The indecent haste with which his seven-month reign was curtailed by the then newly-arrived owner Mike Ashley in 2008 still rankles with the West Ham manager, who repeated his feat of winning here with Blackburn Rovers two years ago thanks to the only goal from Kevin Nolan, the former Newcastle skipper and one of several players on each side with links to the opposition.
Asked if victory was extra special because of his history on Tyneside, Allardyce played a straight bat: “Winning away gives me huge satisfaction regardless of where it is.”
Giving a little more away, he added: “It’s great to beat a team of this quality on their own patch.”
Nolan enjoyed a rather more fruitful two-and-a-half-year spell on Tyneside, and given the Scouser’s goalscoring instincts it was little surprise he was in the right place to divert home Joey O’Brien’s wayward shot after Davide Santon’s weak clearing header from Mark Noble’s cross seven minutes before the interval.
“It was a perfect scenario for me to score the winner,” Nolan, skipper when Newcastle returned to the top flight in 2010, said.
His fifth goal of the season proved decisive, and he added: “It was quite emotional when I scored, I had a little moment with Mark Noble afterwards. I said I was never going to celebrate scoring against Newcastle and I never will.”
Nolan should have doubled the advantage soon after when firing wide after being teed-up by Mohamed Diame, the game’s outstanding performer, while Andy Carroll, another Newcastle old boy, was denied his side’s second goal by a fine late save from Tim Krul.
Allardyce added: “Kevin’s our captain and leading goalscorer, he has got us the win with his goal and his instincts in the box are there for all to see. It’s five goals in 11 games for him and it should be six because he’s also had one chalked off.’’
Not for the first time this season, Newcastle were significantly under-par in front of their own supporters. They’ve been saved in the past by a flash of brilliance or slice of luck, but no such redemption was forthcoming on this occasion.
Hatem Ben Arfa forced Jussi Jaaslkelainen into two fine second-half saves, while the West Ham goalkeeper also just about prevented a Demba Ba header from crossing the line shortly after the re-start.
Alan Pardew refused to use Newcastle’s continued involvement in Europe as an excuse after his side stretched their far from impressive league run to a single victory in six games. He did take the unusual step of blaming the defeat in part on a player who wasn’t even playing, the suspended Cheick Tiote.
“We lacked a bit of power and it was a game for Tiote,” Pardew said. “We didn’t have him and that sending off he had at Sunderland has proved costly, because the suspension cost us three points. There’s no feeling of a hangover from the midweek European game. We can’t have any excuses because we were fresh, but we just didn’t perform.”
NEWCASTLE (4-4-2): Krul 6, Simpson 7 (Obertan 79, 5), Williamson 6, Taylor 6, Santon 5; Ben Arfa 6, Cabaye 3, Gutierrez 5 (Anita 24, 4), Ferguson 5; Ba 7, Cisse 4 (Shola Ameobi 46, 5).
WEST HAM (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen 8; O’Brien 7, Tomkins 8, Reid 8, McCartney 6 (Demel 67, 5); Benayoun 5 (G O’Neil 51, 6), Diame 9, Noble 8, Jarvis 3 (Maiga 34, 4); Nolan 8, Carroll 6.
Ref: Mike Dean.