Newcastle 1 - 0 Norwich: Ba earns narrow win but Cisse’s woes mount
Demba Ba allowed his feet to do the talking as his fourth goal of the season fired Newcastle to a narrow victory over Norwich.
On a day when strike partner Papiss Cisse’s fortunes took a turn for the worse when he missed a penalty, Ba produced a quality finish to claim the Toon’s second league victory of the season.
Hatem Ben Arfa, who set up Ba with a slide-rule pass, found himself on the wrong end of Newcastle assistant manager John Carver’s tongue after allowing Cisse to take the spot-kick in first-half injury time.
The home side were once again not at their fluent best in front of a frustrated crowd of 49,402 despite making seven changes to the side which played in the Europa League in midweek, and it took a fine 47th-minute save by Steve Harper to deny Andrew Surman an equaliser and former Newcastle boss Chris Hughton a point on his return to Tyneside.
Alan Pardew’s side were guilty of once again starting slowly as Norwich arrived determined not to allow them to have it all their own way. Hughton was, as expected, given a warm reception by fans who saw him drag their club back into the Premier League in the wake of relegation.
Robert Snodgrass prospered down the right for City but as the game wore on, Ben Arfa caused all kinds of problems for the Canaries’ defence.
And, after 19 minutes, the Frenchman cut inside from the left before sliding the perfect pass into the path of Ba, who calmly slotted past John Ruddy.
The Magpies should have extended their lead with the spot-kick. Ben Arfa, who struck from 12 yards during the opening day victory over Tottenham, immediately grabbed the ball, but was persuaded to hand it over to Cisse, whose need for a goal is obvious. But the Senegal international skied his effort.
Two minutes after the restart Wes Hoolahan put Surman through but Harper was quickly off his line and the 37-year-old got down superbly to save.
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