City continue their rise up the table after hard-fought victory...Manchester City just did enough to beat a well organized Newcastle United side 2-1 at Eastlands as Roberto Mancini's side continue their march up the Premier League table to close the gap to one point behind league leaders Chelsea.
A Carlos Tevez penalty gave City the lead but the Magpies levelled through an excellent Jonas Guitierrez strike to go into the break on level terms. The second half the Citizens introduction of Adam Johnson was enough to change the game as the England international struck on the 75th minute to save Mancini's blushes.
The injury to Pablo Zabaleta in the Europa League tie with Juventus meant Joleon Lescott was drafted into defence. That was the only change in the Citizens' starting line-up as David Silva was preferred again in support of Carlos Tevez as the lone striker.
Newcastle named an unchanged side to the one that was beaten at Stoke aside from the ommission of young England hopeful Andy Carroll. Danny Guthrie and Danny Simpson remained absent through injury.
Mancini's side immediately put pressure on the visitors, winning a succession of corners that ultimately failed to test Tim Krul in goal.
James Milner was the first player to have a shot with the Citizens dominating play in the final third, his 25 yard thunderbolt being blocked by Fabricio Coloccini as it screamed towards the far post.
And things took a bad turn for Hughton's men early when livewire Hatem Ben Arfa had to be taken off injured and replaced by Wayne Routledge.
City didn't have to wait long for their pressure to pay off as a Tevez dart into the box was halted unfairly by Mike Williamson and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot.
The Argentinian himself stepped up to take it and made no mistake, firing past Krul right-footed to give the home side a deserved lead.
Hughton's side had to show some response having been camped in their own half until the 17th minute opener, and Jonas Gutierrez tried to kick-start his side into life by carrying the ball up the field with good link up play with Cheick Tiote.
The Argentine won a free kick to the right of goal and the ball was spread out wide to his compatriot Coloccini, who produced a stinging 25-yard effort that Joe Hart had to beat away.
And it was one of the Argentine's who would give the Magpie's a suprise route back into the game by finding an equaliser.
James Perch sent the ball into the box from a free-kick and the ball found the feet of Gutierrez who was lurking in the box. The 27-year-old took one touch a produced an excellent finish past Hart into the top right corner to level proceedings and silence the home crowd.
Silva then nearly forced his side back into the lead minutes after the restart with an excellent curling cross to the near post which Williamson just about intercepted with Tevez lurking dangerously behind the defender.
And then Hughton suffered another injury set-back as Coloccini had to be taken off and replaced by Sol Campbell.
But Newcastle were sensibly sitting back not wanting to make the same mistakes that were made as they started the match and were looking solid in defence.
Their game plan seemed to frustrate the Citizens and a Shoela Ameobi shot from distance as the half wound to a close reminded the home side of the threat they can pose on the counter.
The second half and it was Newcastle again who threatened first, City were racking up points in possession but the visitors were making good use of opportunities on the counter.
Ameobi made good use of too much space afforded to him down the right flank, Routledge released the forward who made a dangerous charge into the box and was only halted at the last by a desperate Kolo Toure sliding tackle.
Then City finally linked up well to get behind the Newcastle back-line. Good link-up play involving Milner, Silva and Tevez resulted in the ball being moved to the right of the box where the Argentine had space to power a shot at Krul who pushed the ball away.
Mancini's men were now looking more dangerous as Yaya Toure was brought off to accomodate Emmanuel Adebayor.
The Togolese almost made an immediate impact after he was slid into the box by Silva and made a dangerous run to the byline but couldn't quite keep the ball in play as Tevez waited for the pass across the goalmouth.
City's next best chance arrived from the Argentina international as he expertly chested down a high ball from Vincent Kompany and jinked past Campbell into the box but his attempted back-heel to Silva had too much weight on it and the chance went begging.
As the game approached the final quarter Mancini was looking desperately for his side to find an equaliser so the Italian made another attacking shift, bringing on Adam Johnson for Gareth Barry.
And what an impact the young England international made within five minutes of coming onto the pitch.
Receiving the ball to the right of goal, Johnson showed magic footwork to jink past two defenders and work an angle to shoot with the ball on his left foot.
This he did, and an excellent curling shot into the far post left Krul with no chance and gave City the breakthrough they were desperate for.
But Newcastle could and perhaps should have drawn level after they had a strong penalty claim denied by the officials.
Ameobi charged into the box and seemed to be hauled down by Lescott but the referee waived protests away despite the defender being nowhere near the ball.
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