Jonas Gutierrez scored his first goal since winning his battle with cancer as Newcastle United beat West Ham 2-0 to avoid relegation on an anxious final day of the Premier League season.
A run of one point from 10 games had plunged the Tyneside club deep into the mire, but Moussa Sissoko’s header nine minutes into the second half put them on course for a first victory since the end of February as Hull City dropped into the Championship.
Midfielder Gutierrez, who laid on the opening goal and in what could prove to be his last appearance for the club, then sealed it with a deflected strike five minutes from time in a fairytale end to a season in which he returned after overcoming testicular cancer.
Hull needed a win against Manchester United to have any chance of avoiding the drop, but were held to a goalless draw and is it happened Newcastle did what they needed to stay up regardless of what happened at the KC Stadium.
Newcastle head coach John Carver said it would be unthinkable to take his hometown club into the second tier and he was able to savour a victory in what may be his last game in charge.
Unpopular owner Mike Ashley broke his silence before the game to vow that the club is not for sale at any price and he is going nowhere until Newcastle win a trophy, but was giving nothing away over who will be manager next season.
While Carver’s tumultuous reign looks set to come to an end, former Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce has taken charge of West Ham for the final time as the club have confirmed he will not be offered a new deal.
Newcastle’s leading scorer Papiss Cisse made his first start since early March, while Mike Williamson and Vurnon Anita were also recalled as Ayoze Perez, Ryan Taylor and Remy Cabella dropped to the bench.
Allardyce made two changes to his starting line-up, with former Newcastle captain Kevin Nolan and Reece Burke replacing the injured Mark Noble and James Collins.
Newcastle made an encouraging start and Emmanuel Riviere was presented with a great chance to put them in front inside a minute, but snatched at his shot from close range.
Enner Valencia wanted a penalty when he went down in the area moments later, but Williamson did not appear to make any contact and referee Martin Atkinson waved play on.
Riviere acrobatically volleyed into the side-netting and Daryl Janmaat dragged a strike wide of the far post as Newcastle attempted to ease the tension.
Newcastle’s hearts were in their mouths when Stewart Downing raced into the penalty area 23 minutes in, but Tim Krul denied the winger what would have been a controversial goal given he was marginally offside.
The home supporters becoming increasingly edgy as their side failed to open the scoring in a frantic first half, but knew Hull were also being held by United.
Riviere had another golden opportunity to make himself a hero five minutes into the second half, but somehow failed to make contact with Janmaat’s cross from around six yards out.
St James’ Park erupted just four minutes later, though, when Sissoko met Gutierrez’s fine cross from the left with a downward header to put Newcastle in front.
Gutierrez then raised the roof by unleashing a strike that deflected beyond Adrian and celebrated in style as Newcastle ended the season on a high note.
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