Sunday 11 November 2012
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce saluted captain Kevin Nolan as the pair returned to their former club Newcastle United and left with a 1-0 victory in the Barclays Premier League.
The 30-year-old scored the only goal of the game at St James' Park as the Magpies turned in a disappointing display.
"Of course it's our captain, who is our leading goalscorer, who has got us the three points,” said Allardyce. "His instincts in the box are there for all to see.
"It's five goals he has got in 11 games now in the Premier League - it should be six because he had one chalked off this week [against Manchester City] that he shouldn't have done - and for a midfield player to be totalling up that sort of goal tally is fantastic. That being the winner today is obviously satisfying for us all."
"It was a very professional performance and nobody was overawed"
Nolan struck from close range to convert Joey O'Brien's miscued shot and give the Hammers a 39th-minute lead to which they managed to cling for the remainder of the game.
Jussi Jaaskelainen had to produce fine saves to deny Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa among others, but he was supported by his defenders as Newcastle could not find the quality they needed to break the visitors down.
The win lifted West Ham, who were promoted last season, to sixth in the Barclays Premier League table, to the delight of Allardyce.
"It's a fantastic start to the season for us now, 11 games, 18 points,” he said. "Anybody who looks at what we have done, we had some reasonably good fixtures at the start of the season - every game is difficult in the Premier League, but they were more winnable than some of the fixtures we have perhaps got now.
"But in saying that, in our last three games, we lost to Wigan away, which I didn't expect, we drew with Manchester City and now we have beaten Newcastle.
"The big boys are coming up and we are still getting points, and that's the pleasing thing for me because confidence grows and grows and grows, as you could see today. It was a very professional performance by the players and nobody was overawed coming here."
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, whose former clubs include West Ham, was at a loss to explain his side’s performance.
"At home, we need to perform better than we did today"
"That's our 17th game and it's proving difficult to get any rhythm at home at the moment,” he said. "Away from home, we have been strong and solid and dogged without really pulling up many trees. But at home, we need to perform better than we did today, for sure.
"Defensively, we shouldn't have conceded that goal. We made a mistake on that and gave Kevin an easy opportunity."
Both sides were left counting the cost of a hard-fought game with Jonas Gutierrez, Papiss Cisse, Matt Jarvis, Yossi Benayoun and George McCartney all leaving the pitch injured and Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye limping through to the final whistle.
For details of the match including statistics and photos go to Matchday Live.
Newcastle United 0-1 West Ham | #NEWWHU | Matchday Live >>