By Chief Sports Writer, Marley Anderson

In one of the most misleading score lines you’ll see all season, Manchester City’s killer instinct extended Newcastle’s poor run of results as the champions ran out 3-1 winners at St James’ Park. First half goals from Sergio Aguero and Javi Garcia threatened to make it a miserable afternoon for the faithful Toon Army but a fantastic second half performance will leave the locals relatively pleased.

When Demba Ba scored his 11th goal of the season just after half time, Newcastle dominated and had City on the rack for the whole of the second period, only for Yaya Toure to break black and white hearts with a third goal with 15 minutes left.

The home side have been awful in recent weeks but have started to show glimpses of the quality they have at their disposal and today they were excellent but desperately unlucky. Numerous times Joe Hart was called into action and the champions looked likely to concede, only for the break of the ball or some last ditch defending to keep Newcastle behind.

Not known for their fast starts, Newcastle had City in trouble on a number of occasions in the early stages. Quick to settle into their rhythm, the home side forced a corner and Cheick Tiote’s delivery was met with a smart volley by Papiss Cisse, only for Hart to get down and save well.

More half-chances followed, with Mike Williamson causing problems for City inside their box and Ba being thwarted again by Hart. However with nine minutes gone and the visitors creating their first decent spell of possession, Aguero pounced.

Yaya Toure produced a fantastic defence-splitting pass for Samir Nasri to collect and with Tim Krul rushing to close the angle, the Frenchman squared for Aguero to tap home an undeserving opener. It was a vivid reminder of the visitors’ quality after Newcastle had spent the first minutes trying a more direct route in search of the opener.

The goal settled City down and soon they began to produce their finest football of the season so far, with the speed and subtlety of their attacks causing all kinds of problems for Newcastle’s defence. The orchestrator was David Silva, whose vision and passing accuracy was central to everything good about City’s attacks, while Nasri was also on top form with his movement in the wider areas.

The pair almost had a second for City too, when Silva found Nasri on the blind side of the home defence, only for the post to deny the Frenchman. The rebound fell to Aguero and his simple finish into an empty net was only stopped by a wonderful diving block from Williamson.

Williamson was quickly becoming a major player in the game, as he then had two efforts repelled by Hart. First, his looping header was saved before a sharp volley found the target, only for Hart to again deny him.

However, it was City who grabbed the next goal. Silva’s corner was met by Javi Garcia and his header was about to be cleared off the line by Davide Santon, only for Aguero to obscure the Italian’s vision and ensure the former Inter Milan full back could only help it into his own goal.

Going into the second half 2-0 down isn’t the best situation for any side, but Newcastle dominated from the off, penning City inside their own half for most of the half and bossing possession.

Santon – eager to make up for his hashed goal line clearance earlier, cut inside from the left wing and fired a shot into the side netting, just after Ba had a header fly just over the bar.

However, five minutes into the second half the Geordies got their deserved goal. Anita’s corner wasn’t cleared and Fabricio Coloccini hooked back into the area where Ba was unmarked and headed past Hart to give Newcastle hope.
Two minutes later, Papiss Cisse had what turned out to be the best chance Newcastle created to equalise. Anita and James Perch combined brilliantly before finding the out-of-form Senegal striker, who turned nicely before firing narrowly over.

As Alan Pardew tried to force a second equaliser, Sylvain Marveaux and Shola Ameobi were introduced for Tiote and Cisse, but it was the visitors who bagged the goal to kill Newcastle off. Pablo Zabaleta found space on the left after some typically slick passing and pulled back for Yaya Toure to prod home and continue his fine record of scoring against Newcastle.

The goal took the wind out of the home side and they had nothing left, allowing City to bounce back from last week’s derby defeat by taking all three points at St James’ Park. The defeat for Newcastle leaves them two points above the drop zone and still in trouble but on the basis of this performance, the form is surely about to turn round.

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  1. SREXR

    It looked an easy victory to me. Newcastle have some key players missing, don't support their CF enough, and the defence doesn't keep track or get close enough to their man. They may well continue to struggle on this showing. I see good spirit by sides every week, often when they are losing and the other team have eased off. It's not enough.

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