Newcastle end five-match unbeaten run

Two-goal Mark Viduka ended West Ham United's unbeaten five-game run with a clinical first-half double that sent the Magpies flying over Alan Curbishley's men in the Premier League table.

And although ton-up Dean Ashton had given Hammers' hope with the 100th goal of his career on the half-hour mark, Charles 'Zogbia's 75th-minute strike finally sunk the plucky visitors.

Curbishley had made two changes from the side that had so comprehensively beaten Newcastle's neighbours, Middlesbrough, last weekend as fit-again Anton Ferdinand replaced James Collins, while Carlton Cole came in for injured former Tynesider, Craig Bellamy.

In the absence of Nolberto Solano, Scott Parker and Kieron Dyer, that meant that Lee Bowyer was the only returning Magpie out of the five former St James's Park stars now on the Upton Park roll-call.

Unbeaten since the opening day of the season, sixth-placed West Ham United may not have won on Tyneside since an Ian Wright double and a Trevor Sinclair strike had earned them a 3-0 win back in October 1998, but they had drawn their last two matches at St. James's Park.

And they certainly started confidently, too, when almost straight from the kick-off Cole scooped an 18-yarder over Steve Harper's right-hand angle.

Following his ninth-placed side's dismal defeat at Derby County six days earlier, Sam Allardyce had also made a couple of changes as Habib Beye was handed a full debut at the expense of Steven Taylor, while Shola Ameobi was replaced by Viduka.

And despite that early scare, the Newcastle boss soon saw the Magpies get off to a flier thanks to his fit-again Aussie striker.

The game had been preceded by a minute's poignant applause for 15-year-old youth player, Jordan Thompson, who had tragically died last weekend but within just two minutes of the kick-off, the St. James's Park crowd were clapping in much happier circumstances after James Milner laid the ball back to 'Zogbia and his left-wing cross into the six-yard box was nodded home at the near post by the diving Viduka.

Not surprisingly, that early Newcastle opener left the visitors on the back foot but the Hammers gradually found their feet and as the half-hour mark approached, the unlucky Mark Noble saw his low 18-yarder expertly diverted aside by the outstretched right-palm of Harper, who then bundled Cole's point-blank effort behind shortly afterwards.

And on 31 minutes, West Ham forced an equaliser, when Lucas Neill's long-throw created mayhem in the Magpies' six-yard box and after a scrappy rally of impromptu head tennis, Cole finally nodded the ball into the path of Dean Ashton, who spun and claimed that century of league and cup goals with a crisp eight-yard, left-foot shot to the left of Harper.

But just when it looked like Curbs was going to be going into his half-time team-talk all square, he again saw his defence unlocked by the dangerous 'Zogbia and Viduka combination, four minutes before the break.

This time, the flying French U-21 international got the better of the retreating Bowyer before sending a deep, low centre beyond both Ferdinand and Matthew Upson and, ghosting in at the far post, Viduka slid Newcastle back into an interval lead.

Just after restart, both Hayden Mullins and Cole were booked for fouls on Viduka and 'Zogbia respectively and, after the subdued Michael Owen hobbled away to be replaced by Obafemi Martins, both David Rozehnal and Nicky Butt went close with 25-yarders.

As passions ran high, referee Mike Riley was then forced to lecture both the marauding Noble and Butt after a midfield skirmish and, on the hour, Hammers also introduced Freddie Ljungberg at the expense of the unfortunate Mullins as the workmanlike Bowyer moved into central midfield.

And after Dean Ashton sent a low 25-yard free-kick into Harper's midriff before agonisingly back-heading beyond the far post, Curbs upped the stakes further when he replaced Cole with fresh-legged Henri Camara.

On 70 minutes, Bowyer latched onto Rozehnal's clearance but Harper was equal to his low 15-yarder and, with West Ham desperately looking for that elusive leveller, Allardyce sacrificed Viduka in favour of Spanish defender Jose Enrique.

But with a quarter-of-an-hour left, 'Zogbia extinguished all hopes of a West Ham recovery when he picked out the overlapping Martins with a perfect pass before racing into the six-yard box, getting the better of Noble and bundling home the Nigerian's return to the tangible relief of St James' Park.