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French flags, berets and baguettes were all part of the event that was “French Day” at St James’ Park and fittingly goals from two of their French contingent helped Newcastle United to a 4-2 win over fellow strugglers Southampton.
Things couldn’t have got off to a much worse half for the Toon Army though as they fell behind to an early goal. Poor defending allowed the ball to come in to Schneiderlin in the box, who struck low past Premier League debutant Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal.
Newcastle were soon on the front foot though and pushing for an equaliser, with Sissoko’s powerful low shot from the edge of the area being forced round the post by Boruc on 15 minutes. Newcastle’s best chance probably fell to Cisse a few minutes later when a weak effort from Gouffran fell to him about 7 yards out but he couldn’t quite turn and find the target.
Newcastle eventually got their reward for all their pressing just after half an hour. Cabaye picked up a sloppy Southampton pass in midfield and thread a fantastic left footed pass down the left wing for Gouffran to run on to. After bamboozling the Saints back line with some tricky footwork he fired across goal from a narrow angle and the ball fell fantastically for Sissoko to tap in for an equaliser.
St James’ Park was back on its feet now and pushing their team on for a second. Less than ten minutes later they took the lead in quite fantastic style. A Rob Elliot free kick from inside Newcastle’s half sat up nicely for Cisse and from all of 30 yards he hits the ball first time on the volley over Artur Boruc and gave Newcastle the lead for the first time. A very special goal, the sort of stuff Cisse was giving Newcastle fans last year.
With heads up before the break Newcastle took a blow just before the interval with Colocinni limping off with what appeared to be a back injury.
Newcastle did what they have done far too many times after the break this season and started very slowly with Elliot’s fingertips the only thing between a Ricky Lambert free kick and the back of the net. The Saints didn’t have to wait long to get level though as just five minutes in to the second half Lallana broke down the right hand side and some more sloppy Newcastle defending allowed him to play the ball in to Lambert in the middle who poked past Elliot who had no chance. Game on again with Southampton level.
With Southampton the better side at the start of the second half the game then hit a bit of a lull as both sides struggled to really string any sort of attacking play together. However the game burst in to life again on 66 minutes when Newcastle won a penalty. Debuchy broke down the right and his ball in to the box hit the hand of Danny Fox and referee Chris Foy pointed to the spot. One of those penalties that is sometimes given and sometimes isn’t.
Penalty maestro Shola Ameobi was on the bench and Cisse’s last two for the club had been blazed over the bar so Cabaye was given the task of restoring Newcastle’s lead. He did just that, sending Boruc the wrong way and putting the ball in the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Newcastle wrapped things up not long after that, when with ten minutes to go when a comedic own goal doubled their lead. Santon made a trademark burst down the left and put a dangerous cross in which Schneiderlin could only blast at Hooiveld and the ball ended up in the back of the net an pretty much made it game over.
Newcastle saw the game out reasonably comfortably with only a penalty claim from Ramirez a real worry but The Magpies saw out the ninety minutes and picked up a huge three points to move them up to 14th and six points clear of the relegation zone, while Southampton currently sit 3 points adrift in 16th.
An entertaining game at St James’ Park probably saw the right outcome with both teams having good spells but Newcastle edging the overall play. There were plenty of positives for both sides though with Schneiderlin particularly impressing for Southampton in the middle of the park and Shaw looking very bright at left back while he was on.
Southampton should have nothing to worry about, their team is full of quality with players like Lallana in it and there are certainly three teams worse than them and with hapless QPR up next they can hope to pull clear.
Newcastle’s relegation worries could soon be far behind them, a third win in four a huge result. Before their last home game against Chelsea Newcastle had never come from behind to win in the league under Pardew and they have now done it in both their last home games. While it would be preferable that they don’t fall behind in matches this new resilience can only help them in the league and in their European campaign.
Premier League debutant Elliot was solid in goal and his distribution in particular was brilliant and a Cisse goal like that is always a good sight for their fans as the new French players only continue to go from strength to strength with Sissoko, Gouffran and Debuchy all having very good games. They will be hopeful of another three points now when they travel to Swansea next weekend and moving even further away from relegation trouble.
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