The former Magpies midfielder scored shortly before the break, but Sam Allardyce’s side were grateful for some wasteful attacking play from Newcastle as they failed to find an equaliser at St James’ Park.
Jussi Jaaskelainen almost gifted the hosts an early goal when he dwelled too long on a backpass, but he was rescued by Papiss Cisse’s mistimed challenge, while at the other end Nolan’s acrobatic attempt was deflected wide.
West Ham enjoyed plenty of possession as the subdued hosts struggled to settle, although the Londoners lacked attacking punch and Yossi Benayoun lashed well wide.
Newcastle offered little invention themselves and appealed hopefully for a penalty when Mike Williamson was knocked off balance by George McCartney in the box.
But a scrappy encounter was ignited by Newcastle old boy Nolan in the 37th minute as he turned in Joey O’Brien’s low shot at the back post with the home side appealing in vain for offside.
Nolan almost struck again soon afterwards, curling just over the top corner, while the Magpies finally threatened as Shane Ferguson’s shot was blocked before Hatem Ben Arfa’s drive was deflected into the side-netting.
Demba Ba thought he had scored shortly after the restart until Jaaskelainen somehow clawed the striker’s towering header off the line.
Ba again tried to beat the Finn and his low shot drifted wide, but West Ham remained a threat as Mohamed Diame scooped over and Gary O’Neil nodded at Tim Krul.
There was little respite for either defence as substitute Shola Ameobi headed wide and Ben Arfa tested Jaaskelainen, while Krul then had to save superbly to deny a clean-through Carroll.
The home faithful were becoming increasingly agitated and they endured further frustration when Yohan Cabaye lashed a late effort over the bar.