West Ham 1-2 NUFC – Carroll earns his keep

Posted: October 23, 2010 in Blogs
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Newcastle’s near 3,000 strong away support tonight left Upton Park in equal measures of delight and surprise. Delighted that Newcastle once again showed that they are a force to be reckoned with on the road in the Premier League this season, yet surprised at the ease at which they rolled over a poor West Ham side. The opening quarter of an hour aside, West Ham showed little to suggest that they will still be in the Premier League come May. Bursting out of the starting blocks, West Ham took the game to United and found success in deploying the ball over the top for the pacy Obinna and Piquionne to race onto. The warning signs were already in place before Carlton Cole capitalised on Newcastle’s sluggish start firing home from point blank range in the 12th minute after Piquionne lost Coloccini to race onto a long ball from Mark Noble releasing him into the left side of the 18-yard box. He didn’t hesitate to pick out an onrushing Cole, who brushed past his marker, Jose Enrique, with relative ease. The goal was the least West Ham deserved after starting the game much the livelier of the two sides. However, with only one win this season and the nervous home crowd behind them, West Ham receded into their own half, content with their one goal lead, allowing Newcastle possession of the ball. The goal, and the Hammer’s reluctance to extend their lead seemed to stir the Newcastle players into life.

Carlton Cole opened the scoring for West Ham, yet the goal had a positive effect on Newcastle's game

Almost immediately Newcastle began to bombard the West Ham box with crosses, aiming to capitalise on the attacking 4-4-2 line up which saw Messr’s Ameobi and Carroll partner each other from the start of a game for the first time this season. With Barton pushed out wide to accomodate the return of club captain Kevin Nolan to the team in central midfield, the onus was upon the controversial Scouse schemer and Jonas Gutierrez to provide both width and crosses to supply the strikers with. Barton duly delivered in the 23rd minute with a good cross to the back post which a combination of Carroll and the shoulder of an unwitting West Ham defender knocked back into the path of the predatory Kevin Nolan whose carefully placed shot evaded the sliding legs of Scott Parker and found the bottom corner of Rob Green’s net. As with the first goal, the equaliser reversed the domination of the game, as West Ham awoke and again began to find flaws in Newcastle’s backline, testing keeper Tim Krul from corners and set pieces. The young Dutchman stood up the test however, calmly collecting several high balls before distributing the ball out to the flanks from hand, allowing Newcastle to counter attack without much success.

At half time, the game could have gone either way, with both sides looking decent going forward but also vulnerable at the back. However, the second period was as unexpected as it was enjoyable for Toon fans. West Ham could not string 3 passes together and Newcastle dominated the half from start to finish, with Skysports showing impressive possession stats of 66% to 34% in favour of the Mags at one point.In particular, Cheick Tiote showed why the immobile Alan Smith was dropped so quickly by Chris Hughton following the Ivorian’s arrival. The diminutive defensive midfielder has drawn comparisons with his African counterpart Michael Essien from boss Chris Hughton this week and the ex-FC Twente player certainly lived up to the hype in an all-action display at Upton Park, controlling the midfield despite having to contend with the competitive duo of Mark Noble and Scott Parker on the opposing lineup.

Cheick Tiote has been exceptional since signing in the summer, drawing comparisons with Michael Essien

Tiote showed incredible composure to continually shield the ball and evade challenges before starting Newcastle counter-attacks by spreading the ball out wide to the advancing Gutierrez and Barton. It was via this outlet that the Magpies deservedly took the lead in the 69th minute, with Barton sending Shola Ameobi scampering down the right-hand touchline with a neat through ball that split the West Ham defence. Ameobi turned, holding up the ball, before passing back to Barton who hit a first time cross that begged to be scored. The ball, starting off towards Rob Green in the West Ham goal, curled  and dipped delightfully onto the head of the diving Andy Carroll, whom evaded his marker with surprising ease to plant his firm header past Green from 6 yards out. Although Newcastle created few clear cut chances, they thoroughly deserved their lead, by virtue of their domination of the game, combined with West Ham’s incompetence and apparent lack of desire. For the remaining 20 minutes, Newcastle continued to dominate proceedings without really threatening to extend their lead, half chances for Gutierrez, Ameobi and Barton aside. At the other end, the only moment of slight concern for Tim Krul, who barely touched the ball in the second half, was a set piece from West Ham’s right wing that found defender Manuel Da Costa whose attempted bicycle kick from the edge of the area saw the ball fly well wide of the target.

Krul was hardly tested at Upton Park by an inspid West Ham side

The win is a massive timely boost for Newcastle, who move up to 9th in the table, with a mid-week Carling Cup tie against Arsenal standing in the way of next Sunday’s visit of Sunderland to St James’ Park, where local bragging rights are at stake. The 3 points taken from Upton Park should help to ease the tension and allow Newcastle to play with a more freedom at home against a free flowing mackem side in what promises to be one of the most intriguing Derby’s in years. Today’s performance epitomised the teams new found team spirit and although noone had a particularly outstanding game, Joey Barton and Cheick Tiote impressed in the engine room, with Barton’s service from out wide undoubtedly key to Newcastle’s win. It is however, the two goalscorers that will take the headlines from the win at Upton Park, after a troubling week for United’s young number 9 in which the man he assisted for the equalising goal became his housemate and landlord. By supplying one, and scoring the other, Carroll must surely have earned his keep at the Nolan household, at least for this week anyway.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s