Dismal West Ham plunge to another home defeat against Newcastle
PUBLISHED: 17:13 02 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:13 02 November 2019
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The Hammers late comeback is not enough to get anything from Newcastle clash
West Ham United 2 Newcastle United 3
Manuel Pellegrini was left to reflect on another desperately disappointing Hammers performance as the Magpies sent his side slip-sliding into the bottom-half of the table.
The Tynesiders had netted just six times in their opening ten matches but they went goal crazy in the East End, scoring three goals inside 51 minutes and although West Ham struck twice late-on, the Chilean's team never looked like getting anything from this match.
Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernández put Newcastle firmly in control with two goals inside the space of five fateful first-half minutes and, just after the break, former West Ham scholar Jonjo Shelvey - who had earlier rocked the bar - put the game out of reach with a 30-yard free-kick.
Fabián Balbuena nudged in from close range on 73 minutes and Robert Snodgrass spectacularly volleyed home in stoppage-time but that overdue show of resistance proved too little, too late for the lack-lustre hosts.
Last week's draw against Sheffield United had made it three games without a win for the Hammers, who came into this game in tenth-spot - four points and seven places above the visitors - but, despite having seen his side's early-season momentum evaporate, Pellegrini still named an unchanged side in his quest to get back to winning ways.
In a sluggish start to this contest, the opening exchanges were littered with mistakes that the purists would have found alarming and, apart from a couple of half chances that fell to Balbuena from two early Snodgrass corners, neither side threatened.
The hitherto goal-shy Tynesiders had arrived in the capital with just two wins to date and, following their draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers last Sunday, Steve Bruce made two changes as Romford-born Shelvey and Isaac Hayden came in for the Longstaff brothers - Matt relegated to substitute and Sean suspended.
That meant returning former Hammers striker, Andy Carroll - having netted 34 goals in 142 outings in the Claret & Blue - had to settle for a familiar place on the London Stadium bench as the Magpies boss stuck with one-goal, £40m record-signing, Joelinton up front.
Even as the quarter-hour mark ticked over, there still looked to be no danger of the fog lifting on the Tynesiders any time soon but in a devastating five-minute blast, the Magpies somehow soared into a two-goal lead.
On 16 minutes, the incandescent Issa Diop was booked for running across the path of Miguel Almirón on the edge of the area and, when Shelvey floated the consequent free-kick towards the far post, Joelinton headed back across goal, where Clark powerfully headed home from six yards.
Then, with the midway point approaching, Shelvey's short-corner to Allan Saint-Maximin was laid back to Jetro Willems, who launched a deep left-wing cross into the Hammers area, where Roberto - carelessly caught in two minds - could only look on helplessly as Fernández sent a looping 12-yard header into his unguarded net.
Shortly after slumping two-goals behind, it could have got yet worse for West Ham, when Saint-Maximin broke clear from halfway but the lone figure of Roberto prevented a London Stadium evacuation by saving with his knees.
Ten minutes before the break, Saint-Maximin found himself with just the Hammers keeper to beat, once more, and yet again Roberto won the duel and, even though the ball fell kindly for the flying Frenchman, Almirón could not convert the square pass.
Moments later, Shelvey rocked the crossbar with a crisp 18-yarder that scorched through the November air and, with the Claret & Blue boos were ringing out, signalling panic stations amongst a home crowd, who had arrived at the very same London Stadium less than a month ago, hoping that the Hammers could climb into third place.
As the interval neared, Sebastién Haller met Felipe Anderson's left-wing cross with an acrobatic overhead kick that finally brought a first save of the afternoon from Martin Dúbravka, who then brilliantly tipped Balbuena's header over the crossbar before Diop nodded onto the roof of the net.
With Saint-Maximin also forcing Roberto into a full-length parry in stoppage-time, Pellegrini made a double-switch for the restart as Mark Noble and Andriy Yarmolenko stood down for Albian Ajeti and Manuel Lanzini.
As the rain tumbled from the Stratford skies, Aaron Cresswell was then booked for tripping Almirón before a dismal, damp afternoon got yet worse for the East End on 51 minutes, when Snodgrass fouled and Shelvey sent a 30-yard free-kick curling past the Hammers wall, beyond the groping gloves of Roberto and inside the keeper's left-hand post.
At the other end, Ajeti wanted too long as Dúbravka stood his ground, while Declan Rice skied high over but with 20 minutes remaining, Balbuena did find the net, when Anderson's near-post corner was flicked on by Haller and the Paraguayan nudged the ball over the line with his knee.
With two minutes remaining, Carroll stepped from the bench to applause from both sets of supporters and, within seconds of his arrival, the Big Man could only look on as Anderson's left-wing cross was spectacularly volleyed home by Snodgrass from 18 yards but even with five minutes of added time, the Hammers had simply left it too late to complete an unlikely salvage operation.
HAMMERS: Roberto, Zabaleta (Fredericks 72), Cresswell, Diop, Balbuena, Rice, Noble (Ajeti h/t), Yarmolenko (Lanzini h/t), Anderson, Snodgrass, Haller. Unused subs: Martin, Sánchez, Fornals, Ogbonna.
MAGPIES: Dubravka, Yedlin, Willems (Dummett 86), Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark, Hayden, Shelvey, Almirón, Saint-Maximin (Atsu 77), Joelinton (Carroll 89). Unused subs: Darlow, Dummett, Gayle, Krafth, Longstaff M.
Booked: Diop (14), Cresswell (48).
Referee: Stuart Attwell