Newcastle crown new No 9 as Cissé starts with a bang

Newcastle United 2 Aston Villa 1

St James' Park

Thirteen months. That was the length of time since the last time St James' Park had seen a striker in the Newcastle No 9 shirt scoring a goal. Much can happen in 13 months on Tyneside. Big players can leave in helicopters, unexpected stars can emerge, there can even be an attempt to rename the ground. The constants offer assurances to the supporter. Like a comfort blanket, the No 9 shirt has added meaning; romance keeps a club like Newcastle strong, and they dote on their strikers.

Into that vacuum (created when Andy Carroll flew to Liverpool for £35 million) stepped Papiss Cissé; fresh from an £8m move last month from Freiburg and a stunning collective team failure in the African Cup of Nations with Senegal. He was supposed to be eased in. He was left on the bench as his countryman, Demba Ba, was afforded a starting role. But less than a quarter of an hour had passed when Leon Best crumpled underneath a block challenge from Stephen Warnock and Newcastle's supporters had their wish. Cissé was on and if ever it is doubted what that particular shirt means in these parts, the standing ovation that was afforded to a player most of the near 50,000 crowd had not even seen play before was a telling reminder. No pressure then.

Perhaps there was no love in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. What did not happen for Senegal had already happened for Newcastle 15 times before yesterday, before the new pairing had even been made. Ba scoring has become a matter of course. On his return, as in his last appearance at St James', against Manchester United, he scored. His goal in the 30th minute was his 16th of the season in 17 games, sweeping a shot past Shay Given from close range after Ryan Taylor put his body on the line, taking a bruising challenge that ended his own afternoon to get the ball to the forward. Ba is revered for that record.

By then however, he was not even centre stage. When the No 9 shirt gets dusted off (Ba turned it down) and handed, like a crown, to a willing heir, everything gets cranked up about three notches. Thus Cissé walked on to a crescendo of noise, saw his first touch cheered and then headed at Given with a great opportunity. It felt like it could be his day, and there was precedent. Kevin Keegan scored on his debut, albeit in the No 7 shirt; Les Ferdinand scored on his debut; Alan Shearer and Carroll scored on their home debuts in the No 9 shirt.

But in the middle of all this was an Aston Villa side who should probably be doing more than they are, and certainly have, in the irate Alex McLeish, a manager who believes they should be doing better. His was a day spent raging on the sidelines, in the first half, after the opening goal, at Stephen Ireland, a spat that ended with the player, no stranger to controversy, telling his manager to "eff off".

"No, I never saw the 'eff off' thing," said McLeish. "I know he spoke back, but at the same time players don't always like hearing their managers screaming at them from the touchline. I kick every ball with them, I'm passionate, I care and I wouldn't be so petty as to take a player off for something like that. Stevie had an ankle problem and wasn't able to close down and when [Danny] Guthrie stepped up to put that cross in, I thought it was too easy. It was clear at half time that he didn't have the capacity to get close to people. It's trivial."

The criticism that came from his own club's supporters at the introduction of Emile Heskey for Charles N'Zogbia felt harsh. By then Villa were level, the excellent Robbie Keane scoring from close range after a N'Zogbia run and cross. N'Zogbia was jeered mercilessly all afternoon for the manner in which he left Newcastle. It was in contrast to the warmth and appreciation shown for another former United player, Shay Given.

However, it was ultimately the time for a new hero. By the 71st minute, Cissé had placed himself into folklore, taking a Jonas Gutierrez cross on his chest and cracking a left-foot shot into the top corner of the Villa goal.

"His goal was something special and lifted the roof off the place," said manager Alan Pardew. "It really was a great hit and it wasn't too bad for his weaker foot. That goal makes the shirt lighter. If you wear that jersey at Newcastle you need a good start. It's Boys' Own Annual stuff.

"After the game he does the interview and shakes everyone's hands, including the staff. Those moments are very nice. He has come here without any agenda other than to be a top player for us.

"It's a big investment for the club. Although Mike [Ashley] sanctioned it and Derek [Llambias] had to see the deal through, I have to spend the fans' money. I like to spend it well. We worked hard on that and we took our time. We hope we've got it right."

MATCH FACTS

Newcastle: KRUL 7/10; SIMPSON 6; WILLIAMSON 7; COLOCCINI 6; SANTON 7; R TAYLOR 5; PERCH 7; GUTHRIE 8; GUTIERREZ 7; BA 7; BEST 4

Aston Villa: GIVEN 7; WARNOCK 6; DUNNE 6; CUELLAR 6; HUTTON 6; N'ZOGBIA 6; CLARK 7; PETROV 6; IRELAND 5; KEANE 8; BENT 6

Substitutes: Newcastle United Cisse 8 (Best, 14), Obertan 6 (R Taylor, 33), Shola Ameobi (Ba, 90). Aston Villa Bannan 6 (Ireland, h-t), Heskey 4 (N'Zogbia, 67), Gardner (Clark, 84).

Booked: Newcastle Simpson Aston Villa Dunne, Bent.

Man of the match Keane. Match rating 7/10. Possession: Newcastle 51% Aston Villa 49%.

Attempts on target: Newcastle 8 Aston Villa 8.

Referee M Halsey (Lancashire).

Attendance 48,569.

Sport
formula oneLive lap-by-lap coverage of championship decider
News
Lily Allen performs on stage at Splendour In the Grass 2014 on 27 July, 2014, in Byron Bay, Australia
people
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
Sport
Manny Pacquiao lands a blow on Chris Algieri
Pacquiao retains WBO welterweight title – and says he wants Mayweather next
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
News
i100
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
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

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin