Wilson and Hendrick shine as Magpies beat West Ham
West Ham 0-2 Newcastle United
Goals from debutants Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick gave both players, their manager and fans the best possible start to the season in a 2-0 win away to a hapless West Ham.
Today is the first time in 8 seasons that the Magpies have won their first game of the season, and it was no more than they deserved.
It took until the second half for Newcastle to break the deadlock with Wilson stabbing home a Hendrick flick from a Manquillo cross. The it was provider turned poacher for the second goal as Hendrick smashed home a wonderful second from the edge of the areas.
Two up top for the Magpies from the start would given the home side plenty to think about in the opening exchanges with the black and whites firmly on top from the off.
An early header from Fernandez would force Fabianski into a good save before a cross from new bow Lewis was stabbed just wide by fellow debutant Wilson.
At the other end West Ham him the bar twice, but in truth were second best for the entire first half. Wilson and Carroll both also coming close for the visitors in what would ultimately be a goalless opening period.
Newcastle turned a good performance into a great one in the second. And despite the odd scare the result was never really in doubt once Wilson had opened his account for the club. What a difference having a striker who will is 'in the right place at the right time' makes. The Jeff Hendrick strike was very much the icing on a pretty delicious cake. An absolute pile-driver.
Steve Bruce had his new look side to the Capital this evening for an opening night fixture against West Ham with hope of a rare opening day win. And with the continued restrictions not allowing fans into any ground the Premier League had agreed that all games in September were to be shown on TV, meaning despite the disappointment for the usual travelling contingent, they could at least enjoy every minutes of this one from the comfort of their sofa.
Bruce gave a debut to three of his new charges with Hendrick, Lewis and Wilson all getting the nod in a 4-4-2 formation that would see the new striker line up next to Carroll in an attacking move for the United boss.
A decent opening spell for Newcastle United saw the ball fed into Shelvey at every opportunity. And his range of passing allowed Wilson to race clear and force a corner that our follicly challenge midfielder would ping onto he head of Fernández to force the first save at either end.
On 13 minutes West Ham had their first effort on goal. A set piece from Noble, after Hayden had been booked for a challenge on Antonio, found the head of Diop who’s header skimmed the top of the bar and over.
That chance aside, the visitors would be happy with enough with their start.
What was also pretty clear in the opening exchanges was that West Ham were having all kinds of problems with Allan Saint-Maximin. Although depute repeatedly being felled, the referee seemingly not so keen on getting the card out for the home side!?
On 20 minutes a loverly move, with Shelvey and Lewis both involved, before the latter’s cross was narrowly stabbed wide form a tight angle. Close for the new man.
As the game moved towards the 30 minute mark, the Hammers would get two chances on the break with first Antonio driving straight at Darlow before Soucek came inches away from opening the scoring with a great header from a seemingly harmless ball.
It was feeling like Newcastle needed to get one whilst they were on top.
And a break from Wilson, after a great tackle from Hayden, was used into the path of the onrushing Shelvey. But his fierce shot could only hit the side netting.
Moment later Carroll almost scored something akin to his stunner in pre-season, with only an Ogbonna deflection saving West Ham from a ball juggling stunner.
West Ham were starting to get some joy on the break however, and hit the woodwork from another rare foray up field as a Fornals strike would cannon off the bar.
Back to the other end…
This time Saint-Maximin chasing a ball he had no right to win and almost creating a chance for Wilson.
The game would, however, get to half time goalless.
The second half settled into much the same pattern. Newcastle making the running and looking the most dangerous.
And the Magpies got exactly what they deserved on 55 minutes. Good combination play down the Newcastle right ended with a Manquillo. A flick from Hendrick then fell into the path of Wilson to poke home. Wonderful stuff. A debut goal and no more than Newcastle deserved to that point.
West Ham were now forced to be more adventurous and soon switched things up with Haller and Yarmolenko brought on to offer more attacking threat.
Manquillo was getting some real joy down the right with Hendrick also key in a lot that Newcastle were doing right in the second half. And the Spaniard almost set up Wilson for his second with another good cross before Fabianski came to the rescue for the Hammers.
Joelinton was given the nod with 15 minutes left, replacing the Saint-Maximin who’s tanks looked empty by that point.
West Ham were starting the turn the screw through, helped seemingly by Bruce’s men setting deeper and deeper.
But with the clock ticking down to the last couple of minutes Newcastle would seal it and settle any nerves. This time substitute Almiron feeding Wilson’s fellow debutant Jeff Hendrick who finished wonderfully from just inside the box. This one flying high into the top right hand corner of Fabianski’s goal.
Credit then to Save Bruce who made some huge call before this game both in terms of formation and personnel.
Today belonged to him and two of his new recruits. A striker who scores goals and a proven midfielder pro who did everything right.