JAVIER HERNANDEZ walked in a double as Newcastle’s players put in more of a protest than their fans.
The Toon Army had planned an 11th-minute ‘walk-in’ demonstration against owner Mike Ashley.
PA:Press Association5 Javier Hernandez bagged a brace as West Ham eased past Newcastle
Reuters5 Javier Hernandez made it three goals for the season at St James' Park
But the few hundred that did take part came in immediately after Hernandez had opened the scoring – and they saw the Mexican double his and his side’s haul in the second half.
Hernandez was starting just his third league game of the season for the Hammers.
And he more than paid Manuel Pellegrini’s surprise decision back by doubling his term’s tally in one game.
Hernandez, his strike partner Marco Arnautovic and winger Anderson caused nightmares for Newcastle all afternoon.
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And Pellegrini’s men more than deserved just their second league away win this season which saw them leapfrog their hosts in the table.
For the Toon, this was a miserable end to their recent resurgence, which had seen them win three games on the spin.
And Rafa Benitez’s boys are now back looking over their shoulder, just three points clear of the drop zone.
They went behind just as the clock turned to 11 minutes, as Snodgrass swung in a peach of the cross from the right.
Reuters5 Salomon Rondon misses a great chance for Newcastle
Getty Images – Getty5 Rob Snodgrass and Javier Manquillo clash at St James' Park
And Hernandez cleverly got in behind Fabian Schar – who had moved to mark Arnautovic – to find the freedom of Tyneside to sweep in first time from six yards.
It was at that moment that a few hundred Newcastle fans took to their seats late after staging their protest against the absent Ashley – 11 minutes picked to represent the number of years he has owned the club.
But really, had you not known the demonstration was planned, you would never have noticed.
And, on this evidence, the proposed boycott for the next home game against Wolves could well be a wash-out.
Those fans who missed the Hammers’ opener nearly saw their second, as Anderson played Arnautovic clean through and though he rounded Martin Dubravka, he went too wide and the chance had gone.
Ayoze Perez then had three opportunities to level for Newcastle.
He headed over Matt Ritchie’s cross from inside the six-yard box, dragged wide with his left foot after Kenedy slipped him in, then curled off target from the edge of the box.
And Salomon Rondon was denied an equaliser on the stroke of half-time by a brilliant block tackle by Pablo Zabaleta.
PA:Press Association5 Felipe Anderson rounded of a great Hammers showing with a third in stoppage time
But as Newcastle pushed in the second half, they left gaping holes at the back and West Ham always looked like doubling their lead.
Hernandez had two big chances, air-kicking in the box after Arnautovic squared to him, then smacking the side netting from Anderson’s delicate pass.
Yet he eventually got his and his side’s second as Arnautovic nodded on Declan Rice’s ball, and the Mexican raced through on goal to fire low past Dubravka.
Anderson could have made it three but struck too close to Dubravka and Issa Diop then headed the resulting corner just wide.
But the Hammers never really needed another as it was a stroll for them for the rest of the half.
Felipe Anderson rounded off a fine day in stoppage time with a third from close range.