Javier Hernandez brought Newcastle’s Premier League recovery to a juddering halt as West Ham ran riot in a 3-0 win at St James’ Park.
The Mexico international struck either side of half-time with Felipe Anderson adding a third at the death to end the Magpies’ three-game winning streak in comprehensive fashion on an afternoon when the Hammers might have won even more handsomely if they had been more composed in front of goal.
Rafael Benitez’s men enjoyed plenty of the ball, but were unable to do enough with it to get something out of the game and were hit repeatedly on the counter-attack as Hernandez, Marco Arnautovic and Anderson, prompted by the excellent Mark Noble, picked them off at will.
Defender Fabian Schar had the home fans off their feet with 11 minutes gone when he robbed Declan Rice on the edge of his own penalty area and set off on a thrilling run deep into Hammers territory before he too was dispossessed.
However, it was the visitors who took the lead seconds later when, with those home fans who had left their seats vacant at the start of the game in protest at Mike Ashley’s running of the club belatedly filing in, Robert Snodgrass crossed from the right for the criminally unmarked Hernandez to beat keeper Martin Dubravka from close range.
Ayoze Perez headed straight at keeper Lukasz Fabianski from Matt Ritchie’s inviting 22nd-minute free-kick as the Magpies responded, but the visitors threatened repeatedly on the break and it took a good block by Javier Manquillo to deny Arnautovic after he had run on to Anderson’s through ball and rounded Dubravka.
Perez headed over from close range after meeting Ritchie’s 27th-minute corner and then dragged a shot wide, but his side was living dangerously and Arnautovic might have increased the Hammers’ lead in the meantime had either Aaron Cresswell or Anderson been able to produce a better final ball.
Pablo Zabaleta got in a vital block on Salomon Rondon’s stoppage-time effort, but Newcastle headed for the dressing room knowing they simply had not done enough during the opening 45 minutes.
Cresswell had to be equally resilient to throw his body into the path of Rondon’s 51st-minute strike after had controlled Kenedy’s cross, but the visitors countered swiftly and Arnautovic saw his driven attempt deflected across the face of goal.
Rondon powered a header wide from Ritchie’s near-post corner as the pressure on the West Ham goal mounted, but the game should have been effectively over before the hour-mark.
Hernandez somehow missed his kick in front of goal after Mark Noble and Arnautovic had carved the Magpies open, and the Mexican then fired into the side-netting with just Dubravka to beat with Anderson having mounted another pacy break.
The respite, however, was temporary and Hernandez finally increased his side’s lead with 26 minutes remaining when Arnautovic put him in behind the Magpies defence and he beat the advancing Dubravka with ease.
A good day for the Hammers got significantly better in injury time when Anderson brushed aside defender Schar after running on to substitute Jack Wilshere’s pass and found the back of the net.
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