Newcastle United 1 Aston Villa 0 match report: Loic Remy makes striking impression to take the heat off Alan Pardew

Pardew's team end a run of three successive Premier League defeats

St james' park

Alan Pardew instinctively thrust his right arm into the air. He was immediately engulfed by his back room staff. He did not run and he did not jump into the arms of supporters, as he had done last season, when in the closing stages of a campaign haunted by relegation, a late goal against Fulham brought delirium and relief tumbling down from the St James’ Park stands.

This time, after another dramatic, late, winning goal, when there were less than 90 seconds of injury-time remaining on Martin Atkinson’s stopwatch, Pardew pushed his two chief lieutenants, John Carver and Andy Woodman, to one side, and pointed defiantly towards the Milburn Stand, where he drew a smile across his face. That, he would reveal later, was in reaction to stories that he had to win this game to save his job, something that had been vehemently denied by the club. He was not finished. Then came more looks to the area to the side of his dugout, from where one vociferous fan had demanded to know, when the game was locked in a grim, goalless stalemate, what had been happening at the training ground for the previous four days. In the joy of that moment, however, anger was dissipating rapidly. There came a volley of applause from that small area of the ground, Pardew responded by applauding them back. It was not his goal, but after seven hours and 40 minutes without one, the relief and the lessening of the heat he had been feeling in 2014 was all too obvious.

As he pointed and proved points, Loic Remy, the goalscorer and mood changer of a football club and a city, took off his shirt and stood triumphantly on top of the electronic advertising hoarding in the corner of the Gallowgate End. He was mobbed by his team-mates. St James’ Park, which had only came to life in the 80th minute, when the excellent Mike Williamson produced a fine, saving challenge on Christian Benteke, exploded. The emotional spectrum swings with alarming speed from despair to delight. There had been more suggestions of protest beforehand. It was a flat atmosphere and Aston Villa, for whom Ashley Westwood was outstanding, had missed fine chances through  Karim el Ahmadi and Gabriel Agbonlahor in a one-sided first half. The second half was marginally better, and then, after that tackle, as a slightly perplexed Pardew correctly called, the ground and the team came to life.

“This stadium is like a breathing, living animal,” said Pardew. “We needed it to come alive to help us.”

It did, and then, with just two minutes remaining, after good work from Luuk de Jong, the game opened up for Remy. To the horror of his manager – and the colour in his face drained when he span to face the crowd this time –  the French forward struck a post. It seemed improbable that another chance would come, but once more it did, again after work by De Jong. This time, with the game at 91 minutes and 30 seconds, Remy showed breathtaking composure inside the Aston Villa penalty area, wrong-footing Ron Vlaar before cooly stroking his left-foot shot past Brad Guzan.

“His all-round game was terrific,” added Pardew. “The game seemed a little bit slower when he was on the ball, not as frantic. The quality players can slow the game down, like Cruyff. He can do that. He is going to be hot property.”

Remy very deliberately climbed the same advertising hoarding he had stood on in triumph following his goal at the game’s finish and gave his shirt to a young fan. He then pointed towards John Carver as he left the field and later revealed he had dedicated his goal to the Newcastle assistant manager following the recent death of his father, Fred.

For Remy, it was the end of an emotional period in his own life. Rape charges against him were dropped earlier in the month. This was his first game since then, and also since serving a three-game suspension after being sent off at Norwich.

“Until the game is finished I trust I can score and that is what happened,” he said. “I never felt my chance had gone. The last few games have been very difficult. We are now very relieved.”

No one more so than his manager.

Suggested Topics
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

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before