WHEN Newcastle United headed into the last international break, they did so on the back of three successive defeats, sitting in the bottom half of the table.

Fast forward five weeks, and Eddie Howe’s side find themselves signing off for the next round of internationals having claimed five wins and two draws from their last seven matches.

There will be a degree of disappointment that the second of those draws was not a victory, with West Ham having snatched an 89th-minute equaliser yesterday, but it has still been some month for the Magpies.

Their latest outing might have lacked some of the fluency that tore Paris St Germain apart four days earlier, but it nevertheless resulted in a creditable point as Newcastle shrugged off the disappointment of an early concession to turn the game on its head with two Alexander Isak goals in the space of five minutes either side of the hour mark.

Mohammed Kudus’ late leveller pegged them back, but the Magpies’ collective spirit and resilience were again evident as they produced a much-improved attacking display in the second half. Having survived a manic fixture list in the last few weeks, Howe will be hoping to get a few of his injured players back when the domestic schedule resumes in a fortnight.

His side had to overcome a bad start yesterday, with West Ham opening the scoring in the eighth minute with their first meaningful attack. Nick Pope got himself into a dreadful position as Lucas Paqueta played Emerson into the left of the box, too far from his goal to cover the six-yard box but not far enough out to be able to clear the danger. Emerson skipped round him, and squared across the face of the area to leave Tomas Soucek with a simple tap-in.

Newcastle dominated possession throughout the afternoon, but unlike on Wednesday, when their pace and intensity was too much for Paris St Germain, much of their first-half play in the London Stadium was laborious. Eddie Howe’s decision to swap Alexander Isak and Elliot Anderson midway through the first half highlighted the extent to which things were not really working. Isak threatened to cause problems down the left, but with Callum Wilson on the bench, Anderson did not look comfortable as a central striker.

Miguel Almiron curled a shot narrowly wide of the post on the half-hour mark, and Dan Burn glanced a header wide shortly after, but it was only when Howe reversed his tactical decision and restored Isak to a central attacking position at the start of the second half that Newcastle began to click as an attacking unit.

Alphonse Areola made an excellent stop from Burn, flinging himself to his left to claw away the defender’s header, but the West Ham goalkeeper was beaten twice in the space of five minutes as Newcastle successfully turned things around.

Trippier had a hand in both goals, with his 57th-minute free-kick unsettling the Hammers defence. An under-pressure Nayef Aguerd could only head the ball across his own area, enabling Isak to fire home from close range. Isak looked to be in an offside position, but because the ball had come off Aguerd, the Swede’s positioning didn’t matter.

His finish was clinical, and he was finding the net again five minutes later to fire his side into the lead. Bruno Guimaraes picked up Trippier’s run down the right, the full-back fired across a first-time volley, and Isak stretched out a leg to turn the ball home.

Isak’s second-half performance was sparkling, and he came within inches of claiming a hat-trick with 17 minutes left. Burn’s through ball sent him beyond the West Ham defence, but while he went round Areola, he was forced into an extremely wide position and could only roll a shot against the post.

It proved a crucial moment, as West Ham snatched a dramatic leveller with one minute left. Newcastle’s midfielders stood off Kudus as he received a square ball from Vladimir Coufal, and the substitute drilled home a slick 20-yard strike.