West Ham (h) Premier League
Deep cross from the left was aimed at Carroll, who climbed above Steven Taylor
but failed to make contact. The ball dropped beyond him and rebounded off the
unwitting Santon to the edge of the Newcastle area, where Joey O'Brien arrived
before Shane Ferguson to ping it goalwards.
"Newcastle were a fantastic force at home last season and have started the season well with some good performances. It was a fantastic professional performance by all the players and a fantastic three points.
"Winning a Premier League game away from home is a tough ask so to beat Newcastle at Newcastle is obviously very pleasing. It was a fantastic result and a clean sheet - you couldn't ask for any more.
"We defended superbly when we needed to and we broke out and exposed them in a counter -attacking way when we had the chance. Every now and again the odd shots that they had on goal were saved by our goalkeeper, who has a massive amount of experience.
"He (Jaaskelainen) didn't panic or put us under any pressure. He made the clean sort of saves that you'd expect him to make. The foundation of a successful season is your goalkeeper and your defenders keeping as many clean sheets as possible. You can then become a better attacking force and you entertain more and win more games and that's what we all want.
newly-promoted side picking up 18 points from 11 games is outstanding, but we
need to make sure we don't switch off and take life too easy now.
"The only disappointing aspect was that Andy didnít stick the ball in the back of the net for his first goal. Thatís not being critical of him but overall Kevin Nolan was man of the match and showed the Newcastle fans what they were missing. His link-up play with Carroll was superb.
"His winner was an instinct you canít teach or coach. Youíve either got it or you havenít and he has had it from an early age when he broke into the Bolton team. We knew we had to release him and let him go and find his own way in the box and we couldnít coach that, we just let him do it.
"As the years have gone on he has continued to do it successfully and that got even more successful at Newcastle when he and Andy played well together. Even though Andy is not scoring, they work in tandem.Ē
'What we're trying to do at West Ham is what
we tried to do at Newcastle. When we came up it was about getting them back to
where they belonged and then eventually into Europe. That's what I feel that
West Ham should do with the support we've got and the backing from the
As he had done on numerous occasions for
Newcastle - including in both previous outings against West Ham - Kevin Nolan's
knack of being in the right place at the right time ultimately decided the
destination of the points in this game.
Fast forward to 2012 and the gum chewer was equally jubilant as he took his leave - basking in the glow of what he described as the best Hammers performance since their top flight return.
And while there was the usual Allardyce mythologising over a decent but flawed display from a side with numerous weak links (substitute Demel in particular), it was the home side who tried and failed to play the much-maligned long ball game. Artless punts, as we said at the time.
Protestations by Alan Pardew that his side weren't suffering from the effects of Thursday's trip to Belgium were undermined by Tim Krul's admission that they were collectively lacking the strength and fitness to come from behind today - something we haven't actually done for over two years.
What did seem again apparent though were shortcomings in the head as well as the legs of the Magpies. Pardew euphemistically referred to problems with his side's rhythm this season, but an apparent dullness of thinking is becoming habitually evident: be it the increasingly over-ambitious dribbles of Hatem Ben Arfa, the general poorness of our deliveries into the box or the fact that our two strikers seem incapable of avoiding each other when making forward runs.
The appearance of the lion-hearted Nolan though also led inevitably to notions that his successors were lacking some of the appetite for the struggle that his combative playing style (and that of Joey Barton) epitomised during his time on Tyneside. However that does ignore the revival in fortunes we enjoyed last season after deliberately going in another direction, both on and off the field.
Had Tiote and Coloccini been available then we may well have shown more midfield bite and defensive composure, but in their absence we were comparatively toothless (although Fergie pleasingly tried to shift some skin) and worryingly rudderless in terms of leadership. The loss of Gutierrez saw referee Mike Dean ferry the captain's armband to Ba but really it was immaterial.
Although it's often the case that coming back here puts a spring in the step and and extra few % into the performance, our former captain seemed noticeably fitter than when he left, supplying a couple of lung bursting runs in both halves. Nolan wasn't in the mood for dancing though when firing home at the Gallowgate End, refraining from his usual goal celebration on a day when the original chicken dancer Robbie Elliott was in town.
Starting off in great voice, our inability to take a firm grasp on this game dampened the home crowd's contribution until the later stages of the first half, noise levels rising again when Shane Ferguson's goalbound effort bounced off a defender and a deflection almost took Ben Arfa's shot in.
By then though, another forced reshuffle had come when Jonas Gutierrez was unable to continue after a heavy tackle involving Yossi Benayoun - who also ended up being substituted. That brought Vurnon Anita into the fray, but those looking for evidence that getting off the mark for his new club in midweek had improved his overall contribution and effectiveness had a job on their hands.
With Shola on for the second half (brother Sammy missing due to injury), the omens looked good initially, when Ba headed goalwards and the ball seemed have crossed the goal line before 'keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen reached it. However the official's decision to play on was later seen to be the correct one, if for no other reason than various camera angles all proved inconclusive.
Sensing that we were rapidly running out of ideas - although it was fairly bloody obvious given the aimless wafts upfield that passed for service - the visitors looked to hit us on the break; only Krul's instinctive stop preventing Carroll from scoring his first West Ham goal after Nolan teed him up.
For much of this game our huff and puff was laboured and predictable as it had been against West Bromwich Albion, but the dollop of good fortune that led to a last-gasp winner was conspicuous by its absence. Go a little further back and scraping a draw against Villa and edging past Norwich hardly look to be glittering results - none of those home performances were anything special frankly and today was just the latest instalment in that decline.
After a stuttering draw at Reading thanks to the fist of Ba and this demoralising defeat at the hands of the Hammers, Pardew could be excused for approaching our next post-European game against Southampton - another of his former employers - with a certain trepidation. There again, we look slightly happier on our travels, with less pressure to make the play and take the initiative.
Before that though, there's the little matter of Swansea City on home soil, when not just the result but the manner of the performance now assumes greater importance. Against a backdrop of an injury and suspension list that is steadily eroding the experience in our squad though, the pressure is starting to ramp up a little - and questions asked of the manager by those in charge of the purse strings seem to be proving more difficult to answer.
While Marty's mackem muddle remains the source of much mirth, each poor result they suffer amplifies the opportunity missed to beat them. It's worth reflecting on whether the mild discontent expressed so far over our lack of form this season would be a more pronounced anger were the mackems riding high in the table - and putting our continued averageness into sharper focus.
Regardless of our tactics and formation and the many online "experts" ready to provide guidance to the manager in that department, our concern lies more with things like attitude, commitment and desire - getting back to playing as a team. Losing to better footballing outfits is one thing, but coming second best to a side like this quite another. We're supposed be better than that.