Newcastle United 2 West Ham United 1

Two early Newcastle United goals caught West Ham United cold at a freezing St James’ Park
Newcastle United 2 West Ham United 1
Barclays Premier League, St James' Park, Saturday 16 January 2016, 3pm

Two early goals caught West Ham United cold at a freezing St James’ Park as Newcastle United condemned the Hammers to their first Barclays Premier League defeat in nine matches.

Ayoze Perez and Georgino Wijnaldum netted for the Magpies within the opening 15 minutes to leave Slaven Bilic’s side with a mountain to climb.

Nikica Jelavic’s first league goal in Claret and Blue reduced the arrears just after half-time, but despite an improved second half showing, the Hammers could not grab an equaliser.

Ultimately, it was the slow start which gave West Ham too much to do in a game Newcastle were clearly desperate to win, seeing as they kicked-off in the Premier League relegation zone.

Expectations on the Hammers side were high after four straight wins in all competitions and a record-equalling eight-game unbeaten Premier League run, but all good things have to come to an end sometime.

Newcastle tore out of the blocks and were ahead within six minutes. Spaniard Perez had already been denied by Adrian once and he made no mistake with his second chance, finishing superbly into the bottom right-hand corner after a slick build-up involving new boy Jonjo Shelvey and Moussa Sissoko.

Adrian then tipped Aleksandr Mitrovic’s drive over the top, but it would not be long before the Magpies flew further into the lead.

Former West Ham schoolboy Shelvey was the architect with an accurate diagonal pass for Janmaat, whose first touch took him past Aaron Cresswell and into the clear. The Dutchman looked up and crossed low for fellow countryman Wijnaldum to thump high into the net from eight yards out.

Two goals to the good, the hosts continued to dominate as West Ham struggled to maintain possession of the football without the physical presence of a Carroll, Jelavic or Sakho in the forward areas.

Adrian saved from Mitrovic, before James Collins stooped to head Paul Dummett’s shot away from goal. In between, Enner Valencia headed wide, before seeing another effort squirm past the post, but not before he had been flagged for being offside from a Dimitri Payet free-kick.

West Ham finally enjoyed some sustained pressure as half-time approached, with Pedro Obiang’s superb first-time pass picking out Cheikhou Kouyate, but the Senegal midfielder was denied by Rob Elliot’s parry.

Bilic shuffled his pack at half-time, replacing defensive midfielder Obiang with striker Jelavic, and within four minutes the change in personnel reaped its reward.

Centre-half Chancel Mbemba was the culprit, playing a lazy back pass that left Elliot with no chance as the Croatian forward took possession, rounded the goalkeeper and finished with a calmness you would expect from such an experienced international.

The home side were rattled, and Steve McClaren changed his formation to a 3-5-2 to stem the Claret and Blue tide.

With the visiting fans roaring the Hammers on, West Ham continued to carry a threat, but it was the hosts who continued to create the clearer chances.

Wijnaldum sent a shot wide before Adrian twice saved from Mitrovic, while Collins and Cresswell both put their bodies on the line to make vital blocks.

Bilic threw on the fit-again Victor Moses and the Nigerian looked lively on his return, but still West Ham could not force a clear chance to level. Instead, Adrian again had to be at his best to deny Mitrovic the goal his performance probably deserved.

The Spaniard endured a busy afternoon and was again in the right place to stop a long-range effort from debutant Shelvey, who was urged to shoot by the Toon Army every time he got near the West Ham penalty area.

Into the final few minutes and West Ham created the chance they craved, but when Jelavic crossed for Kouyate, the No8’s powerful downward header was blocked by the legs of Elliot. Moses got to the ball first, but his penalty claims for a foul were waved away by referee Neil Swarbrick.

Mitrovic was denied again, Jelavic fired a volley narrowly over the top, Colback dragged low and wide, Adrian saved from the game Mitrovic and finally Shelvey curled another effort off-target as the game finished with a flurry of action in both penalty areas, but it was Newcastle who ultimately won the day.

Newcastle United: Elliott, Janmaat, Coloccini (c), Dummett (Saivet 57), Mbemba, Colback, Shelvey, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Perez (Gouffran 80), Mitrovic (Lascelles 90+5)
Subs not used: Darlow (GK), Aarons, Riviere, Toney

Goals: Perez 6, Wijnaldum 15
West Ham United: Adrian, Tomkins (Jenkinson 75), Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Obiang (Jelavic 46), Noble (c), Kouyate, Antonio (Moses 70), Payet, Valencia
Subs not used: Randolph (GK), Song, Cullen, Reid
Goal: Jelavic 49
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Attendance: 50,031