By Chief Sports Writer, Marley Anderson

Another dire performance from Newcastle United ensured another of Alan Pardew’s former sides, Southampton, claimed maximum points with a comfortable 2-0 win at St Mary’s. Goals from Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez gave Nigel Adkins’ side a simple victory in which they were never under pressure from an injury hit – but still seemingly capable – Newcastle side.

Playmaking pair Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye were missing for the visitors as well as Fabricio Coloccini, which meant the Geordies were without too many attacking ideas whilst having a soft core which Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson struggled to cover.

In truth, Newcastle never threatened throughout the course of the 90 minutes and were always second best to a side expected to be in a season-long relegation fight. The talent of Saints’ attacking trio of Ramirez, Lallana and Rickie Lambert had the home side ahead from the off and Newcastle had no answer.

One usual reliant performer in black and white – Tim Krul – is even going through a lack of form. Last week, his poor kick led to Swansea’s opening goal and this week another poor kick led to Lallana’s deadlock breaker.

The Dutch keeper’s shoddy clearance led to former Toon target Nathaniel Clyne having an audacious dig at goal which was headed away into the path of Ramirez by Williamson. Krul tried to narrow the angle before the midfielder could get a shot away, but Ramirez tapped square for Lallana to tap home and give Southampton the lead.

Before the opener, Krul had been tested by a pair of decent free-kicks. First, Uruguayan Ramirez forced the keeper into a smart save before Lambert cracked a stunning effort off the crossbar with Krul rooted to his spot.

The best chance Newcastle had came in the second half when Demba Ba released unlikely hero Vurnon Anita, who fluffed his lines when one on one with Paolo Gazzaniga.

The miss was instantly punished as Saints went down the other end and wrapped the game up. Lallana’s back heel inside the box found Jason Puncheon and his low cross was spilled by Krul, allowing Ramirez to fire home and give the home side an unassailable lead.

They could have had two more too had it not been for the Geordie woodwork. Puncheon smacked a low effort off the base of the post before Jose Fonte was denied by the crossbar, leaving Newcastle grateful for just the two conceded
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The visitors did have one more chance though, when Danny Simpson’s cross was met by Davide Santon’s powerful header, but Gazzaniga was able to keep it out at his near post. In all honesty, Newcastle didn’t deserve a goal from their performance and Alan Pardew has some serious work to do on the training ground over the course of the next week.

Newcastle’s best efforts this afternoon came from two defenders, which highlights the lack of creative threat they have going forward without the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye. Pardew must now be regretting his reluctance to spend in the summer transfer window as his squad is stretched to breaking point and struggles to pick up any points against teams that are likely to finish in the lower reaches of the Premier League table.

Credit must be given to Southampton though, as Adkins’ side were far superior this afternoon. Gaston Ramirez was always likely to be a steal when he arrived in the summer and Newcastle could do with a player of his attacking menace to fill in when their top players are missing. The win leaves Southampton clear of the drop zone whilst Newcastle fall rapidly towards it.