Newcastle 5 - 0 West Ham
Leon Best scored a hat-trick on his first league start for Newcastle to help the Magpies crush West Ham.
Best slotted in his first competitive goal for the home side on 18 minutes before knocking in Peter Lovenkrands's pass at the far post.
Kevin Nolan side-footed in the third from 10 yards and his ball led to Best's third, which was blasted in.
Lovenkrands made it a miserable night for the Hammers when he poked home Joey Barton's cross at the near post.
Former Coventry frontman Best deserves his name in lights after his three-goal haul, but Barton was the star of the show.
Barton, who joined the Magpies in 2007, is enjoying his finest season in a Newcastle shirt and produced a brilliant all-round midfield display against the Hammers.
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The 28-year-old not only hassled the visitors' midfield but also delivered pinpoint balls with alarming accuracy as far as the east Londoners were concerned.
Before his opener, Best twice had chances to put a mark on his Newcastle tally thanks to Barton's deliveries.
His first cross was cut out by James Tomkins as Best was about to make the contact and the second whipped-in ball was headed wide by the striker from 10 yards.
Best had come on as a substitute in the 1-0 win at Wigan last weekend and wasted a goalscoring opportunity after stumbling as he was about to shoot, so many of the fans in black and white could have been forgiven for thinking that perhaps the burly forward was destined not to break his duck.
But he relieved his and the St James' Park faithful's anxiety with a delicate finish in the 18th minute and then repeated the feat six minutes from half-time.
Barton played an important role in both strikes, finding the front two with raking past from just beyond the Newcastle area before feeding in Lovenkrands with a quick free-kick who in turn found his strike partner.
With the former Manchester City man pulling the strings, regular playmaker Nolan could afford to have a relatively quiet game. But in the final minute of the first half he sparked into life when he stroked Tomkins' awful clearance through a crowd of players and past Hammers goalkeeper Robert Green.
West Ham's painful night in the North East continued after the break when Best grabbed his third.
On this occasion it was Nolan's deft flick that fooled West Ham's sleepy defenders Danny Gabbidon and Tomkins. The ball found its way to Best, who smashed in with confidence from the edge of the area.
Newcastle's fifth was poked in at the near post by sharp-thinking Lovenkrands thanks again to Barton who played in another teasing ball from the right.
Nile Ranger should have added a sixth but somehow sent his shot three yards right of Green's upright.
Woeful is an inadequate word to describe their opponents' performance.
Newcastle keeper Harper was only called to make one save in the opening 45 minutes when he palmed away former Magpie Scott Parker's swerving shot.
West Ham's other chances fell to Carlton Cole, who after being virtually anonymous became a little more animated with his side 5-0 down.
The first was an overhead kick that fell straight to Harper and the second was a fierce strike saved again by the home side's number one.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew's side deserved their clean sheet but it will probably the easiest they have earned all season.
The future of Hammers manager Avram Grant will again be thrown into doubt following this performance which leaves his side back at the bottom of the Premier League.
Nile Ranger (born 11 April 1991) is an English footballer who plays for Newcastle United as a striker.
Born in North London, Ranger attended Alexandra Park School. He began his football career at Crystal Palace Football Academy and was at their development centre from a young age. He was with the Protec Football Development School for a few weeks before being scouted by Southampton. His career was almost over before it began, whilst playing for the club he was sentenced to 11 weeks in a Young Offender's Institute for his part in an armed street robbery in Muswell Hill committed before signing for the club. He returned to Southampton after completing his sentence, but was eventually released as a player with a bad reputation. He was offered terms by Swindon Town after a successful trial before Newcastle snapped him up.
In July 2008, then Director of Football of Newcastle, Dennis Wise brought him to Newcastle United. Ranger made his academy debut against Leicester City on 23 August 2008 and made his debut for the reserve team against Sunderland at St James' Park on 1 September 2008. He impressed hugely in these levels, finishing with fifteen goals for the Under-18s and seven for the reserves in his first season on Tyneside. That resulted him in winning the "Wor Jackie Milburn Trophy" in 2009. He was subsequently rewarded by then-manager Alan Shearer with a new and improved three-and-a-half year contract.
Ranger's Newcastle debut came as a second-half injury-time substitute for Shola Ameobi against West Bromwich Albion in the Championship on 8 August 2009. He made his first senior league start against Leicester City on 31 August 2009, where he won the man of the match award. He played just over 84 minutes before been substituted and received a standing ovation from fans. He scored his first senior goal for the club in a 2–0 win over Coventry City on 9 December 2009. Ranger scored his second goal of the season in a 2–0 home win against Crystal Palace who had recently been deducted 10 points for going into administration.
After appearing as an unused substitute in the first two Premier League games for Newcastle, Ranger was awarded with starts in the Football League Cup wins over Accrington Stanley and Chelsea. He scored the first equalising goal in the game at Stamford Bridge, appearing in a right-wing berth, as Newcastle went on to triumph 4-3.
Ranger made his Premier League debut on the 16th October 2010, coming off the bench in the 89th minute to help Newcastle to a 2-2 draw against Wigan. Ranger made a host of substitute appearances for Newcastle after that, getting ten minutes in the 5-1 win over Sunderland and in the 1-0 away win to Arsenal. Ranger turned Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny and was through on goal before the Arsenal player tugged him down and received a red card. Ranger signed a new five and a half year contract on 3 December 2010, keeping him at the club until 2016.
Ranger made his debut for the England U19 on 25 March 2009 against the Czech Republic U19s and missed a wonderful opportunity in the dying minutes of the game with a weak shot that hit the post. He finally got his first goal for the Under-19s in his second match, against Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a lucky headed effort. He helped his team to the final of the UEFA U-19 Championship but his team eventually lost the final to host nation Ukraine 2–0.