Allardyce backs new signings to make a splash
Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce is backing his new boys to further their Premier League education on the job.
Summer signings Habib Beye, David Rozehnal and Claudio Cacapa were given the sternest of examinations by West Ham as a revitalised Dean Ashton and Carlton Cole set about them with some relish.
But the newcomers to English football came through with flying colours as the Magpies ran out 3-1 winners with the help of some trademark finishing from fellow recruit Mark Viduka.
Allardyce was delighted with a gritty display which improved as the game wore on.
He said: 'Overall, we got a terrific result. Some players played really, really well and some players who have not experienced the physical output and the pace of the game learned an awful lot about what they are going to expect in the Premier League.
'That, on top of getting a 3-1 win against one of the in-form teams in the Premier League at the moment, certainly for scoring goals, pleased me. Habib Beye got his first taste of the Premier League, and believe you me, he knows what it is all about now.
'He has just had oxygen on the stretcher out there to recover, but he has found out what the Premier League is like.'
Viduka put the Magpies in front within two minutes with a superb near-post header, but his side was unable to build on that and the visitors were deservedly back on terms 13 minutes before the break when Ashton converted Cole's flick-on.
The Australian restored Newcastle's lead from Charles N'Zogbia's cross on 41 minutes, and although keeper Steve Harper had to make smart saves from Mark Noble and Lee Bowyer, the Frenchman wrapped up the points 14 minutes from time.
Hammers boss Alan Curbishley was a disappointed man after seeing his side contribute to their own downfall.
He said: 'Lee Bowyer's effort, if it had gone in, might have turned the whole game. We have been beaten 3-1 - and we almost contrived to make it four - and I cannot remember Robert Green making a save, so it is a bit disappointing for us.
'We felt we could come here and take something and keep our run going and on the face of it, we probably should have done. But you cannot defend like we did, certainly for the first two goals.'
The one big plus for Curbishley was Ashton's form as he works his way back to full match fitness, something that will not have gone unnoticed by England boss Steve McClaren with Michael Owen facing a second scan on his groin problem after limping off for the second successive game.
He said: 'We have had to handle Dean Ashton very similarly to Michael Owen. The difference with Dean Ashton is that he has not had a setback yet.
'He has managed to come through pre-season and he is looking stronger and stronger. He is just happy playing at the moment.'