Sam Allardyce and Kevin Nolan showed Newcastle that revenge is a dish best served cold as West Ham left St. James’ Park with a narrow 1-0 victory.
Nolan grabbed a first-half winner against his and Allardyce's former side to settle an otherwise uneventful contest, while Jussi Jaaskelainen produced a fine display to show why Allardyce was so keen to bring him to Upton Park this summer.
A slow first half was kicked into gear by Nolan’s strike on 37 minutes, and the home side was unable to offer a substantial response for the rest of the encounter. Nolan and Allardyce were not the only familiar faces at St. James Park, as Andy Carroll returned to his former hunting ground as well.
But if anyone had expected an on-song Carroll to remind the Magpies what they were missing, his first action of the game – a foul on Jonas Gutierez – would not exactly have filled them with hope.
Gutierez, a stand-in captain for Fabricio Coloccini, was forced off after 24 minutes and was taken straight to hospital, though while West Ham’s Matt Jarvis suffered a similar fate, ending his already limited contribution soon after.
Four minutes later, the visitors shook the game into action as Nolan rocked the home support with the deadlock-breaking goal, latching onto Joey O’Brien’s loose shot to tap in from close range. The 30-year-old did not celebrate his goal out of respect for his former side and almost doubled his tally shortly after, firing just over after being put through on goal by Mohamed Diame.
Newcastle pushed for an equalizer before the break, but could not muster one - even though their fans thought they had when Hatem Ben Arfa’s shot struck the side-netting and Jaaskelainen saved another long-range Cabaye strike.
On 70 minutes, the shot stopper got his hands to another Ben Arfa shot, prompting a counter-attack that ended with Carroll being clean through on goal, but Tim Krul made his best Jaaskelainen impression to race off the line and deny the England striker.
Alan Pardew sent Gabriel Obertan on after 78 minutes, but the move was a rare glimpse of positivity on an afternoon when the Magpies did not display enough attacking intent and ultimately paid the price.