x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Andy Carroll locks up Newcastle victory

The Newcastle United striker strikes the winner at West Ham in their 2-1 victory in London.

Andy Carroll, second from left, celebrates scoring Newcastle’s winner against West Ham.
Andy Carroll, second from left, celebrates scoring Newcastle’s winner against West Ham.

West Ham 1 // Newcastle 2

LONDON // Andy Carroll, the Newcastle United striker who might be sent to prison when he goes on trial for an assault charge next week, got his manager Chris Hughton "out of "jail" - at least for the time being - when he struck the winner against West Ham United.

Carroll also set up the equaliser, scored by Kevin Nolan, after Carlton Cole had given West Ham an early lead.

For both goals Carroll, who suffered further off-field problems over the past week, was aided and abetted by a player who has been there, seen it and bought the T shirt when it has come to brushes with the law in Britain.

Joey Barton provided both telling crosses that led to both Newcastle's goals and produced a composed creative display on the right side of the midfield, emphasising how he is rebuilding what had become a wayward career which has seen him spend 77 days in prison for assault and be given a further four-month suspended sentence for attacking a teammate, Ousmane Dabo, while at Manchester City.

It relieved what has been mounting pressure on his manager, Hughton, as Newcastle shot up the table from 16th to ninth place.

"That's a nice feeling for us because it has been a tough week for us. As for Andy Carroll, well at the moment out there on the pitch is the best place for him," Hughton said in a television interview afterwards.

But after a bright start it was another depressing day for the Hammers and it can't be too long now before the club's owners, David Sullivan and David Gold, question how long they can remain confident in the manager they appointed in the summer, Avram Grant. West Ham, who have recorded just one League win, remain rooted to the foot of the Premier League.

Yet it initially looked like a run of four games without defeat would continue when Grant's adventurous 4-3-3 formation forced Newcastle on the back foot and the Hammers took the lead in the 12th minute.

Frederic Piquionne, the French striker, beat the offside trap to race on to a Mark Noble through ball and fired in a low cross that Cole slid home at the far post.

Newcastle's response was impressive. Carroll knocked a Barton cross down at the back post, straight into the path of the advancing Kevin Nolan who lashed his shot past Robert Green.

That assist might be considered a rent payment from Carroll - he has been staying at Nolan's house in Newcastle under police orders.

The visitors began to dominate the match and in the 69th minute their superiority eventually told. Ameobi chased a loose ball down the right then played it back Barton who whipped over a superb low cross. Manuel da Costa, the West Ham centre-back, lost his bearings and Carroll stooped to head home a classic diving header from close range.

"The lads showed great resilience again. Last week against Wigan we gave them a two-goal start and managed to claw them back," said man-of-the-match Barton. "West Ham's not an easy place to come. It's a fantastic away win. Any away win in the Premier League is massive and we needed that to get our season going again."