By Chief Sports Writer, Marley Anderson

Newcastle United’s shocking run of form continued this afternoon as Swansea City recorded a rare away victory at the expense of a desperately poor Magpies’ side. Goals from Michu and Danny Graham put the Swans 2-0 up and emptied St James’ Park prematurely, before a late consolation from Demba Ba reduced the deficit.

The Toon Army will be scratching their heads as to what has changed since last season, with their top players not finding the cutting edge to dispose of seemingly inferior opponents. Despite Ba’s latest strike, the home side were nowhere near good enough to cause the type of problems that made the locals believe they were going to get their season kick started.

With Papiss Cisse left out of the squad as an ongoing row between Newcastle and Senegal continued, Demba Ba’s chief support was made up of Sammy Ameobi and Hatem Ben Arfa. The latter was his usual tricky self as he tried to unlock the Swansea defence, but this week there was no end product as the Geordies ran out of firepower.

Newcastle started brightly and Swansea adopted their usual counter-attacking style as the game fell into a pattern of home attacks followed by away breakaways. Spanish star Michu – a massive hit since his £2m arrival from Spain in the summer – tested Tim Krul after 15 minutes with a stinging effort. Itay Shechter then had a one on one with the Dutch keeper but was thwarted as Krul stood tall.

Ben Arfa responded to the danger at his own end by immediately testing Swansea’s stand-in keeper Gerhard Tremmel on two occasions. First, the French midfielder twisted neatly inside the box before firing into the side netting before firing a fierce shot a few minutes later, only for Tremmel to turn it away.

With little more goalmouth action in the remainder of the first half, Alan Pardew responded by throwing on Nigeria international Shola Ameobi at the beginning of the second. Now with both Ameobi’s on the pitch, they combined to tee up Vurnon Anita, but the Dutchman couldn’t find the target with a long range shot.

Pablo Hernandez was a threat on the counter for Swansea and almost beat Krul from outside the area, but the deadlock was to be broken minutes later. A simple back pass from Mike Williamson was shanked by Krul and fell to Hernandez, who made his way down the wing before crossing for Michu to head home.

The Welsh side continued to push forward in search of a clinching goal and almost had it when Michu failed to connect cleanly with Hernandez’s latest cross.

Michael Laudrup’s side were made to wait until the 87th minute for their second goal, when Jonathan De Guzman followed up Newcastle fan Danny Graham’s saved shot.

Ba’s 90th minute strike was probably the most pointless one he will score all season, as there was a diminished crowd left to see it. De Guzman’s strike sparked a chorus of boos around St James’ Park and the realisation that their season could be amounting to nothing if they don’t start improving significantly.

The defeat leaves Newcastle in 12th place in the table and looking over their shoulders to protect their position, rather than ahead of them towards the European places. With a seemingly nice run of fixtures over the next few weeks it seemed like they could kick on and produce something of the form they enjoyed last season, although after today’s result it could be harder than many a Geordie thought.

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  1. West Lancs Geordie

    Headline says it all but we are paying for lack of ambition in the summer. MA should have shelled out for Douglas , Debuchy and at least one more quality playmaker & forward. Need a clear out of the mediocre & simply not good enough : Williamson, Gosling, Obertan, Marvaux, Amalafiliano & Perch & replace with quality or it's going to be a long hard season. The decent players like Yohan, Check, Colo, Tim & Benny want to win things as much as the fans but we are in grave danger of losing them unless we start winning & restore the passion to our play.

  2. chris

    seemingly inferior opposition…

    really! or are you just being bitter?

    never mind,thanks for being so rubbish!


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