Belfast Telegraph

Leon lands a Hammer blow for Newcastle

Newcastle 5 West Ham 0: Leon Best reminded Andy Carroll that there is more than one striker on Tyneside as Newcastle dumped woeful West Ham deep into relegation trouble.

Best, making his first Barclays Premier League start for the club in the absence of the injured Carroll and Shola Ameobi, finally opened his account on his 15th appearance with a fine hat-trick to repay a large slice of his £1.2million transfer fee.

They were the 24-year-old's first goals in a week short of a year and came on the day it was revealed Newcastle had rejected an approach from Tottenham for Carroll.

Best's first-half brace and skipper Kevin Nolan's 45th-minute strike put the Magpies in the driving seat, and his third on the hour completed a first double of the campaign and ended the Hammers' recent revival before Peter Lovenkrands helped himself to a fifth. Best needed just 18 minutes to justify his selection when he thumped a left-foot volley into the bottom corner.

United increased their lead six minutes before the break when Best was again on hand to fire home left-footed.

On the stroke of half-time Nolan sidefooted the ball firmly into the bottom corner. With 30 minutes left Best completed his hat-trick with aplomb. Lovenkrands added a fifth and there was still time for Ranger to fire wide with the Hammers in tatters.

Belfast Telegraph

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