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Newcastle Utd 2-1 West Ham Utd

Filed: Saturday, 16th January 2016
By: Staff Writer

West Ham came crashing back down to earth at St James' Park with a disappointing defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Newcastle United, as Steve McLaren finally got the better of his opposite number.

Goals from Ayoze Perez (after just six minutes) and Georginio Wijnaldum (15) gave the home side and their manager - dubbed 'the wally with the brolly' following England's defeat by Bilic's Croatia in the 2008 European Championship qualifiers - a dream opening that simply left the visitors with too much to do.

And although Nikica Jelavic managed to pull one back for the Hammers at the beginning of the second half, West Ham couldn't produce a second goal to give them the point their performance probably didn't deserve.

Although there had been a modicum of talk - mostly from people outside of the club - regarding West Ham's potential Champions League credentials ahead of the game, there were few signs during it that Bilic's side are ready to threaten the top four.

And it took the hosts - who went into the game without a win in five matches, in stark contrast to West Ham who were hoping to set a Premier League record with a ninth successive game without defeat - just six minutes to break the deadlock.

Mark Noble, not for the first time this season conceded possession in the centre of the park and Newcastle took full advantage by working the ball to Perez, whose curling shot from outside the box left goalkeeper Adrian clutching air.

And the second goal (from a Newcastle perspective, at least) on the quarter-hour mark was even better, with a superb move - started by Jonjo Shelvey, Newcastle's £12million midweek signing - ended by Wijnaldum, converting a pinpoint cross from Daryl Janmaat wide on the right.

Such was their domination in the opening spell, Newcastle could have been four or five ahead before West Ham seriously threatened when a superb through ball by Pedro Obiang was met by Cheik Kouyate who could only fire straight at Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal.

But better was to come for the Hammers within minutes of the restart, when Jelavic scored his second goal in three games having taken advantage of a defensive lapse by the hosts. A poor back pass allowed the Croatian striker to nip in and round Elliot before passing the ball into an empty net.

For all their subsequent effort, West Ham were unable to grab a second goal - although Kouyate came within inches of snatching an equaliser when his 90th-minute header was cleared off the line.

However it wasn't to be and the Hammers slipped to a first defeat since the heavy defeat at Tottenham back in November 2015.

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