A comedy of ‘dismal’ errors gave Newcastle a two-goal lead and an advantage over West Ham – but that was almost not enough in the Magpies’ thrilling 3-2 win.
A header from Issa Diop and a penalty from Jesse Lingard saw the visitors make a remarkable comeback, before Arsenal lender Joe Willock restored Newcastle’s lead moments later and won the game for the Steve Bruce’s men.
It’s a hammer blow for West Ham and their hopes for a top-four finish, made worse by star player Lingard limping in the later stages of the loss.
The Hammers’ afternoon started one minute from hell. Diop tangled his legs on the line to return home the tame effort of Allan Saint-Maximin – with Craig Dawson securing a second yellow for a shocking tackle in the build-up.
“I’m still trying how he did that, he’s a professional footballer,” former Leeds defender Danny Mills said in a comment for talkSPORT. “I don’t know how he got his legs mixed up so badly.
“The ball hit both legs. There was no real sting or power in the shot, and Fabianksi would have got his hands on it, but between them it was a mess.
And then things got worse when goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski dropped a Newcastle corner on Joelinton, who literally couldn’t miss.
“It’s in his hands,” Mills added, almost incredulously at this point.
“There’s no rhyme or reason he did that. He has no real challenge, he is not high, there is no challenge, he is just bouncing off his hands and Joelinton is there. same [talkSPORT commentator and the man sitting besdie Mills at St James’ Park] Nigel Adderley is deadly at this distance!
“I just wonder if that first baseman crash was still playing on his mind, it wasn’t like he was under a lot of pressure. VAR didn’t even have to watch it because there wasn’t even a suggestion of foul.
“So right now Newcastle can’t believe their luck – they’re 2-0, two terrible mistakes at the back of West Ham and West Ham are a down man!
“These are two horrible mistakes. It’s sad. There are no excuses for this, he is just a dismal goalkeeper.
It certainly wasn’t the half that many expected, with West Ham in control of fourth place and Newcastle still battling to beat the drop.
The Magpies are now nine points from the fall, while West Ham misses the opportunity to take third place despite their comeback in the second half.
Diop made amends with a superb header and VAR awarded a penalty that Lingard sent in, but Willock came off the bench to spare Newcastles’ blushes.
And Mills believes Newcastle’s way of goals will leave Hammers boss David Moyes absolutely furious.
“West Ham makes Joelinton look great, he leaves so much room,” Mills continued.
“I bet David Moyes is furious. There won’t be any discarded teacups, but there might be a few hairdryers at halftime.