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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
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

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game