Owen hits treble heights
By Mark Buckingham. Last Updated: 17/12/05 5:25pm
Newcastle United completed a smash-and-grab raid in the capital after earning a 4-2 win over West Ham United at Upton Park.
A hat-trick from Michael Owen, displaying the qualities which persuaded Newcastle to buy him from Real Madrid, was the highlight of a game the visitors did not deserve to win.
Alan Shearer was also on the scoresheet as he edged towards a club landmark, while West Ham scored through a Nolberto Solano own goal and a Marlon Harewood penalty.
A traffic accident had delayed kick-off at Upton Park by 30 minutes and West Ham wasted little time getting into the thick of the action.
Robbie Elliott had to hack clear a Matthew Etherington centre, while another cross was only partially cleared to the edge of the area where Carl Fletcher drove a shot straight at Shay Given.
But, from Given's resultant hoof downfield, The Magpies took the lead. Tomas Repka dithered trying to control Scott Parker's header, Shearer and James Collins jostled for the loose ball, which fell to Owen and he placed a low shot past Roy Carroll.
Owen and Shearer then combined for the Magpies captain to snap a volley wide, but the first half was largely dominated by the home side.
Prompted by the skill and vision of Yossi Benayoun, The Hammers were a lively threat and equalised on 20 minutes, although the scruffy nature of the goal should not detract from the fine build-up.
West Ham worked the ball from their own penalty area to Harewood wide on the right. His low cross into Newcastle's six-yard box was thumped straight at Solano by Titus Bramble and into the visitors' net.
Bramble was then fortunate not to concede a penalty after being outfoxed by Benayoun and the Newcastle centre half was later booked after being bamboozled by the Israeli once again.
Just before the half-hour, the in-form Bobby Zamora was denied by the leg of Given after latching on to Etherington's incisive pass.
Anton Ferdinand headed at Given, while at the opposite end, a clever Shearer header created a chance for Scott Parker to flash a shot just wide.
Newcastle were back in front two minutes before half time after more slack defending from the hosts. Solano's free kick was whipped in from the left, Owen stooped, and though his timing was off, the ball clipped his back and crept in the far post.
Shola Ameobi, looking uncomfortable on the left wing, was booked five minutes into the second half after felling Benayoun before West Ham were close to equalising three times in about a minute.
Firstly, Harewood took advantage of loose defending by Newcastle's centre halves to break free, but he was denied by the outstretched leg of Given.
Secondly, with the ball cleared from that initial opening, Hayden Mullins let fly with a fierce shot from 25 yards which bounced back off the post.
Thirdly, Harewood smashed a free kick back across goal, Collins reacted quickly to steer the ball towards goal, but Shearer was razor sharp to prevent a certain leveller.
Shearer then proved his worth at the end where he has built his career after netting his 199th goal for Newcastle on 66 minutes. Parker's intelligent run created space for Owen to play in Shearer and the Magpies legend drilled his finish beyond Carroll.
But West Ham were allowed back into the game on 73 minutes after Ameobi led with his arm in the penalty area and saw the ball strike his outstretched limb. Harewood confidently dispatched his spot kick to give the hosts some hope.
That evaporated in injury time as, with West Ham's defence left bare, Amdy Faye rolled the ball across to an unmarked Owen who, with Carroll hopelessly out of position, completed his hat-trick with a simple finish.
Prior to that killer goal, Carroll had produced a magnificent one-handed stop from Owen's close-range header as West Ham were left to rue a harsh lesson in finishing.
Click here for player ratings
|West Ham United||Team Name||Newcastle United|
|6||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||7|
|3||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||3|
|11||Total Fouls Conceded||18|
Barclays Premier League
|7||West Ham United||22||36|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||22||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||22||19|