United do it the hard way in the East End!
NEWCASTLE UNITED came back from the dead in the East End of London tonight after a dramatic fightback against West Ham.
United found themselves 2-0 down heading into the break after Mark Noble and Dean Ashton strikes put the home side in full control.
However, two goals in the last three minutes of the first half from Oba Martins and Geremi hauled Newcastle back into the game.
Kevin Keegan replaced injured centre-back Abdoulaye Faye with David Edgar as the Canadian Under-20 skipper started his second game of the season at a sun drenched Boelyn Ground.
The Hammers started with former Newcastle captain Scott Parker while ex-Toon star Nobby Solano was on the bench for Alan CurbishleyÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢s boys.
West Ham had the first chance of the game when Habib Beye hauled down ex-Sunderland man George McCartney on the edge of the penalty area before Julien Faubert bent one just over the top.
The home side enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening 10 minutes and it was McCartney who played a vital part.
The full-back swept in a cross from the left hand side with Mark Noble applying the finish from 10 yards out with his left foot as Newcastle conceded their first goal of the month.
West Ham were dealt a blow when Freddy Ljungberg was injured with Luis Boa Morte replacing him mid-way through the first half.
Within seconds of his arrival a long punt by Robert Green was flicked on by Bobby Zamora into the path of Dean Ashton who cracked a shot on the turn into the bottom corner for 2-0 on 23 minutes.
It was no more than West Ham deserved as Newcastle barely found a way into the HammersÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢ half.
But rather than see out time in the last few minutes of the half, West Ham pressed the self-destruct button.
NewcastleÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢s first glimpse of goal came with 36 minutes played as Geremi crossed from the right to find Michael Owen but Lucas NeillÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢s snuffed out the chance.
With three minutes of the half though United caught West Ham napping as Joey Barton dinked a ball over the top that young Irons defender James Tonkins failed to cut out with Oba Martins capitalising and lifting the ball over Green.
Amazingly United were level on the stroke of half-time as West Ham knocked off once again.
GeremiÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢s right wing cross was pinged clear by West Ham but it landed at the feet of the Nigerian on the edge of the box and this time a powerful effort was diverted into the net by Geremi to make it 2-2.
The teams went in level at the break with United handed a lifeline after West HamÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢s slump late in the second half.
After the interval a Faubert foul on Martins earned United a free-kick on 55 minutes but GeremiÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢s wild set-piece evaded everybody in a black and white shirt and ended up in the away section of the ground.
There were no real chances in the opening 20 minutes of a keenly contested second half but both teams always looked capable of grabbing one on the break.
The Hammers made a change on 67 minutes with Carlton Cole replacing Zamora as Curbishley went for the kill.
With 20 minutes remaining Ashton reminded United that a point was not in the bag as a rasping low drive had to be gathered carefully by Harper.
Harper then denied Ashton again after a ball down the right was played into his path before the Toon keeper tipped the ball over the bar.
From the resultant corner United frantically cleared and as the ball bounced off OwenÃÂ¢Ã¢ÂÂ¬Ã¢ÂÂ¢s arm the home fans believed that Uriah Rennie should have awarded a penalty.
In the closing stages KK introduced Alan Smith with the former Leeds man taking the place of ex-Elland Road colleague Viduka.
In the last minute a shot from Martins had to be gobbled up by Green in a tense finish.
WEST HAM: Green, Neill, McCartney, Ljungberg (Boa Morte 22), Parker, Ashton, Pantsil, Noble, Faubert, Zamora (Cole 67), Tomkins.
Subs: Walker, Solano, Mullins
NEWCASTLE: Harper, Beye, Edgar, Taylor, Enrique, Geremi, Butt, Barton, Martins, Viduka, Owen.
Subs: Forster, Duff, Diatta, Smith, Carroll.
Ref: Uriah Rennie