Viduka Too Much For Hammers!

Last updated : 06 January 2009 By Footy Mad - Editor

NEWCASTLE: Harper, Beye, Cacapa (Taylor 78), Rozehnal, N'Zogbia, Smith, Geremi, Butt, Milner, Owen (Martins 51), Viduka (Jose Enrique 73).
Subs Not Used: Given, Faye.

WEST HAM: Green, Neill, Upson, Ferdinand, McCartney, Bowyer, Noble, Mullins (Ljungberg 62), Etherington (Spector 80), Cole (Camara 68), Ashton.
Subs Not Used: Wright, Collins.

Att: 50,104

The Australian got his side off to the perfect start with a second-minute bullet header, and he then converted Charles N'Zogbia's cross four minutes before half-time.

In the meantime, Dean Ashton had dragged the visitors back into it with his second goal in as many games since his return from injury, and the Hammers could count themselves unfortunate to go in behind at the break after pinning their hosts back for long periods.

Keeper Steve Harper had to produce excellent one-handed saves to deny first Mark Noble and then former team-mate Lee Bowyer, but the Magpies dominated the second half and were rewarded when N'Zogbia slotted home their third goal after 76 minutes.

The win was just what manager Sam Allardyce needed after a poor display in defeat at Derby on Monday evening.

The home side had taken to the pitch for the warm-up wearing tee-shirts bearing the slogan "Rock Steady", a message of solidarity with troubled bank Northern Rock, the club's shirt sponsor.

In an intensely uncomfortable 45 minutes, David Rozehnal and Claudio Cacapa, the latest recruits in the seemingly endless quest to stem the tide of goals which has blighted Newcastle for so long, were troubled by Carlton Cole and Ashton.

It was no surprise when the pair combined on 32 minutes to beat Harper, Cole climbing well to flick on Lucas Neill's long throw for Ashton to fire into the bottom corner.

The goal came as the visitors recovered from a disastrous start which had seen Viduka power home a second-minute header from N'Zogbia's near-post cross, and for much of the half, they were the better side.

Once again, it was N'Zogbia who created the opening, bursting past former Magpie Bowyer from Rozehnal's clearance before crossing to the far post for the former Middlesbrough front man to bundle home his second goal of the game and his third in a black and white shirt.

N'Zogbia made sure of the points with 14 minutes remaining when he fed Martins on the left and then met his cross to make it 3-1, and the Nigerian should have added his name to the scoresheet three minutes from time, but fired wide after rounding Green.