In what was an unexpected win this afternoon Newcastle finally broke their 9 game duck and won for the first time in 10 games against relegation rivals West Ham United by a score of 3-2.
And it was our first double this season since we beat the Hammers 3-0 at home earlier in the season.
We have to admit that when we saw the team with Henri Saivet and Mohamed Diame in central midfield because of injuries to Hayden, Merino and Lejeune and Shelvey suspended we thought we would have no chance of winning this game.
And that looked like it would become true when Saivet gifted a goal to West Ham after only 6 minutes when he lost the ball to Marko Arnautovic who was through on goal before coolly beating Rob Elliot in goal.
This is when our lads could have collapsed and lost hope but they didn’t, and they showed great character to get back in the game.
Players celebrate first Mo Diame goal since February – get in!
Just four minutes later it was Saivet who took a free kick, and he curled the ball brilliantly between Adrian and the post to score a stunning comeback goal that had the 3,000 traveling fans in ecstasy.
The players showed real character all game long and especially in the last 20 minutes when it would have been easy to have conceded given we hadn’t won in the last 9 games.
Newcastle had chances to go ahead before halftime, but again we couldn’t score.
Matt Ritchie struck the post again, and Dwight Gayle had a chance but hit the ball over the bar.
But after the break, Newcastle went ahead with Mo Diame’s first goal since last February – when he put the ball into the back of the net from just 10 yards out.
Atsu, who had a very good game, had made a good run down the left wing before crossing for Diame to smash the ball home.
But 3 minutes later and it was another dubious penalty against the Magpies given by referee Mason.
Ciaran Clark had pulled back Antonio, but it was outside the box, but then he rolled into the penalty box, and Mason unbelievably gave a penalty.
When are Newcastle going to get some penalties this season?
Atsu had a word with Elliot before the penalty was taken and our goalkeeper saved the penalty well and justice was served.
The in-form Atsu scored the third goal for Newcastle from close range after Joselu crossed from the left for an excellent team goal from the Magpies that put us 3-1 up.
And to think West Ham had 3 clean sheets in their previous games in which they had picked up 7 points.
After 68 minutes Aaron Cresswell’s corner went to substitute Andy Carroll (who’s he again?) who knocked the ball down, and as goalkeeper Elliot was unable to keep the header out, Ayew scored to make it a nervous 3-2 scoreline.
And the game wasn’t over as West Ham came storming forward to try to get the equalizer, but our lads held on for a fantastic win against another relegation candidate.
It was a terrific performance from our lads who never let their heads drop.
And a great game plan by Rafa Benitez with a weakened side out today.
You cannot make this stuff up!
Newcastle: Elliot; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Manquillo; Ritchie, Saivet (Mbemba, 84), Diame, Atsu (Murphy, 90); Gayle (Perez, 76), Joselu.
Subs not used: Darlow, Dummett, Haidara, Aarons.
West Ham: Adrian; Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Zabaleta; Kouyate, Obiang; Masuaku, Ayew (Chicharito, 79), Arnautovic; Antonio (Carroll, 59).
Subs not used: Hart, Sakho, Collins, Quina, Rice.
Referee: Lee Mason (Bolton)