For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for match stats, click on the stats tab. Manager reaction to follow
Newcastle United moved up to fifth in the Barclays Premier League with a fourth straight victory, beating West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at St James' Park.
Alan Pardew's men occupy the UEFA Europa League spot after a hard-fought win that follows triumphs over Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City. Yoan Gouffran gave Newcastle a deserved lead 10 minutes before the break, nodding into an empty net after an attempted punch by Boaz Myhill. West Brom started the second half in positive fashion and were rewarded when Chris Brunt levelled, the midfielder smashing a powerful effort past Tim Krul after Shane Long's glancing header had found him free in the area. Yet the visitors were level for just four minutes as Moussa Sissoko's swerving effort from distance beat Myhill to secure three points for Pardew's side.
Newcastle made one change from the 2-1 win over Norwich, with Mathieu Debuchy returning from suspension and replacing Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. The visitors brought Billy Jones, Liam Ridgewell and James Morrison into their starting XI, with Goran Popov and Claudio Yacob named among the substitutes and Steven Reid dropping out of the matchday squad. Long was retained in attack after his brace in Monday's 2-2 draw against Aston Villa.
Chris Brunt's free-kick tested Krul three minutes in, with the Newcastle goalkeeper forced to tip the ball wide, before Yohan Cabaye saw a long-range effort roll harmlessly wide of Myhill's right post.
Newcastle grew into the game and Loic Remy's header was deflected wide after good work on the right from Sissoko, while Shola Ameobi opted to shoot from distance rather than playing in his strike partner.
The hosts' pressure eventually paid off when Myhill could only parry a Cabaye corner skywards under pressure from Ameobi. Gouffran was on hand to convert from close range, scoring for a third consecutive home game.
Amoebi and Remy linked well early in the second half, the Frenchman denied by Myhill after being slipped in, but Brunt equalised in emphatic fashion seven minutes after the break. The West Brom captain registered his first Barclays Premier League goal of the season with a left-footed strike that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.
Sissoko's thunderous strike three minutes before the hour swiftly put Newcastle back on top and Debuchy could have put his side 3-1 ahead 15 minutes from time but instead shot straight at Myhill from the edge of the area.
The wasted opportunity was not to matter as Newcastle held on to leave West Brom, who introduced Zoltan Gera late on for his first appearance since January, with just one win in their last seven matches.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew: "We had to work very hard today. We just edged it. It's just important to have momentum, it's an amazing armoury you have. Almost like a glow around you.
"If we can keep that glow and that feeling [we can continue the winning run] but there are still some players who can make an impact that aren't playing at the moment.
"The second goal was an absolute cracker. At the end where [Alan] Shearer smashed so many in, it was great to see one of the new lads do that. He [Sissoko] hass hit a real cracker and it brought the house down. His work-rate and commitment was just as good."
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke: "We were passive in the first half and didn't create enough. Both teams were cancelling each other out and their goal came out of the blue.
"It's always disappointing to concede a cheap goal from a set-play [and] we were feeling a little sorry for ourselves at half-time. The reaction was good [in the] second half and we got ourselves back in the game. A wonder-strike has denied us any points."
|04 Dec 2013||v Swansea (A)|
|07 Dec 2013||v Man Utd (A)|
|14 Dec 2013||v Southampton (H)|
|21 Dec 2013||v Crystal Palace (A)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Stoke (H)|
|29 Dec 2013||v Arsenal (H)|