
Javier Manquillo and Aaron Cresswell traded off target efforts as both sides struggled to create much, given their lack of confidence, but the home side's fortunes - and goal drought - was about to end.
Declan Rice was caught in possession by Ritchie, whose pass found Mikel Moreno in space. The midfielder's through ball to Christian Atsu was cut back in the area by the forward and, with Hart out of position, Joselu beat the retreating Rice to tap home into an unguarded net.
Atsu drew a sprawling save from Hart in first-half injury time as the Magpies tried to double their advantage. West Ham, in contrast, were consistently seeing attacks break down at the final moment.
Clark's goal-line clearance prevented Michail Antonio from hauling the Hammers level eight minutes after the restart - the centre-back's intervention coming after Hernandez had sent Rob Elliot's save from Ayew's vicious shot back towards goal.
Pablo Zabaleta then performed a similar feat to stop Joselu adding his second of the afternoon on the rebound from Ritchie's low effort, while Hernandez forced a simple save from Elliot down the opposite end.
Clark notched his goal with 19 minutes left to play. The defender rose unmarked in the box as Ritchie recycled a free kick from the right wing, and the 27-year-old's header cannoned off the post and nestled into the net.
Cresswell denied man-of-the-match Ritchie a deserved goal 15 minutes from time, while substitute Mitrovic guided a header over from Hayden's centre.
Manuel Lanzini fired a free kick well over the bar on his return from an ankle injury and Hart was quick to prevent Mitrovic adding a third moments after.
This is the best West Ham squad for a long time and he has them playing like this. It's pathetic. Should have hired Mancini last season.— Luke Boarer (@Luke_Boarer) August 26, 2017
There was nothing the Manchester City loanee could do just seconds later though. Mitrovic timed his run to perfection and, after collecting Ayoze Perez's dinked pass, rounded Hart to slot home to earn all three points for Rafael Benitez's men.