Newcastle recorded their third straight win yesterday afternoon by despatching Norwich 2-1 at St James’ Park.
Goals from Loic Remy and Yoan Gouffran ultimately proved to be enough to secure the three points despite Leroy Fer ensuring a nervy ending to the game with a consolation goal ten minutes from time.
Overall it was a reasonably comfortable victory. Chris Hughton’s side had their chances but United could and perhaps should have put the game beyond any doubt before half-time and had it not been for an iffy (actually, make that incorrect) offside flag then Papiss Cisse would probably have added a third goal to put some daylight between the scores and give the full-time scoreline perhaps a fairer reflection.
United don’t score early. In fact the quickest we’ve scored this season prior to yesterday was the ten minute mark. However just 113 seconds into the match Yohan Cabaye flighted a corner in which managed to evade everyone bar Remy at the far post who powerfully nodded home from point blank range and credit us with a first league goal from a corner in over two years.
Norwich recovered well from the early setback and went about trying to equalise but Nathan Redmond’s finishing was woeful as he fired his shot high and wide over the Leazes End goal. There was further confusion in the home penalty area soon after until Shola Ameobi, who played well yesterday, managed to put his boot through the ball and clear the danger. In fact it was Ameobi who carved out United’s best chance of doubling the advantage on the half hour mark as he fed the ball through to Moussa Sissoko he screwed his shot wide of John Ruddy’s goal.
But back came Norwich who nearly mustered another equaliser. Nathan Redmond’s deep cross found Anthony Pilkington at the far post and his looping header looked to be header for the opposite corner of Tim Krul’s net. Fortunately it fell wide of the goal but the confusion didn’t end as Mike Williamson impeded Krul’s attempts at collecting the ball before hoofing clear himself.
However not long after that United grabbed the second. Ameobi evaded Bradley Johnson with a fine piece of skill before threading the ball out to Loic Remy who had drifted wide right. Remy then fed Moussa Sissoko who advanced forward and crossed for Ameobi to head towards goal. Ruddy was equal to Shola’s effort but he could do nothing to prevent Yooan Gouffran from slamming in the rebound to make it 2-0.
Two could have been three shortly afterwards after Shola Ameobi again tested Ruddy with a powerful effort from the edge of the penalty but his effort was beaten away and the score remained 2-0 at the interval.
Half-time: Newcastle 2-0 Norwich
Norwich improved after the break without really threatening and I got the sense that United had taken their foot off the pedal to some extent also, but in reality they were comfortable and just looked to be seeing out the game which is always a dangerous thing to do at 2-0.
And so it proved as a period of Norwich pressure resulted in a sequence of corners fired by Redmond, who eventually managed to put one onto the Canaries head of Leroy Fer who powerfully headed past Tim Krul to make the score 2-1 with ten minutes to play.
However that goal should have been the signal for a period of Norwich attacking pressure, but it didn’t come and United could and should have added a third through Papiss Cisse who saw his effort chalked off by an incorrect offside flag. In the end it was fairly comfortable for United, even though I wasn’t exceptionally happy about us sitting back but at least it didn’t cost us, this time.
Full-time: Newcastle 2-1 Norwich
A third successive win for United maintain what is so far a 100% record in November. A home game against West Brom next weekend gives us the ideal opportunity to extend that run despite the baggies being somewhat of a bogey team of ours. Could a purple patch in November be just the tonic as we head towards what is traditionally a black December for United?
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Davide Santon; Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Yoan Gouffran, Shola Ameobi, Loic Remy
Subs: Rob Elliot, Massadio Haidara, Vurnon Anita, Gabriel Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse
Norwich: John Ruddy; Russell Martin, Michael Turner, Ryan Bennett, Martin Olsson; Bradley Johnson, Leroy Fer, Jonny Howson; Nathan Redmond, Anthony Pilkington, Gary Hooper
Subs: Carlo Nash, Steven Whittaker, Sebastien Bassong, Wes Hoolahan, Johan Elmander, Luciano Becchio, Josh Murphy