Filed: Saturday, 17th December 2005
By: Matthew O'Greel
West Ham slipped to their second consecutive home defeat against Newcastle United this afternoon.
Goals from Alan Shearer and a Michael Owen hat-trick secured all three points for the visitors - although the Hammers will be highly disappointed to lose a game which they dominated for long periods.
Alan Pardew's side may well have stolen at least a point had they not been denied by the woodwork, or a goal line clearance from Alan Shearer in the second half.
But the Hammers were always chasing a game which was finally put beyond them in the final minute of injury time.
Alan Pardew started with the same XI that performed so ably at Goodison Park in midweek. But his team's new found confidence was knocked after just five minutes when Owen stole the ball from Tomas Repka inside the box before finishing with aplomb.
Undeterred, the Hammers took the game to Newcastle and deservedly levelled the scores 15 minutes later thanks to an own goal from Nobby Solano - the second own goal 'scored' by the Hammers inside a week.
Solano could hardly be blamed for the goal though - his only involvement was placing his body in the way of Titus Bramble's attempted clearance which cannoned back off the South American into his own net.
The Hammers continued to press but a sucker punch put them 2-1 behind; Owen restoring Newcastle's lead two minutes from half-time when he nodded home a Nobby Solano cross from close range as Roy Carroll berated his defenders.
West Ham came out of the blocks the quickest and enjoyed a good spell of possession at the start of the second half in which they hit the post and saw a Marlon Harewood effort cleared off the line.
But Newcastle made it 3-1 on 66 minutes with a rare foray into the Hammers half; Alan Shearer scoring his 199th goal for the Tynesiders.
West Ham's spirit continued to carry them forward however and a second goal arrived on 73 minutes when Marlon Harewood slotted home from the penalty spot after Shola Ameobi handballed.
Alan Pardew threw on both Jeremie Aliadiere and David Bellion in search of a deserved equaliser but it was Newcastle who had the final say in an entralling encounter.
In the third minute of injury time Michael Owen secured ownership of the match ball when the Hammers were caught on the counter attack.
Roy Carroll - who moments earlier had been in the Newcastle area for a corner - couldn't race back quick enough as Newcastle broke to score a fourth.
So disappointment at the final whistle for the Hammers who certainly produced enough to deserve at least a point.
We'll have a full match report for you soon.
West Ham United: Carroll; Repka (Aliadiere 76), Konchesky, Ferdinand, Ferdinand, Collins; Fletcher, Mullins, Etherington, Benayoun (Bellion 62); Harewood, Zamora.
Subs Not Used: Hislop, Dailly, Newton.
Goals: Solano (20, og), Harewood (73, pen).
Booked: Carroll (44), Ferdinand (74), Etherington (90).
Newcastle United: Given; Ramage, Elliott, Boumsong, Bramble; Faye, Parker, Solano (Bowyer 79), Ameobi; Owen, Shearer.
Subs Not Used: Haper, Gate, Luque, Chopra.
Goals: Owen (5, 43, 90), Shearer (66).
Booked: Bramble (32), Ameobi (52), Parker (72).
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