Belfast Telegraph

Record-breaking West Ham vice-captain Mark Noble is glad to get back to winning ways

West Ham vice-captain Mark Noble accepts his club-record 205th Barclays Premier League appearance will not be one to live long in the memory - but getting back to winning ways against Newcastle was all that mattered.

The Irons edged what was a largely scrappy contest 1-0 at the Boleyn Ground thanks to a second-half goal from left-back Aaron Cresswell, his first since signing from Ipswich.

Newcastle, who had gone into the match on the back of six successive victories, saw their hopes of a fightback all but ended with 15 minutes left when midfielder Moussa Sissoko lost his cool to receive two quick, cautions as the visitors finished with 10 men.

West Ham, who had not won since beating Manchester City on October 25, are in fifth place, giving the east London club genuine hope of sustaining their form through the gruelling Christmas schedule.

Midfielder Noble came through the West Ham Academy, and since breaking into the first team in 2004 - when the Irons were then managed by current Newcastle boss Alan Pardew - he has been part of two promotion-winning sides from the Championship as well as chalking up a double century of top-flight appearances.

The 27-year-old said: "I want to improve on it and play as many as I can. To follow in the footsteps of Steve Potts, who is a legend here, is a very nice feeling."

Noble felt West Ham were good value for the victory, which saw them recover from defeat at Everton last week and bury the frustrations of a home goalless draw with Aston Villa before the international break.

"We have been performing well in the last few weeks, against Villa we hit everything other than the back of the net," he said. "Newcastle was a scrappy game, but in the end we showed our quality.

"We could have finished them off more thoroughly towards the end, but we got the vital goal and that is the main thing, to get three points is all that matters."

Newcastle boss Pardew accepted his side lacked the cutting edge in the final third of recent weeks which had seen them charge up into the top six, with only a couple of half-chances created on the break which Ayoze Perez sent into the side netting.

Cresswell's goal, when he turned in a scuffed shot from Cheikhou Kouyate, was a first conceded by Newcastle in five matches.

"We would have liked to have played a little bit better than we did, but the most important thing is to now to get the next result," he said. "When I have had really good teams in the past, we have bounced back quickly."

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