Newcastle's winning run brought to an end amid protests and a suspension for Matt Ritchie
Newcastle United's three-game winning run was brought to an abrupt end this afternoon.
Two goals from Javier Hernandez and a strike from Felipe Anderson gave West Ham United a 3-0 win at a soggy St James's Park.
It was only the club's second win at the stadium in 20 years.
Newcastle created more chances, and saw more of the ball, than their visitors, but they rarely troubled Lukasz Fabianski in the West Ham goal.
Three of the team's best opportunities fell to Ayoze Perez, who left the field knowing he should have found the net.
The result saw Newcastle drop down a place to 14th in the Premier League, and Matt Ritchie picked up a one-game suspension for his fifth booking of the campaign.
A number of fans took part in a protest organised by The Magpie Group before the game.
Supporters didn't take their seats until the 11th minute in protest at Mike Ashley's 11-year tenure as owner, and the game kicked off with empty seats dotted around the stadium.
Newcastle started positively, but found themselves 1-0 down just as the last fans were taking their seats.
An unmarked Hernandez scored from six yards in the 11th minute after Robert Snodgrass delivered the ball to him in the box.
Ayoze Perez failed to convert three good chances – he had a header saved and didn't hit the target with two other efforts – and Pablo Zabaleta stopped Salomon Rondon just before the break.
Newcastle pressed on in the second half. West Ham were dangerous on the break as Benitez's side committed men forward in search of an equaliser.
Christian Atsu replaced Ritchie early in the half.
The visitors defended well – they comfortably dealt with ball after ball into Fabianski's box – and Hernandez scored a second in the 63rd minute following a quick break forward involving Marko Arnautovic.
Benitez made a second change and sent on Jonjo Shelvey in place of Kenedy with 20 minutes left.
Joselu followed Shelvey on to the pitch – he replaced a frustrated Perez – and neither player made an impact.
And the superb Anderson capped a forgettable afternoon with a third goal for West Ham in injury time.
Newcastle take on Everton at Goodison Park on Tuesday night.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Yedlin, Fernandez, Schar, Manquillo; Ki, Diame; Ritchie (Atsu, 53), Perez (Joselu, 78), Kenedy (Shelvey, 70); Rondon. Subs: Woodman, Clark, Lascelles, Longstaff.
WEST HAM UNITED: Fabianski, Cresswell (Masuaku, 56), Balbuena, Diop, Zabaleta, Noble (Wilshere, 85), Rice, Snodgrass, Anderson, Hernandez, Arnautovic (Obiang, 70). Subs: Adrian, Carroll, Ogbonna, Perez.
Goals: Hernandez 11, 64, Anderson 90
Bookings: Snodgrass 22, Noble 32, Ritchie 41, Zabaleta 43
Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)