Kevin Nolan returned to St. James' Park to haunt his former side, scoring the winner as West Ham beat Newcastle 1-0 in the Premier League on Sunday.

The former Magpies midfielder scored shortly before the break, but Sam Allardyce's side were grateful for some wasteful attacking play from Newcastle as they failed to find an equaliser at St James' Park.

Jussi Jaaskelainen almost gifted the hosts an early goal when he dwelled too long on a backpass, but he was rescued by Papiss Cisse's mistimed challenge, while at the other end Nolan's acrobatic attempt was deflected wide.

West Ham enjoyed plenty of possession as the subdued hosts struggled to settle, although the Londoners lacked attacking punch and Yossi Benayoun lashed well wide.

Newcastle offered little invention themselves and appealed hopefully for a penalty when Mike Williamson was knocked off balance by George McCartney in the box.

But a scrappy encounter was ignited by Newcastle old boy Nolan in the 37th minute as he turned in Joey O'Brien's low shot at the back post with the home side appealing in vain for offside.

Nolan almost struck again soon afterwards, curling just over the top corner, while the Magpies finally threatened as Shane Ferguson's shot was blocked before Hatem Ben Arfa's drive was deflected into the side-netting.

Shola Ameobi's arrival as a half time substitute almost reaped instant reward with Jaaskelainen somehow clawing the striker's towering header off the line.

Demba Ba fired wide as Newcastle continued to search for a leveler, but West Ham remained a threat as Mohamed Diame scooped over and Gary O'Neil nodded at Tim Krul.

There was little respite for either defence as Ameobi headed wide and Ben Arfa tested Jaaskelainen, while Krul then had to save superbly to deny a clean through Carroll.

The home faithful were becoming increasingly agitated and they endured further frustration when Yohan Cabaye lashed a late effort over the bar.

The Associated Press was used in this report.