NEWCASTLE rocked West Ham’s Champions League dreams in a five-goal thriller at St James’ Park.
The Hammers were 2-0 down and a man down after a calamitous first half at St James’ Park.
Newcastle celebrate their late winnerCredit: Reuters
In the space of five minutes, Issa Diop scored an own goal, Craig Dawson was sent off and Lukas Fabianski dropped a clanger for Joelinton to finish.
But between the 71st and 80th minute 10-man West Ham fought back to level the scores thanks to Diop’s header and Jesse Lingard’s penalty.
Yet another late twist was chucked into the mix as substitute Joe Willock fired home the winner with almost his first touch of the match in the 82nd minute.
West Ham could have gone third with a third successive league win – yet David Moyes’ men are now heading into a top four crunch clash against Chelsea on a real low.
As for Newcastle, their top flight survival is surely all but secured after jumping to 15th and extending the gap between themselves and Fulham to nine points with six games left.
An Issa Diop own goal gave Newcastle the leadCredit: Reuters
Steve Bruce’s men also secured back-to-back Prem wins for the first time since December.
The opening half an hour was a drab affair with the returning Allan Saint-Maximin the only bright spark – outshining the in-form Jesse Lingard.
And it was the Frenchman who finally forced the opener in the 36th minute – with a helping hand from Craig Dawson.
Having already been booked in the 12th minute for a rash challenge on Joelinton, the West Ham defender’s loose touch saw him lunge in late on the Brazilian again.
Referee Kevin Friend let play continue as the ball dropped to Saint-Maximin before driving into the box and firing across Fabianski.
Joelinton scored Newcastle’s second goalCredit: Reuters
Joelinton celebrates doubling Newcastle’s leadCredit: PA
Diop had managed to get back on his own line to block the shot, but somehow managed get in Fabianski’s way and deflect the ball into his own net.
Saint-Maximin held his hands aloft, and Dawson had his hands over his face as Friend came back to give him his second yellow. The definition of a double whammy.
A hammer blow for the Hammers, and one which was still on their minds as Newcastle continued to attack and were rewarded with another gift of a goal in the 41st minute.
Matt Ritchie’s looping corner looked to have been taken easily by Fabianski, only for the Polish international to drop it straight at the feet of a thankful Joelinton.
He tapped home – just his fifth Premier League goal after 87 shots.
Issa Diop headed home to pull one backCredit: Rex
Issa Diop celebrates scoringCredit: Rex
After scoring nine goals in their last three games – and having to hold onto 3-0 leads in all of them – it was West Ham’s turn to mount a stunning comeback.
Newcastle’s momentum was halted as Saint-Maximin hobbled off injured.
Yet the omens were not good for West Ham, having won just two of their last 16 visits to St James’ Park, while their only loss this season to a bottom half team was Newcastle on the season opener.
But the visitors were on their way to rubbishing those statistics as Diop redeemed his earlier error with a 71st minute header from Jarrod Bowen’s cross – his fifth assist of the season.
Five minutes later, referee Friend was asked to review the monitor by VAR and correctly deemed Ciaran Clark to have handled the ball in an aerial duel with Tomas Soucek.
Jesse Lingard converted a penalty to equaliseCredit: AFP
Jesse Lingard was quick to pick up the ball an restart the gameCredit: Rex
Lingard stepped up – despite having succeeded with just one of his three career Prem pens – and scored in off Dubravka’s right-hand post.
No player has more goal involvements since his Hammers debut, with that spot-kick his 12th in 10 games – nine of those being goals.
Willock was brought off the bench by Bruce, and after Jacob Murphy had an effort brilliantly cleared off the line by Ben Johnson, the on-loan Arsenal midfielder made his mark.
Ritchie’s cross was thumped in past Fabianski by an on-rushing Willock sparking mad celebrations in the Newcastle technical area.
West Ham have now conceded 10 goals in their last four games.
Bruce’s smile was wiped off when eight minutes of stoppage time were announced, but the Toon hung on for what could be their most important win of the season.
Joe Willock wins the game late onCredit: Reuters
Managers David Moyes and Steve BruceCredit: Rex