Newcastle get their first win
19 October 2014, 08:13
Newcastle - Gabriel Obertan's first goal for almost two years has eased the pressure on manager Alan Pardew as Newcastle avoided their worst-ever start to a Premier League season thanks to a 1-0 victory over Leicester City at St James' Park on Saturday.
The north-east club remained in the bottom three, but are only a point from safety as 53-year-old Pardew celebrated his 700th game in management with a much-needed win, their first in the league this season.
Obertan rounded off a length of the pitch move in the 71st minute sparked by Jack Colback, continued by Moussa Sissoko and sealed by the Frenchman's first goal since October 2012 as the former Manchester United midfielder found the bottom corner from 18 yards to seal only a fifth league win this calendar year for the hosts.
It looked like being another frustrating afternoon for Pardew as Papiss Cisse spurned a clear opening shortly before Obertan's telling strike.
The Senegal forward fired into the side-netting after latching onto a poor Paul Konchesky backpass to round keeper Kasper Schmeichel before running out of angle.
Leicester hit the woodwork before the break in a display that merited a point, but they were unable to respond to Obertan's goal despite throwing on attacking substitutes Jamie Vardy and David Nugent early in the second half.
Kick-off was delayed by an hour to allow time to repair wind damage to dressing panels surrounding the newly-installed 60 square-metre LED big screen at St James' Park.
The problem was eventually solved, but it proved to be another testing episode for Martin Atkinson. The referee's previous game, between Serbia and Albania, is the subject of an on-going UEFA investigation after the Yorkshire-based official had to abandon the Euro 2016 qualifier in Belgrade when a brawl broke out between the players.
Newcastle's preparations were further disrupted as they lost Cheick Tiote to an accidental blow to the head in the warm-up, the Ivory Coast midfielder replaced in the starting line-up by Vurnon Anita.
It failed to prevent the Magpies from making a bright start, although it was Leicester who twice came closest to breaking the deadlock in a scoreless first-half.
Fabricio Coloccini was guilty of the worst miss for the hosts inside the opening 10 minutes, side-footing wide from 12 yards after the pace of Obertan caught the visitors on the break, with Sissoko providing an inviting cut-back for the un-marked skipper to roll his shot badly off-target.
Newcastle's Welsh international defender Paul Dummett forced a good save from Schmeichel with a long-range shot, but the Foxes ended the half strongly and ought to have gone into the break ahead.
Leonardo Ulloa held-off Colback on the edge of the box to put Matty James through, only for the midfielder to scuff his tame effort straight into the welcoming arms of Tim Krul.
Newcastle's Dutch keeper was then fortunate when he misjudged Marc Albrighton's in-swinging cross, the swirling centre hitting the angle of post and bar before bouncing to safety.
Colback and Dummett both came close to putting Newcastle ahead after the break but the hosts were indebted to Krul's fine block to deny James and keep their lead intact as Leicester pushed for a late leveller.