Jonjo Shelvey played an instrumental role on his Newcastle United debut as he helped the team move out of the relegation zone thanks to a 2-1 victory over West Ham United at St James' Park on Saturday afternoon.
Ayoze Perez and Georginio Wijnaldum found the back of the net for the Magpies, but Shelvey played a hand in both goals as they prevented a West Ham comeback following Nikica Jelavic's strike in the second half.
© Getty Images
It only took six minutes for Newcastle to find the breakthrough as Shelvey showed why he was worth the £12m that the club paid for him when he sent a pinpoint pass to Wijnaldum.
The midfielder then laid the ball off to Perez with his first touch, leaving the Spaniard to curl the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.
The home side stunned their opponents, who tried to immediately respond when Aaron Cresswell delivered a low cross into the penalty area, searching for Michail Antonio, who only needed to provide a tap-in, but Fabricio Coloccini got to the ball first to clear.
Newcastle continued playing at a high tempo with Shelvey pulling the strings as the midfielder played a diagonal pass into the feet of Daryl Janmaat, who surged to the byline before sending the ball across to Wijnaldum.
© Getty Images
The Dutchman stabbed the ball home, scoring Newcastle's second, and his ninth of the season, to put Steve McClaren's side 2-0 in front inside 15 minutes.
After that, Newcastle had a handful of chances to extend their goal tally, but despite some calamitous defending at times, West Ham were able to keep them out.
Shelvey was instrumental for the Magpies, but the aggressive side of him showed when he needlessly shoved Enner Valencia, who confronted the midfielder and some words were exchanged, but the referee let them off with a warning.
It was only towards the end of the half when West Ham showed some life as goalkeeper Rob Elliot had his first save to make in the 34th minute.
After the break, Newcastle almost instantly extended their lead, but Wijnaldum's sweeping shot from inside the box after playing a one-two with Sissoko missed the target.
The Dutchman ended up ruing that chance as West Ham got themselves back into the game four minutes into the second half when Chancel Mbemba's poor back pass was picked up by Jelavic.
The substitute managed to get around the goalkeeper before sending the ball into the back of the net - his first goal for almost a year.
The Hammers managed to get more time on the ball after scoring, but the Magpies found their feet again as they made Adrian the busier keeper in the early stages of the second half.
Adrian was called upon to tip the ball over the crossbar after Mitrovic's attempt at the near post, and Shelvey played a hand in that move again as his long-range effort was blocked, but the ball stayed alive in the penalty area.
A nervous tension emanated from the fans as the Newcastle players kept getting deeper and deeper into their own half in the final 15 minutes of the game and it did not help when Mitrovic squandered a chance delivered to him by Shelvey.
The forward got his feet in a muddle and ended up sending his low shot into the body of Adrian, which angered a frustrated McClaren on the touchline.
The Hammers upped the tempo in the dying minutes of the game and they came close when Kouyate tried to head the ball down into the net from close range, but it clattered off the post.
Newcastle managed to see out the match, ending West Ham's eight-game unbeaten run.