Hopeless Hammers crash to humiliating defeat

West Ham plummet back to the bottom of the Premier League with an awful display at Newcastle.

Newcastle United 5 West Ham United 0

JUST WHEN you thought it was safe to look at the Premier League table again after a very merry Christmas for West Ham fans, this abject, miserable display at St James’ Park sent them spiralling back down to the depths of the division.

The last time Alan Pardew faced his former club, his Charlton thrashed the Hammers 4-0, this time he went one better as the hopeless Hammers were crushed by 5-0.

Newcastle may be a long way from London, but the fans didn’t expect their players to be suffering from jet lag following the Wednesday trip north. But that is just what it looked like out there. The home side had all the tempo, all the purpose and all the armoury despite being without top marksmen Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi.

West Ham seemed half asleep, they were lethargic, their passing frequently went astray and they seemed unable to cope with the Joey Barton in midfield and Leon Best up front.

Scott Parker, who must have lost the ball more times in this match than he has for the whole season, did actually have the first shot on target as he combined with Radoslav Kovac before firing goalwards from the edge of the box only for Steve Harper to block his effort.

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However,it was Newcastle who were looking more potent with both Jonas Gutierrez and Jose Enrique causing all sorts of problems.

Enrique forced Robert Green to tip over, but just a minute later the ball was in the Hammers net. West Ham seemed to be on a good break when the awful Freddie Piquionne gave the ball away and when it was hoisted forward, James Tomkins’ clearing header only fell as far as Peter Lovenkrands who cleverly played the ball into the path of Leon Best who finished in style.

The goal seemed to galvanise Newcastle, but sent West Ham deeper into slumber as the home side took over completely.

Gutierrez tested Green with a shot through a crowd of players, but on 39 minutes it was 2-0 as Barton’s quick free kick caught out the Hammers defence and when Lovenkrands’ cross was only partially cleared by Danny Gabbidon, Best was there to hammer in his and Newcastle’s second.

The Hammers were praying for half time, but there was still time for a third goal. Gutierrez’ cross was poorly cleared by Tomkins and Kevin Nolan was given the freedom of the box to pick his spot and pass it into the net.

Avram Grant hauled off the abject Piquionne and Kovac at half time for Victor Obinna and Valon Behrami, but although they showed ome exhuberance, there was never likely to be a way back for the Hammers.

On the hour it was 4-0. Lovenkrands was the provider again and though his pass to Best may have seen the striker offside, he still finished calmoy to complete his hat-trick.

Still Newcastle weren’t finished and three minutes later Lovenkrands got the goal he deserved when he met Barton’s low cross at the near post to make it five.

That seemed to be enough for Pardew and Newcastle, though substitute Nile Ranger did miss an absolute sitter that would have made it six.

Zavon Hines came on and showed some pace and enthusiasm, while West Ham did muster a couple of shots on as Carlton Cole’s overhead was saved by Harper, before Freddie Sears rounded the keeper but shot across the face of goal.

It was West Ham’s worst defeat since their 6-0 hammering at Reading on New Year’s Day 2007 and it plunges them back to the bottom of the table.

West Ham fans know that their team are going to lose now and again, but this pathetic apology of a perfrmance was an insult to the supporters who made the long journey north.

On this form, there is little hope of survival - is there?

West Ham: Green, Ben-Haim, Gabbidon, Upson, Tomkins, Sears, Parker, Kovac (Behrami h/t), Noble (Hines 70), Piquionne (Obinna h/t), Cole.

Booked: Kovac, Hines, Behrami.

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