IF ever a game summed up the good and bad of Newcastle United, this was it.

For the opening 45 minutes, the Magpies were excellent. Bright and incisive on the counter-attack, with their talisman Allan Saint-Maximin to the fore, Newcastle picked off West Ham at will.

They took advantage of some dreadful Hammers defending to score two goals – an own goal from Issa Diop and a close-range strike from Joelinton – and found themselves playing against ten men when Craig Dawson was rightly dismissed for two reckless first-half fouls.

At half-time, the game looked to be over, but having been so effective in the opening 45 minutes, Newcastle were the polar opposite for most of the second period.

Passive, lackadaisical and seemingly unsure of their game plan, the Magpies invited West Ham on to them and were punished.

Diop set nerves jangling when he headed home, and seven minutes later, Jesse Lingard fired the Hammers level from the spot after a VAR check spotted a handball from Ciaran Clark.

Suddenly, Newcastle were reeling, but cometh the hour, cometh Joe Willock.

The Arsenal loanee had been Newcastle’s super-sub when he came off the bench to equalise against Tottenham – and he was at it again as he headed home Matt Ritchie’s cross within three minutes of replacing Sean Longstaff.

Willock celebrated wildly, and after surviving eight minutes of injury time, the Magpies were able to breathe a huge sigh of relief when the final whistle blew.

This should have been a much more comfortable success, and Steve Bruce should have been much more proactive with his tactics and substitutions when he saw his side struggling so badly in the second half.

Ultimately, though, the final result is a massive one. Newcastle have leapfrogged Burnley and Brighton to move nine points clear of the relegation zone with six games to play.

They are not safe yet, but by claiming back-to-back victories over Burnley and West Ham in the space of six days, they have taken two massive strides towards securing their Premier League status for next season.