Today’s trip to South Wales provided another game of two halves for the travelling Toon fans. Newcastle came flying out of the blocks in the first half unlike Monday night’s performance at Everton. Loic Remy struck twice in the first half to put Newcastle in a commanding position, but Geordie fans will know it’s never easy and a tense second half followed.

Prior to the match, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was a man under pressure and his team selection to face Cardiff was bold. The midweek rumours were true and Pardew handed Mike Williamson a shock return to the starting XI in place of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. Pardew also decided to start without Hatem Ben Arfa and Vurnon Anita much to the surprise of Newcastle fans, Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse came in to take their place.

Cabaye’s return was a welcome one and the French midfielder was influential in most of Newcastle’s attacking play. He followed up his goal at Everton with an excellent performance, his excellent range of passing there for us all to see.

Newcastle’s defence was under the microscope at Cardiff today after a shambolic display at Goodison Park, but little was asked of them during the first half as a number of flowing attacking moves saw Newcastle dominate for much of the first period.

At the other end, Cardiff keeper David Marshall was busy and made two impressive saves to deny Newcastle the lead. After saving Remy’s effort he tipped Sissoko’s powerful drive from range over the bar.

Newcastle kept probing and on the half hour mark they finally find a way past Marshall with a terrific solo effort from Remy who continued to impress in black and white. He drove inside from the left and fired low into the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the area to give Newcastle a deserved lead.

Remy then netted his fifth goal for the Magpies in as many appearances to doubles Newcastle’s lead. Marshall blocked Cisse’s effort but Remy followed up and beautifully curled into the far corner with the rebound.

Cabaye came mightily close to making it three just before the interval. An audacious long range free-kick from the right hand side caught Marshall out, but was denied by the post.
The second half was a different story and Newcastle sat back and invited a lot of pressure from the hosts.

A mistake from Williamson let Cardiff back into the game. Williamson miskicked the ball on the halfway line and Cardiff capitalised, Aron Gunnarson seized on the loose ball and picked Jordan Mutch out. Mutch’s deft first time ball found Peter Odemwingie who turned Fabricio Coloccini inside out before sliding past Tim Krul.

The remainder of the second half was nervy for Newcastle fans and Alan Pardew was forced to withdraw performer of the day Remy – who was on a hat-trick. Jonas Gutierrez replaced him.

Newcastle had strong appeals for a penalty and a chance to put the game beyond doubt turned down by referee Kevin Friend after Andrew Taylor handled on the edge of the six-yard box.  The travelling Geordie’s had been calling for Ben Arfa throughout the second half and they finally got their wish with five minutes to go when the Frenchman replaced Cabaye – who had put in an excellent shift.

Former Toon striker Craig Bellamy came on for Cardiff, but failed to haunt the Magpies on this occasion.  Newcastle kept the ball well in the latter stages of the game with Ben Arfa looking sharp during his late cameo. There was also a much improved performance from Cheick Tiote who looked solid throughout the afternoon.

Pardew’s selection gamble paid off and the Magpies were able to record their second away win of the season to ease the pressure on Pardew heading into the international break.

After the international break, Newcastle face Liverpool at St James’ Park. Liverpool boast the most dangerous strike force in the Premier League at the moment and Coloccini and co will have to be on top form if they are to stop the modern day ‘SAS’.

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