Match Report: Papiss Cissé's lucky deflection for Newcastle United leaves West Bromwich Albion deflated
Newcastle United 2 West Bromwich Albion 1
St James' Park
Monday 29 October 2012
So Steve Clarke's quest for his first managerial win on the road continues. It was in his one game as Newcastle United's caretaker that the Scot gained his first taste of awayday anguish in charge of a team. That was a 5-1 thrashing at Old Trafford in 1999. Yesterday's reverse was every bit as painful.
For much of the afternoon Clarke's West Bromwich Albion side looked like the upwardly mobile Newcastle team of 12 months ago. They recovered from the loss of a goal 10 minutes before half-time to Demba Ba, the outstanding Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku heading them level 10 minutes into the second half, only to finish empty-handed after a fluke decider in the third and final minute of injury time.
Sammy Ameobi's left-foot drive needed a wicked deflection off the back of fellow substitute Papiss Cissé to wrongfoot Ben Foster in goal and earn Newcastle a win that even their manager conceded was fortunate. "I'll make no bones about it: we didn't deserve to win," Alan Pardew said. "But we haven't had many breaks this season, so we'll take it.
"West Brom were excellent today. They probably thought they should have won it. I'm glad to see the back of them." And glad to see his Senegalese striker Cissé back, claiming his first Premier League goal of the season, naturally.
Given their Thursday-Sunday grind of Europa League and domestic top-flight fixtures, it was perhaps not surprising that Pardew's side struggled to get into the groove against an Albion team who pushed the ball around with purpose in a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation. It took a stunning reflex save from Tim Krul to deny Lukaka after Graham Dorrans launched a counter-attack.
Still, Newcastle edged in front in the 35th minute. Krul pumped forward a long kick and Shola Ameobi nodded the ball on for Ba, who pounced to claim his seventh league goal of the season with a right-foot volley.
Clarke's players maintained their composure. Ten minutes into the second-half Liam Ridgewell was allowed to venture unchallenged to the left edge of the Newcastle box before dinking a short cross to Lukaku, whose downward header beat Krul.
That was that in a tight second-half contest until the 93rd minute – when Cissé's back provided a sting in the tail for the Magpies, and another late whack where it hurts for the Baggies, who lost in similar circumstances at home to Manchester City last week.
"I thought we were terrific today," said Clarke. "It's disappointing when you come to a place like this and you're the best team and you don't get anything."
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