Newcastle United 3 West Ham United 0
Newcastle United FC
- Neil Swarbrick
Newcastle produced a much-improved display to see off West Ham and secure a first win of the Premier League campaign.
Joselu – making his first start for the club – gave the Magpies a deserved lead heading into the interval, prodding the ball beyond Joe Hart following Christian Atsu’s square.
The Hammers almost restored parity through Javier Hernández shortly after the break, only for Ciaran Clark to hack the frontman’s goalbound effort away from goal.
It was Clark himself who all but put the outcome beyond doubt and, with five minutes remaining, substitute Aleksandar Mitrović capped off a fine day at the office for Newcastle.
Key to an impressive victory, however, was Joselu. The Spanish frontman put himself about early on, and it was he who had the first attempt of note, firing wide of the near post from an Isaac Hayden cross after a neat passage of play.
The former Stoke City forward then caused a moment of panic in the Hammers’ backline with a dinked cross. Mark Noble, under pressure from Jamaal Lascelles, only managed to clear as far as Hayden, whose powerful effort narrowly cleared the crossbar.
It took Slaven Bilić’s side almost half an hour to register a first shot at goal. A Chancel Mbemba error allowed André Ayew to gather the ball wide on the right, but the Ghanaian failed to trouble Rob Elliot after cutting inside.
They came closer a minute later, though, as Aaron Cresswell’s vicious first-time strike flew just off-target following a Noble cross.
But, just as the visitors looked to be getting a foothold, it was Newcastle who struck. Declan Rice squandered possession inside the Hammers’ half, allowing Mikel Merino the chance to gather a loose ball and set Atsu clear down the left. The wide-man could have taken aim himself, but instead opted to tee up Joselu, who duly tapped in.
Their tails up, the Magpies looked by far the brighter as the first half came to a close. Both Merino and Atsu let fly before the break, but Hart twice got down to his left in time.
West Ham almost levelled before the hour-mark, however. With room to roam, Cresswell forced Elliot into a parry from 20 yards, with the ball dropping for Hernández deep inside the area. The Mexican’s follow-up looked to be rolling in, but Clark got back in time to clear.
Newcastle saw a similar chance come and go ten minutes later. Joselu looked set to pounce after Hart failed to gather Ritchie’s low-struck effort, but Pablo Zabaleta slid in to intervene at the vital moment.
After a thoroughly impressive display, Joselu was withdrawn just after the 70th minute. Mitrović was his replacement but, just seconds later, United’s second arrived from a far less likely source. Ritchie kept a move alive deep on the right before whipping in a fine cross, and Clark rose high to nod home via the near post.
Mitrović had still only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes when he forced Hart into a smart stop, the ‘keeper doing well to narrow the angle after the Serbian had held his line.
He was not to be denied next time, though. Pérez sent the frontman in on goal again, and he calmly rounded Hart before netting his second goal of the season.