Match Report: Newcastle United 4 Southampton 2

 

St James’ Park was red, white and blue yesterday. It has been going that way for some time. Things used to be more black and white. It was French Day. Seven of Newcastle’s 18 players were born in France. Newcastle fans wore berets. It did not seem like Tyneside at times, but no one seemed to care, not by full-time anyway, by when Newcastle had moved a significant step towards remaining in the Premier League.

By then two of the French players had scored. Two of the four goals had been set up by French players. Yohan Cabaye, the captain in waiting, who had the flu, was excellent. Even Southampton’s opening goal came from a Frenchman, their only one. Morgan Schneiderlin scored in the third minute, with the strains of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, still drifting over the Gallowgate End. That felt more like Newcastle.

It was never a truly comfortable afternoon for them from that point. The two- fisted salute from their manager, Alan Pardew, which greeted his side’s fourth goal, a fairly calamitous own goal by Jos Hooiveld, was testimony to relief and, though he would not admit to it afterwards, an added delight at beating Southampton. Not his former players, but the powers that be, led by the executive chairman Nicola Cortese, who almost wrecked his managerial career. Emerging from that dismissal, back in 2010, was not easy. No bitterness, as Pardew insisted, but extra delight with the victory.

Pardew’s re-emergence as a manager has taken fight. His side has rediscovered that same quality at a crucial time. “The win was very important because of our position in the league and Southampton’s position in the league,” he said. “The quality of the opposition shouldn’t be underestimated. They were as good as Chelsea and Metalist. We had to be at our very best to win that. Of course we are delighted with the victory. We’ve put ourselves in a position to attack 10th [place]. That is the importance of the win. I said to [the players] we should attack the top 10 and we can now. There has been a difference from six weeks ago. Even when we went a goal behind we didn’t panic.”

That could have happened after Schneiderlin had taken advantage of sloppy defending by Steven Taylor to open the scoring so early. Instead, a driving run from Yoan Gouffran helped Newcastle to equalise. Racing onto a Cabaye pass, he toyed with Jack Cork before hitting a shot that clipped the leg of  Artur Boric and rebounded into the path of Moussa Sissoko, who scored from close range.

Sissoko’s arrival in January has had a huge impact. “We’ve needed a really natural number 10, I’ve been saying that since I arrived here,” said Pardew. “You need to have that link player and Moussa is a better link player than Demba [Ba]. They’re different. Demba is a striker. He plays that number nine role for Chelsea but we had Papiss [Cissé] here. It balances us up nicely. Moussa gives us nice options. He gives the wide players freedom to attack because of his natural defensive attitude when we need it. I think it’s a better combination than I’ve had before.”

Then came the goal of the day. Rob Elliot, who will deputise in goal for Newcastle for the seven games Tim Krul is expected to miss with an ankle injury, launched a free-kick from the left-back position. At that point Cissé looked offside. Jonas Gutierrez distracted Luke Shaw and when the ball fell to Cissé he smashed a 30-yard shot past Boruc off the underside of the crossbar.

“It reminded me of that goal of the season here for Alan [Shearer] many years ago,” said Pardew. “That dipping volley. As soon as he hit it you sensed it was in. He’s got that in him, Papiss. It was a really great one today, fantastic.”

Southampton could have buckled. Instead they forced Newcastle onto the back foot. By the 50th minute they had equalised. The excellent Adam Lallana crossed from the right and Ricky Lambert stole in ahead of Taylor to fire past Elliot.

Defensive mistakes, however, derailed the fightback. In the 67th minute, Cabaye found Mathieu Debuchy with a cross-field free-kick and the right-back’s cross struck the falling arm of the hapless Danny Fox. It was the third appeal of the afternoon for handball and Chris Foy finally relented. Cabaye calmly put Newcastle back ahead.

With 11 minutes to go, Davide Santon crossed from the left, Fox again erred, hitting the ball off Hooiveld into the Southampton goal. It was Hooiveld’s third own goal of the season, equalling a Premier League record.

“I do have confidence in my team,” said the Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino. “We played a very good second half where we deserved to win the match, but the small details make it that we leave St James’ with empty hands. It is obvious that we will stay in the Premier League.”

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders