Newcastle keep rolling with West Brom win

Posted by Lee Ryder

Tony Marshall/Getty ImagesMoussa Sissoko's second half strike against West Brom made it four straight Premier League wins for Newcastle.

Newcastle United climbed up to a Europa League spot to put Alan Pardew in with a chance of picking up the November manager of the month award.

Now just think about that for a moment ...

Because when the Magpies were beaten by Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, that simply wasn't on the cards. The team weren't playing with any cohesion not so long ago and Pardew was a man under immense pressure. Many fans would have been happy to see him go after United's second derby loss of 2013.

And he hardly endeared himself when claiming the team were "tired" after being dumped out of the League Cup a few days later against Manchester City at St James' Park in a trophy that many saw as Newcastle's best chance of winning something this term.

But credit to him, he has turned it around and reenergised things at the club's Benton base. Now the team are playing with confidence and the West Brom victory was more evidence of that.

- Match report: Newcastle 2-1 West Brom

And that could not have been underlined any better when United scored from a corner for the second game in a row -- another line none of us hacks thought we would be writing not so long ago. Yet Yoan Gouffran's fifth goal of the season should not have been a surprise as United knocked the ball about with purpose in the opening phases.

Unlike last weekend's win against Norwich City, they could not find a second goal in the first half that would have given them breathing space. However, despite a couple of powerful punts at Tim Krul's goal from Chris Brunt, the Magpies were worthy of their lead.

Just in case anybody thought things were too easy at the moment for Pardew's team, they handed Brunt an early seasonal gift by leaving him free to smash home an early second half equaliser. Then the character started to shine through once more though.

Instead of imploding like they did so many times last season, this time they continued to attack with purpose going forward. Gouffran's flicked header into the path of Moussa Sissoko set the tone for a dramatic and exciting finale as he smashed home a goal that Pardew likened afterwards to the type of goal Alan Shearer used to score at the Gallowgate End.

Just like Norwich last week, the closing stages were taxing for the home support. Three times Mike Williamson cleared the danger with big match saving headers as West Brom poured forward. There was also time for a huge handball appeal that was turned down by Phil Dowd. In the end, though, the effort was enough to lift United to fifth spot.

Pardew will deserve the manager of the month gong for the month but will also carry the usual curse of managers to Swansea for the next game on Wednesday night.

So what happens now? Pardew has already warned that United fans shouldn't get carried away. Yet a result at Swansea would keep them in contention before the acid test at Man United next weekend. That is a venue United haven't won at for decades and NEVER in the Premier League. But the way things are going for Pardew's boys at the moment, nothing is out the question.

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