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MATCH REPORT: Newcastle 3 West Ham 0

Three points, three goals and the sun shone on Rafa Benitez and his side as the doom and gloom that engulfed Gallowgate lifted on Saturday.

It was a result few would have predicted given the build-up to the game that had seen a League Cup exit and more tales of disquiet off the pitch that had painted the picture of a club imploding.

But by the final whistle you wouldn’t have guessed it as fans, players and the manager came together, as they had done for the majority of last season to show that this club’s heart is still beating.

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There were some early signs that United were up for the fight and although the Hammers occasionally threatened with Javier Hernandez and Andre Ayew threatening to bring back bad memories of previous strikes against us.

But an even first half had seen some good approach play by United only for some miscontrol and weak finishing to keep it scoreless until Joselu finished off a flowing move in the 36th minute.

Mikel Merino slotted in Christian Atsu and although the winger looked set to shoot he cleverly crossed it for Joselu who was able to bundle the ball home from six yards.

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Aaron Cresswell found some room to run into and let fly from 20 yards which Elliot parried but Hernandez seemed certain to score but from nowhere Ciaran Clark miraculously cleared as Ayew was set to pounce.

There were chances for Ayoze Perez and Matt Ritchie to double the lead after the break but with Aleksandar Mitrovic replacing the goalscorer, it was the unlikely Clark who headed the second in the 72nd minute.

A free-kick had been cleared but Clark stayed up and when Ritchie and Isaac Hayden linked up, Clark was on hand to nod into the Leazes End goal via the post, sparking joyous celebrations on and off the pitch.

The win was wrapped up four minutes from time when Mitro ran through, looking close to being offside and rounded Joe Hart before walking the ball in.

Quite how that victory will affect Rafa’s budget as the transfer window closes remains to be seen but it certainly boosted his squad’s confidence and the mood on Tyneside.

The win took United up to 15th but Leicester’s defeat at Old Trafford made that 14th as we went three points ahead of the bottom three who have also played three times.

Written by Oliver Stevenson.

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