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.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
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

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model of a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution