Saints beaten by revitalised Newcastle

Posted by Marc Duffy

Cabaye celeb v SouthamptonPA PhotosCabaye converted from the penalty spot to wrap up Newcastle's win

Newcastle United made it to the 30-point mark and took a further step toward safety with their third win in four Premier League games as they defeated Southampton 4-2 at St. James' Park on Sunday.

Southampton arrived having managed only three wins in Tyneside in the past 40 years, but made a flying start when Morgan Schneiderlin gave Saints the lead inside three minutes. Newcastle had designated this game as "French Day" with can-can dancers, tricolour's and a rendition of "La Marseillaise" before kickoff, so it was appropriate that a Frenchman should score first -- unfortunately this Frenchman was playing for the wrong team.

Newcastle had not won a game all season in which they conceded first, but with the goal coming so early in the match, the Magpies had plenty of time to change that. Southampton immediately went into defensive mode, and amazingly, goalkeeper Artur Boruc was warned for time wasting by referee Chris Foy after only 16 minutes.

Newcastle looked confused positionally all over the pitch, and as a result, Southampton often found themselves with plenty of room -- especially in midfield. But Newcastle pressed on, Moussa Sissoko had a shot saved, and moments later, the ball fell to the feet of Papiss Cisse with his back to goal. The Senegalese striker attempted to swivel and shoot, but missed the ball and toppled over.

The home crowd was subdued and the atmosphere failed to match that which helped drive its team on to victory against Chelsea in the previous home game, but the volume levels rose when Yoan Gouffran broke down the left side. The Frenchman's shot came off the legs of Boruc and Sissoko was on hand to level the score from a few yards out.

Then just before halftime, Newcastle were ahead. A long ball from stand-in keeper Rob Elliot was missed by Luke Shaw under a challenge from Jonas Gutierrez, and Cisse took on a first-time 30-yard volley that smashed off the bottom of the cross bar and into the net. This was a glimpse of the Cisse from last season -- a top-class goal to demonstrate Route 1 football at its finest.

As the clock wound down to halftime, Fabricio Coloccini pulled up with an injury and made way for Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

As usual, Newcastle started the second half slowly. Elliot saved well from a free kick before Southampton pulled level. Davide Santon was caught out in an advanced position, and Adam Lallana broke into the empty space and squared the ball to Ricky Lambert, who finished it to make it 2-2. Thirty three of the 48 league goals conceded by Newcastle this season have come in the second half.

Newcastle were playing like the away team. They often left Cisse isolated and attacking options were few and far between as Southampton had a chance to take the lead. An important point in the game came from an unlikely source: Danny Fox, who replaced Shaw in the 57th minute.

Within 10 minutes of his arrival, Fox had conceded a penalty. A great cross-field ball by Yohan Cabaye found Mathieu Debuchy, whose first-time cross was handled by Fox. Cabaye scored the penalty for Newcastle to take the lead 3-2.

With 10 minutes remaining, Newcastle sealed it, and again Fox was involved. James Perch (a 76th-minute sub for Cabaye) set Santon free on the left side, and his pull back from the touchline ended up in the back of the net after Fox blasted the ball off teammate Jos Hooiveld for an own goal.

In summary

These three points top off a great four days for Newcastle: progress into the last 16 of the Europa League achieved on Thursday and climbing up to 14th place in the Premier League with victory on Sunday. If West Ham lose to Spurs, Newcastle could go up to 13th by Monday.

Entertainment hasn't been lacking at St. James' Park recently -- that's now 11 goals in the past two league games. Before the Chelsea win, Alan Pardew had not led Newcastle back from behind to win a game in any of his 100-plus matches, but now he has done it twice in two home games.

This win should also help dispel the myth that poor league performances after Europa League games are caused by participation in European competition.

Rob Elliot put in a performance that he can be proud of in the absence of Tim Krul and Steve Harper. It was also good to see Cheick Tiote approaching somewhere near his best -- especially in the first half, when he was Newcastle's standout player. Many will dispute this as they can't see positivity from a player they don't rate, but in my opinion, he was excellent.

Next up is Swansea away. Let’s hope they have a Capital One Cup final hangover.

Twitter: @MarcSDuffy

ESPN Conversations