Loic Remy scored an injury-time winner to end Newcastle’s dreadful home run, as they edged out Aston Villa 1-0 in an uninspiring affair at St James’ Park.

Remy’s winner came after a frustrating afternoon on Tyneside, in which the home side had wasted numerous clear chances to end their run of not scoring in seven of their last eight games.

The win may ease the pressure on Alan Pardew, who had been feeling the heat ahead of the game after seeing his side fail to score since Boxing Day and lose their last four home games.

Pardew made changes to his side in an attempt to change his team’s fortunes, with Papiss Cisse getting a recall to the side as he partnered the returning Loic Remy up front. Cheick Tiote returned to midfield, while Fabricio Coloccini came back into a defence that had conceded 15 goals in the seven games he had missed.

Coloccini’s influence certainly boosted Newcastle, who didn’t look as shaky as they had when Tottenham smashed four goals past them 11 days ago. But the problems continued up front, as the Geordies failed to find any real rhythm in the first half.

Instead it was Villa who looked more likely to break the deadlock in the first 45 minutes, but lacked the final pass in the Newcastle half. Twice, crosses flew across the box dangerously, with no visiting striker waiting for a tap-in.

To the watching crowd, the break would have been a welcome distraction from the drab affair being played in front of them. That feeling multiplied tenfold when Cisse somehow missed a chance to score his first goal from open play in 22 games.

A long punt upfield landed at the feet of Moussa Sissoko, who split the Villa defence with a perfectly timed pass for Remy. Instead of cutting inside and shooting, the Frenchman unselfishly laid a pass back for Cisse, who inexplicably spooned his shot over the bar.

Villa faded in the second period, choosing to try and exploit Newcastle on the counter attack. On occasion, the tactic nearly worked. The visitors broke away and had a three on three at the back, only for Mike Williamson to pull off a brilliant interception to deny Christian Benteke.

Newcastle struggled to create clear cut chances at the other end but did have a number of free kicks in promising positions. With chief free-kick taker Yohan Cabaye now departed, Remy and Yoan Gouffran tried their luck, only to see their efforts amount to nothing.

Rather surprisingly, the closest Newcastle came to scoring in the second period was through left-back Paul Dummett. The youngster has one goal to his name this season – against Liverpool at St James’ Park – and went close with a curling effort that just evaded Brad Guzan’s crossbar.

The match looked to be heading for a stalemate until a frantic last 20 minutes seen Newcastle go close time after time. Luuk De Jong was thrown on in place of Cisse and was central to creating the chance that may have haunted Remy if he had not scored minutes later.

De Jong robbed fellow Dutchman Ron Vlaar inside the Villa penalty area and with Guzan out of his goal, found Remy with a cutback. The goal was gaping but Remy’s left footed effort struck the post and the groans around St James’ Park reached deafening level.

However, there was a late twist in the tale and Remy was not to be denied his goal on his return to the first-team after suspension. De Jong had a shot blocked and the rebound landed at the feet of the on-loan striker, who turned and fired a superb effort past Guzan and sparked jubilant scenes at St James’ Park.

The goal was the first Newcastle had scored in seven hours and 40 minutes and it could not have come at a better time for Alan Pardew and his squad.