Newcastle United pulled off their biggest win of the season as they edged a thriller at home to Southampton. Goals from Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cisse, Yohan Cabaye and an own goal from Jos Hooiveld gave the Magpies a 4-2 win and put them six points above the relegation places.

Despite taking the lead after three minutes and pulling level at 2-2, Saints couldn’t build on their recent win over Manchester City and are still battling relegation after losing this afternoon.

The match was a must-win for both sides, with the winner easing their relegation worries no end and the loser bracing for a full-scale relegation scrap.

It was “French Day” at St James’ Park and a buoyant atmosphere was created by the 52,259 beret-adorning fans.
But it was not one of the recent arrivals for the home side that drew first blood. Instead, Morgan Schneiderlin – another Frenchman – swivelled on a Rickie Lambert knockdown and fired smartly past Rob Elliot – who’s first Premier League appearance couldn’t have started worse.

Newcastle responded well though and started to create a number of half-chances. They had a couple of handball shouts turned down by referee Chris Foy when Hooiveld may have been penalised, but the equaliser came from across the channel, as two Frenchmen combined to level for the Magpies.

Yoan Gouffran, back in the side after recovering from his shin injury sustained against Tottenham, ran into the box before bamboozling Jack Cork with step-overs and skill and firing a shot at Artur Boruc. The Polish goalkeeper managed to turn the effort away but Sissoko was on hand to tap home from close range, his second goal in as many games at St James’ Park.

Newcastle had never won a game after falling behind all season, so when Cisse struck a superb second nine minutes after the equaliser, hope of another unwanted record being banished became genuine.

Elliot’s long kick wasn’t met by Jonas Gutierrez or a visiting defender and after initially being offside, Cisse latched onto it and smashed a beautiful dipping volley over Boruc and under the crossbar to give Newcastle a 2-1 lead.

The home side started the second half as disappointingly as they did the first, as they conceded early again. This time Adam Lallana’s strong run down the right resulted in a good low cross, which Lambert swept home for his 100th Southampton goal.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side began to look threatening and could have taken the lead for the second time in the game when Lambert headed wide and Lallana also went close but it was to be Newcastle’s day.

The pivotal point came when Mathieu Debuchy’s attempted cross after a raking long pass from Cabaye struck Danny Fox’s hand and Foy pointed to the spot.

Cabaye stepped up and confidently sent Boruc the wrong way and the goal gave the capacity crowd the belief that their side could hold on to the advantage.

Southampton did have their chances though, most notably when Gaston Ramirez lifted his effort against the bar after his initial effort was turned away by Elliot.

But it was another defensive error from the visitors that ultimately settled the match, when Davide Santon’s strong run ended with a dangerous cross into the box. Fox’s attempted clearance back across goal wasn’t the best choice and Hooiveld could do nothing as the clearance smacked against him and into the net.

The win moves Newcastle up to 14th in the table and six points clear of the relegation zone. The Magpies are also above Sunderland now and ready to attack the top half of the table, with Capital One Cup champions Swansea up next for the resurgent Toon Army.