Jonjo Shelvey inspired Newcastle United to a 2-1 victory over West Ham United in their English Premier League encounter at St James’ Park on Saturday. The win moves Steve McClaren’s team out of the bottom three and is their first in six attempts. All the attention was on Shelvey and the young Englishman was at the centre of almost everything positive for Newcastle in the first half and allowed the Magpies to take control of the match early on.
In the fifth minute, an incisive pass from Shelvey found Georginio Wijnaldum on the edge of the box prompting the Dutchman to set up Ayoze Perez for the opener – a delightful curler into the top right hand corner. At the other end, West Ham were struggling to break down the Newcastle defence and Fabricio Coloccini was having a fantastic game, cutting out Aaron Cresswell’s cross in the 12th minute with a magnificent piece of defending and denying Michail Antonio a scoring opportunity. Two minutes later, the Tyneside club doubled its advantage.
Shelvey picked out Daryl Janmaat on the overlap with a 30-yard pass and the Dutch right-back made no mistake with his ball into the box, allowing fellow countryman Wijnaldum to stab home from close range. The visitors’ playmaker, ?Dimitri? Payet was seeing very little of the ball and their best chance of the half fell to Cheikhou Kouyate whose low drive in the 42nd minute was palmed away to safety by Rob Elliot. It was difficult to see a way back into this one for the Hammers and they were fortunate not to concede a third before the interval when Aleksandar Mitrovic lost track of the flight of the ball after Perez had done well to pick him out inside the box.
At the break, McClaren’s men led 2-0 courtesy of a faultless display from new signing Shelvey. Slaven Bilic’s boys had come from behind against Bournemouth to seal a victory and he would have been hoping for similar turnaround this time around. At the start of the second half, Nikica Jelavic was introduced and the Bosnian needed little time to stamp his authority on the match, latching onto a poor backpass from Chancel Mbemba before rounding the keeper to knick one back for the visitors.
This was not the start Newcastle would have wanted and one could sense the anxiety floating around the ground. The goal opened up the game but the Toon continued to control proceedings. McClaren’s Serbian hitman, Mitrovic continued to threaten in the second stanza, coming close thrice after the hour mark but Hammers keeper, Adrian was equal to his efforts.
Shelvey was enjoying his debut and the crowd cheered for the midfielder to shoot everytime he had the ball on the edge of the penalty area. Despite West Ham seeing plenty of the ball, they had little success in the final third. The Londoners continued to press for the equaliser with Jelavic leading the charge.
The striker set up Kouyate in the 88th minute before having a go of his own in the 89th , but was left frustrated on both occasions as his team went on to lose the match 2-1 with the six added minutes at the end of the 90 not proving to be enough time.
Newcastle United: Elliot, Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Dummett, Sissoko, Shelvey, Colback, Wijnaldum, Perez, Mitrovic. Subs: Darlow, Lascelles, Gouffran, Saivet, Aarons, Toney, Riviere.
West Ham United: Adrian, Tomkins, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Obiang, Noble, Kouyate, Antonio, Payet, Valencia. Subs: Randolph, Jenkinson, Reid, Song, Cullen, Moses, Jelavic.
Venue: St. James Park