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Premier League

  • October 18, 2014
  • • 23:00
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 51886

Newcastle 1-0 Leicester City: Obertan eases pressure on struggling Pardew

Newcastle 1-0 Leicester City: Obertan eases pressure on struggling Pardew

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The former Manchester United man struck the only goal of the game late in the second half to give the beleaguered Magpies boss his first win of the 2014-15 season

Newcastle eased the pressure on manager Alan Pardew after Gabriel Obertan's goal earned the struggling Magpies their first Premier League win of the season against Leicester City on Saturday.

The Frenchman hit home in the 71st minute to give Newcastle victory at the eighth time of asking and cap an unconventional day at St James' Park.

By Graeme Bailey

Whilst the international break did little for St James' Park itself as work on their scoreboard meant a delay to the kick-off for an hour, it clearly impacted on Alan Pardew and his men.

Under-pressure Pardew will have wondered if it was going to be one of those days when, just after the hour mark, Papiss Cisse produced his candidate for miss of the season as he fired into the side netting after taking the ball past Kasper Schmeichel.

But the hero of the day was Gabriel Obertan, who has been brought in from the cold by Pardew in recent weeks. He was full of running and it was unsurprising he was the match-winner, as he led a counter attack and broke inside to the edge of the box, before firing low past the impressive Schmeichel.

Leicester had their moments, though, with Marc Albrighton hitting the bar in the first-half whilst Matt James and Danny Drinkwater were both denied by the ever reliable Tim Krul.

At the end on of a longer day than usual that could have been disastrous for Newcastle - with the game looking unlikely to go ahead at one stage - they finished on a high with their opening three points of the season and a scoreboard not unlike their season to date - working but still not looking too pretty.
Kick-off on Tyneside was delayed by an hour due to issues with the newly installed big screen at St James' Park, with engineers scaling the stadium walls to fix the issue and ensure the game went ahead.

Once the game did get under way Newcastle enjoyed the better of the proceedings, though a lack of composure in front of goal looked likely to cost them - with their profligacy typified by Papiss Cisse missing an open goal.

But Obertan ensured Cisse's miss was not punished by netting his first goal since October 2012.

A first maximum haul of 2014-15 moves Newcastle within a point of the teams immediately above the drop zone - including neighbours Sunderland after their 8-0 mauling at Southampton earlier in the day.

The pre-match drama continued as Cheick Tiote was injured in the warm-up and replaced by Vurnon Anita, supplementing Pardew's only other change which saw Steven Taylor replace Mike Williamson in defence.

Newcastle settled better after the bizarre events leading up to kick-off and Fabricio Coloccini curled a seventh-minute effort narrowly wide.

Matty James returned to the midfield along with Esteban Cambiasso in two of Leicester's three changes and the former Manchester United man wasted an opportunity to punish some slack Newcastle defending as he shot straight at Tim Krul.

For all Newcastle's dominating possession, they were perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty in the 28th minute when Daryl Janmaat appeared to illegally impede Leonardo Ulloa as the Argentine forward sought to get on the end of a dangerous cross in the area.

Leicester began to get a foothold in the game in the latter stages of the first half, with only the woodwork denying them the opener in the 38th minute when Marc Albrighton's cross-cum-shot struck Krul's left-hand post.

Pardew's side emerged with renewed confidence after the half-time interval, Moussa Sissoko seeing an effort deflected wide before Cisse could only find the side-netting from a tight angle after rounding Kasper Schmeichel.

Jack Colback saw a fierce free-kick turned over the bar by Schmeichel but Obertan's moment of magic finally put the hosts into a deserved lead.

The winger cut in from the left and avoided three Leicester challenges before unleashing a superb low shot out of Schmeichel's reach to his right.

An end-to-end finish saw each side come close but Newcastle ultimately hung on and the habitual ill-feeling at the final whistle of Newcastle games was finally lifted as Pardew celebrated success.