Allarydce talks up ex-Toon duo after steely win


WEST HAM manager Sam Allardyce praised his former Newcastle players Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll after the pair helped their new team to an impressive win at St James’ Park.

A 37th minute goal from Nolan gave the visitors the advantage at the break, and Allardyce’s team held on despite Newcastle claiming the ball had crossed the line for a second half equaliser.

“I think that Kevin’s relationship with Andy is such a good one that I don’t need to do a lot of coaching with the two of them,” Allardyce said after the game.

“Kevin will instinctively play off Andy and vice-versa. While Andy’s struggling to get a goal – and we’d like him to get one – Kevin’s the one scoring the goals because that combination is causing teams lots of problems.”

In a first half of few chances, an opening finally came shortly before half time when right-back Joey O’Brien’s skewed shot spun to the far post where Nolan was in the right place at the right time to turn the ball in.

Newcastle fought back strongly, cheered on by a loud home support, and thought they had equalised just minutes after the interval.

A strong header from Demba Ba was clawed out by Jussi Jaaskelainen and despite some home players’ protestations, referee Mike Dean deemed the whole of the ball not to have crossed the line.

Newcastle continued to press forward but struggled to penetrate the stubborn West Ham defence. With 20 minutes to go a Yohan Cabaye corner presented a good chance to Shola Ameobi but the big forward headed wide.

And West Ham could have doubled their lead as they took advantage of Newcastle’s advanced positioning to hit on the break.

A mix up resulted in Andy Carroll striding clean through on goal with a chance to rub salt into the wounds of his old club. Yet the England striker saw his effort saved by Tim Krul in the Newcastle goal.