Pardew happy for Newcastle to win ugly

Newcastle United 1 Norwich City 0

St James' Park

There was a moment yesterday, after Hatem Ben Arfa had been substituted and following a Mike Williamson sliced clearance, that a supporter, within earshot of Alan Pardew, berated the Newcastle manager for taking the wrong player off.

Pardew turned slowly, with a face like thunder, to stare down his detractor and vociferously tell him to shut up. Afterwards it also felt that he was still defending his side, and there was something to admire in that, if not in the game itself, as he admitted.

Newcastle are two points off fifth place in sixth and this win, however bitty and unpleasant on the eye, stopped a run of four games without one. They have not played well for a while and the fans' unrest (there were pockets of jeers when Ben Arfa was substituted) present once more the paradox of this football club. Sometimes winning is not enough, and Pardew was rounding on that ideology as much as defending his own players.

"It could well be one of our most important results of the season," he insisted. "My players are absolutely elated with the win. Mike Ashley said after the Sunderland game that it was fantastic theatre. It wasn't much theatre today, but what there was was a real professionalism on the pitch. Both teams put in a full stint.

"The flair players could have done and shown a bit more je ne sais quoi but it was a battle and it's always good to win a battle. I'm really proud of the players today. We knew in the dressing room we weren't balanced. We knew we had to give a little bit more and we did that.

"Everybody is pulling to trying to get us this finish we need. We are going for Europe, that's how important this win is. It's the last 10 games, we have won the 10th game if you like, it makes the task do-able."

He added: "We are not firing on all cylinders. If you win when you're not at your best, it is a great attribute."

The fear, heard in the general grumblings among the home crowd, is the feeling that the side may be dipping for the line too early. Nine games remain for them to hoist themselves into automatic Europa League qualification through a fifth-place finish.

That they won yesterday was down to the foresight Newcastle showed to sign Papiss Cissé during the January transfer window, at £9m the most expensive player to move to an English club in that month. His has been a strange transition into the Premier League but essentially it is paying dividends: his delightful 11th minute winner was his third goal in five appearances, but his arrival has coincided with a loss of fluency.

For that failing he was made an unused substitute in the last-minute defeat at Arsenal last week, and perhaps that demotion inspired such a first half here in which he scored, and on two other occasions went close, firstly failing to clear John Ruddy with a second-minute lob and then late in the same half when his shot was saved by the Norwich goalkeeper's left hand after he had been sent through by Jonas Gutierrez. Ruddy did well to deny Demba Ba in a half in which Newcastle dominated.

After the break they were not, and perhaps the two records Norwich now carry with them are more to blame for those home grumblings. They failed to keep a clean sheet yesterday for the 29th consecutive time away in the Premier League, a new record. It was also the 15th time they have played on a Sunday in their four seasons in the top division – so far without a single win.

Such stats can raise expectations in home supporters, but it was Norwich who looked the more likely to score, with Tim Krul's double save from Anthony Pilkington and Zak Whitbread particularly impressive.

"Our play deserved something," said manager Paul Lambert. "I'm not disappointed with the way we played. We took the game to someone who is playing very well and the performance was very good. We never sat back, we tried to go and win the match. On another day we might have got something.

"That is good as we have played. They don't need me to sit here and say well done. I have a great belief in the lads."

Match details

Newcastle: KRUL 7/10; SIMPSON 6; WILLIAMSON 5; COLOCCINI 6; GUTIERREZ 6; BEN ARFA 6; GUTHRIE 6; PERCH 7; CABAYE 6; CISSE 7; BA 6

Norwich: RUDDY 7; DRURY 6; WHITBREAD 5; WARD 6; NAUGHTON 6; FOX 6; PILKINGTON 6; SURMAN 6; HOWSON 7; EBENNETT 7; MORISON 4

Scorer. Newcastle; Cissé 11

Substitutes: Newcastle United Santon 5 (Ben Arfa, 63), Shola Ameobi 6 (Cissé, 69), Gosling (Guthrie, 76). Norwich City Holt (Howson, 77), Hoolahan (Drury, 82), R Martin (Pilkington, 85).

Booked: Norwich E Bennett, Whitbread, Naughton.

Man of the match Perch. Match rating 3/10.

Possession: Newcastle 51% Norwich 49%.

Attempts on target: Newcastle 10 Norwich 5.

Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire). Attendance 47,833.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future