Demba Ba spares Papiss Cisse blushes but Newcastle manager Alan Pardew annoyed by penalty pass-the-parcel against Norwich

Newcastle 1 Norwich 0

St James' Park

It felt like a death march, Papiss Cissé, withdrawn after 70 minutes, was forced to walk the best part of 60 yards, tail tucked between his legs, sympathy falling from the same stands, from which, last season, came adoration.

At least they have not forgotten the 13 goals that he produced in the 14 games he played during that debut campaign, after joining in January, but it felt a long time ago on a painful afternoon.

Indeed, goodwill proved his downfall yesterday. The desire from his team-mates to help him rediscover the accuracy that blew some of the best Premier League defences apart may yet prove to have had the opposite effect.

Alan Pardew admitted afterwards that he wanted one of his two regular penalty takers, Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa, to take the penalty. That may have happened had the Newcastle manager not been serving the final game of a two-match touchline ban for pushing referee’s assistant Peter Krikup during his side’s victory over Tottenham last month.

As a result, when Newcastle won a penalty in first-half added time, neither Ba or Ben Arfa took the kick. It was a fascinating moment.

Ba had bemoaned the fact Ben Arfa had taken the ball, in a moment of confidence during that Spurs game, to score from 12 yards. Thus this time, when Steve Morison upended Mike Williamson, Ba went looking for the ball, only to find the stand-in captain Jonas Gutierrez with it. He gave it to Ben Arfa and in turn, after deliberation, he tossed it to Cissé. The forward then blasted the penalty over John Ruddy’s crossbar and his confidence seemed to go with it.

“I like my penalty takers to take it, that would be a start,” said Pardew. “I could understand the group giving it to Papiss. It talks about the spirit in the group that they wanted him to score but it wasn’t what I wanted.

“I understand why they did that. They want Papiss to score. Players look after players. They genuinely wanted him to score the goal. The fact he missed it was a blow to the group. We felt it in the dressing room at half-time. That was why it was important to ignore it.

“It happens to strikers. They have little lulls here and there. I’m not going to blame Papiss. He’s not firing at the moment, he had three good chances he would have scored in training. It shows what pressure can do but he will come good again.”

In contrast, and as happened on his arrival, as the form of one Senegalese forward dips, so another soars. Ba now has four goals from four Premier League starts and three in his last two appearances. He was a problem Norwich never really figured out, latching onto a fine pass from Ben Arfa in the 19th minute and, with a touch and a smart finish from 18 yards out, won Newcastle the game. Pardew said afterwards that there had been a conversation with Ba’s agent to clear the air after the quotes which suggested last week he would look to find a solution if his player was left on the substitutes’ bench again.

There is at least fire in his belly. His goal was good, his work-rate was good, and only because of the outstanding contribution of Ben Arfa was he not Newcastle’s most important player. “There were four or five moments from Hatem that you could put in a World Cup,” added Pardew.

Ben Arfa remains one of the most pleasing Premier League players on the eye, particularly for the delicacy of his touch.

Norwich did not have that kind of player, but they were genuine and honest and embodied the ethos of manager, Chris Hughton, who was  afforded a great reaction from the Newcastle fans who have not forgotten the job he did in leading the club to promotion in 2010.

“It was always one I was looking forward to,” said Hughton. “The reception was excellent and I’m absolutely delighted. What I wanted was for it to be an even better day. That would have been for us to get a result that, on the balance of play, as the away team, we probably deserved.

“I enjoyed coming back but it was about the team. They put in a really good shift.”

Andrew Surman came as close as they managed all afternoon, just after the interval, but when he was sent clear through, Steve Harper produced an excellent save. Newcastle became restless, Cissé missed a couple of chances he would probably have scored last season and, in two days, they must face Manchester United. It has been a relentless start.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower