Newcastle United 2-0 West Ham United - Match Report

Gutierrez & Sissoko send Tyneside into delirium as they guarantee the club's Premier League future.

Relief. That is the only emotion on Tyneside right now. Jonas Gutierrez delivered the sweetest of moments in his final appearance in a Magpies shirt as he secured Newcastle United€™s 2-0 victory over West Ham United at St James€™ Park. Newcastle United will be in the Premier League next season, but only just €“ and it took until the very final ball of the 2014-15 campaign had been kicked before that was confirmed. There will be a post-mortem examination, because pride in Newcastle United is something the Toon Army are still struggling to find in their club right now €“ but they backed their team to the very hilt against West Ham United. Newcastle have finally won a match for the first time since February 28th €“ and oh how crucial that victory was.
The noise when Moussa Sissoko rose highest to nod home the winner that made Hull City€™s result against Manchester United at the KC Stadium irrelevant was like nothing heard at St James€™ Park in at least 12 months, and probably longer. It was simply deafening. It was only bettered by Gutierrez scoring with a deflected shot from the edge of the area. If ever there was a man who deserved a goal, it was Gutierrez. And that goal, in the 86th minute, from a man who recovered from cancer just a matter of months ago, confirmed that Newcastle would be heading for Old Trafford and not the New York Stadium next season. Newcastle were rarely pretty, and there were many nerve-jangling moments for the Toon faithful, but the players finally delivered.
How many will still be on Tyneside next season is still open to question, but that is for another day. Relief was all the Toon Army were thinking about on Sunday. Mike Ashley€™s bizarre decision to finally speak out and declare that he will not relinquish control of the Magpies until he has won a trophy €“ or taken them to the Champions League €“ did not affect the support Newcastle received from their crowd. Donning their new strip €“ much-criticised, but on the pitch from the front looking quite suave, from behind like a cheap Ashley cast-off €“ Newcastle started well. Emmanuel Riviere flashed a shot across the West Ham box after only 50 seconds, but no goal arrived. Inside two minutes, the Hammers had also had a penalty appeal turned down when Vurnon Anita looked to get a touch on the back of Enner Valencia€™s foot, but Martin Atkinson waved play-on.
And, by the sixth minute, Riviere had created another opportunity €“ with an acrobatic effort from the back post flying agonisingly wide. Aside from a breakdown in communication between Tim Krul and Fabricio Coloccini, when the goalkeeper almost sold his captain short, Newcastle looked comfortable. West Ham were dominating the possession, but the Magpies looked the more threatening of the two sides. Jonas Gutierrez had a shot from the edge of the area blocked, before Daryl Janmaat smashed one opportunity just wide and headed a glorious opportunity over the bar.
Stewart Downing had brought a gasp from the Toon faithful when, played through, he smashed an effort straight at Krul after 24 minutes. Had that gone in, and the likelihood is that the Magpies would have folded. Instead, Riviere and Janmaat both came close again before the half was out. Unfortunately, neither could find the back of the net. They were not helped, however, by Papiss Cisse €“ who looked hopelessly short of fitness and form. Straight from kick-off in the second-half, again Newcastle showed purpose. Cisse won a corner, Jack Colback whipped it in, but Mike Williamson could only loop a header wide of the left-hand post. Then, on 51 minutes, the Magpies squandered the most-golden of golden opportunities. Anita played in Janmaat down the right, who skinned Aaron Cresswell and whipped a ball across the box which Riviere could only glance wide of the post when it would have been easier to score. That one move proved just how profligate the Magpies have been in recent months.
But, on 54 minutes, the moment arrived €“ and St James€™ Park erupted. Gutierrez whipped a magnificent cross in from the left-hand side, and Sissoko rose highest among a bunch of Hammers defenders to head past Adrian. The West Ham keeper got something on it, but the power from Sissoko made it impossible to save. As the French midfielder ran towards the Newcastle bench, the whole of the Magpies side jumped on top of him to celebrate. The noise heard inside the famous old stadium from that moment on had not been present all season €“ but now the Toon Army finally believed in their team. Nerves took hold at regular intervals, as was to be expected, but Newcastle stood firm as the West Ham faithful politely chanted: €œF*** off Sam Allardyce€ towards their departing manager. There was constant applause for Jonas Gutierrez, who put in a mammoth performance on his final appearance for the club he has served for seven years €“ including contributing the all-important assist for Sissoko€™s goal.
As the game ticked past the 70th minute, Sissoko was finally showing the ability he has. Rampaging down the right, he whipped a ball in for Cisse, whose header was blocked by Winston Reid in the West Ham defence. Coloccini then fired over from a corner, as Newcastle failed to find that crucial second. That allowed West Ham to produce a couple of nervy moment of their own, including former Magpie Kevin Nolan smashing a shot just wide from 20 yards. Anita managed to squander the chance that would have put the game to bed too. In the 83rd minute, the diminutive midfielder robbed West Ham of possession and ran all the way into the opposition box, but his poor pass to the free pair of Sissoko and Cisse was saved by Adrian, and it took a magnificent tackle from Gutierrez to then stop the Hammers at the other end. And Newcastle were not to be denied their day. Gutierrez delivered his moment €“ Newcastle€™s moment. He smashed a shot in from just outside the area, right-footed, and he then took off his shirt as he ran to celebrate with Carver. What a moment. What a goal. What a day €“ but let€™s hope we have none of this next season on the final day€
Newcastle United: Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Colback, Anita (Gouffran 89), Gutierrez; Sissoko, Riviere, Cisse Subs not used: Woodman, Taylor, De Jong, Perez, Cabella, Ameobi Goals: Sissoko (54), Gutierrez (85) Booking: Gutierrez West Ham United: Adrian; Jenkinson, Burke (Tomkins 69), Reid, Cresswell; Song, Kouyate (Lee 77); Nolan, Valencia (Amalfitano 62), Downing; Cole Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Lee, O'Brien, De Carvalho, Jarvis Attendance: 52,094 For all the latest NUFC News, Views and Transfers make sure to follow WhatCultureNUFC on Twitter and Facebook.

NUFC editor for History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.