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Alan Pardew got the win he craved as Newcastle United fought back to beat their manager’s former club Southampton and complete a good week. Newcastle United, who booked their place in the last 16 of the Europa League in Ukraine on Thursday evening, added three Barclays Premier League points to their haul to ease themselves six clear of the relegation zone.
Newcastle fell behind to Morgan Schneiderlin's third-minute strike, but Moussa Sissoko's third goal for the club and a superb Papiss Cisse volley gave them the advantage at the break. Rickie Lambert, a player who was given his Saints chance by Pardew, levelled five minutes into the second half, but Yohan Cabaye's 67th-minute penalty and a Jos Hooiveld own goal 11 minutes from time ensured that the points stayed on Tyneside.
It was France day at St James' Park as Newcastle celebrated the seven-man Gallic influence within their squad, but it was an eighth compatriot who was first to make his mark on the game when Schneiderlin thumped home after Lambert had headed down Jack Cork's deep cross.
Southampton started with a high tempo as they pressed their hosts back deep inside their own half and paid particular attention to Cabaye, who was driven further and further towards his own goal by the efforts of Steve Davis and Cork. Newcastle gradually forced their way into the game and might have been level with 15 minutes gone when Cisse set up Sissoko to fire a rasping shot across goal which may have been going just wide, but was too close for goalkeeper Artur Boric not to make sure.
Cisse probably could have equalised three minutes later when the hard-working Yoan Gouffran's shot fell nicely for him on the six-yard line, but as he span, he sliced his effort well wide. Central defender Steven Taylor saw a back-post header from a 21st-minute Cabaye corner deflected over by Maya Yoshida, but the momentum was very much with Newcastle.
They had to wait until 12 minutes before the break to restore parity. Cabaye was starting to find more space and when he played a ball down the line for Gouffran, the wide man twisted and turned his way past full-back Nathaniel Clyne to drill in a cross to which Sissoko applied the decisive touch.
With three minutes of the half remaining, Newcastle took the lead and this time it was goalkeeper Rob Elliot, making his Barclays Premier League debut, who was the provider. His clearance sailed over Sissoko as he challenged for it, but sat up nicely for Cisse. The Senegal forward has been going through a difficult spell recently, but his dipping volley seared over the helpless Boruc and went in off the underside of the crossbar to rekindle memories of his glorious 13-goal streak during the second half of last season.
Pardew lost captain Fabricio Coloccini to injury in stoppage time and sent on Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in his place, and the newcomer was under pressure within two minutes of the restart. His foul on Lambert allowed the striker to take aim at goal from the resulting free-kick, and Elliot had to dive full-stretch to his left to save.
Newcastle failed to heed the warning and were made to pay for it three minutes later when Adam Lallana was given time and space down the right and cross for Lambert to steer home the equaliser. The home side were fortunate not to fall behind within three minutes when Lambert climbed highest to meet another Lallana cross, but directed his header wide of the target.
Pardew's men were in some disarray and Elliot was relieved to see a 55th-minute effort from Lallana skid wide of the far post, but they gradually began to impose themselves once again, although without threatening Boruc's goal. However, they took the lead once again with 67 minutes played. Cabaye picked out Mathieu Debuchy with a fine ball over the top and the full-back's volleyed cross hit Danny Fox on the arm. Referee Chris Foy pointed to the spot and Cabaye stepped up to send Boruc the wrong way to make it 3-2.
Things got worse for the visitors and Fox in particular with 11 minutes remaining when the defender blasted Davide Santon's cross against Hooiveld and saw the ball fly past the helpless Boruc and into the net.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "When we went to [Aston] Villa, I said to the team, 'We have got 15 games to go, we have got to be in the top four in the last 15 games', and we are, probably.
"We have had three wins out of four in that period and that has set us up nicely for the run-in. That's the form we have got to maintain for the rest of the season. You look at the Premier League table and we have put ourselves in a position to attack 10th, and that was the importance of the victory today.
"It wasn't about anything else for me, and that's how I tried to get the players' mindset. I said to them afterwards, we should attack the top 10 now, and we can with this team. What a considerable difference to six weeks ago it has made, the players coming back from injury and the new players.
"It was a wonder-goal, an Alan Shearer-type moment, from Cisse. That's one of the goal that will certainly get into Papiss Cisse's top 10, that's for sure. As soon as he hit it, you sensed it was in. He has got that in him, Papiss, he can get all types of goals. But it was a really great one today, fantastic."
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino: "We are very sad about the result, especially taking into account how well we started. But especially after we got the first goal, we couldn't really control the game as we should have.
“We have to divide the game in two halves. In the first half we got on the scoresheet really quickly but from then on we struggled to manage the game. We weren't able to keep it going because Newcastle were pushing us well, although we did make some mistakes - particularly for their first goal.
"It was a very tough half, but we equalised in the second half with a very good goal. We were doing really well when we were pressing on to win the match but we conceded the penalty. After that, the fourth goal was really unfortunate."
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