The city of Newcastle has yet another number 9 hero. Milburn, Macdonald, Ferdinand and Shearer have all shone in the famous black and white jersey, but Papiss Demba Cisse is the new Geordie idol, as he struck a sensational winner on his debut to see off the challenge of Aston Villa.

Cisse and fellow Senegalese striker Demba Ba both returned from African Nations Cup duty and both made an instant impact, despite the former Freiburg man starting the afternoon warming the bench.

Leon Best was preferred up front with Ba, but after the Ireland international suffered an innocuous looking knee injury, it was an early introduction for Cisse and a chance to shine on a chilly afternoon on Tyneside.

Newcastle started brightly and despite missing their first-choice centre midfield partnership of Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye, they acquitted themselves well in the middle of the park, with James Perch arguably turning in his most impressive performance since joining from Nottingham Forest.

Best’s injury, occurring when he tried a shot from the edge of the box, could have dented the home side’s confidence in the opening stages, but instead it only made them stronger as Cisse readied himself for early action.

You could feel a sense of intrigue and excitement around St James’ Park when the new number 9 strode onto the pitch and he nearly sent the 48,000 fans into raptures when he connected with Ryan Taylor’s cross, but former Toon ‘keeper Shay Given made a comfortable save.

Villa didn’t have many moments of excitement in the first period, with Fabricio Coloccini expertly marshalling the movement of the isolated Darren Bent with ease.

With all the expectation around Cisse, it was a tried and tested striker that made the breakthrough for Newcastle on the half hour mark. Danny Guthrie’s cross from the right was almost turned in by Taylor, whose shot rebounded off Steven Warnock into the path of Ba. The 15-goal striker controlled and slotted home with ease to get his 16th of the campaign, and abolish any doubts over any jetlag that may have stopped him playing.

In the build up to the goal, Ryan Taylor’s attempted shot resulted in a painful-looking leg injury and after a lengthy delay, the former Wigan man was stretchered off, complete with his leg in a brace and oxygen being applied. Gabriel Obertan took his place.

Villa attempted to get an equaliser but failed to produce any real opportunities, the closest they came was when Stephen Ireland dragged the result of a neat set-piece wide of Tim Krul’s far post. Former Newcastle winger Charles N’Zogbia was largely wasteful, much to the delight of the baiting Toon Army.

However, with six minutes of stoppage time being added on by referee Mark Halsey, the visitors had time to hit back against the run of play, when N’Zogbia produced a rare bit of quality to get a yard on Danny Simpson, before finding Robbie Keane, who applied a simple finish. Keane had been by far Aston Villa’s best player, despite only arriving a short time ago from LA Galaxy.

After half-time, Newcastle started to reassert their dominance and put Villa’s shaky defence under pressure some more, as the visitors made no mistake to hide their intentions to hang on to a point.

Emile Heskey was brought on to try and nick a winner for Villa, although the withdrawal of N’Zogbia will have only pleased the Newcastle bench.

It was another striker who was looking more likely to score though, with Cisse regularly finding good positions in the box, but failing to test Given seriously. His clearest opportunity came when he met a cross from the left with a free header, but could only balloon his effort way wide of goal.

He could have been forgiven for thinking his golden chance had gone. He was wrong.

With 20 minutes to go, the magic happened. Jonas Gutierrez’s surging run down the left ended with a cross that looked to have gone behind everyone, although Cisse had other ideas. Holding his run to control the cross with his chest, he instantly smashed a stunning left foot half-volley arrowing into Given’s top corner. Former Newcastle hero Given had been beaten by the new one.

The goal took all the wind out of the Villa sails and Alex McLeish’s men didn’t look too interested in chasing the draw, although they did go close through Ciaran Clark’s long-range effort. Their best chance though came when Gary Gardner didn’t connect with a cross cleanly and Emile Heskey was closer to kicking Krul’s head into the back of the net, rather than the ball.

The win moves Newcastle into 5th in the table, level on points with Chelsea, whilst Villa languish in 13th.

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  1. hotmagsjohn

    good win well deserved ba and cissie combined well bring on the unwashed scum

  2. Bobvillan

    What a totally biased report. We should have had 3 first half. One attempt you score. 2nd half we were on the back foot first 20 kept giving you the ball back and you just kept lumping into the box early at every opportunity, one clear header and one shot wide. Then as scripted debut boy lashes one in the top corner, wont score another all season. Then all villa if it wasnt for krul you would have lost lucky break from bannans ball bobbled into kruls arms. Give teams where credits due, game changed when ireland went off. I admit when tiote and cabaye back the two up front will be a handful, but dont try and make this something magical against a poor villa team

  3. Mukesh

    Is Aston Villa really mnkaig this mistake?I’m a Liverpool supporter but belive me you are just giving money for a player based on a few good preeformances for his national team, most in friendlys.His preformances in the HNS, Croatian League have been average if you take in to a consideration his goalscoring record and the club he plays in.Eduardo da Silva, Arsenal player, was scoring 30 or 40 goals playing for Dinamo Zagreb and he is not even close to that.


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