Chris Hughton’s return to Newcastle did not go as planned this afternoon, as Demba Ba’s goal ensured the Magpies sent Norwich City towards the root of the Premier League table. Papiss Cisse also missed a penalty as the Geordies failed to fill their boots against a poor Canaries side but Alan Pardew will be pleased with his sides’ efforts.

The margin of victory could and should have been more for Newcastle, as Hatem Ben Arfa ripped through the visitors’ defence on multiple occasions, only for the final touch to be lacking. Cisse had chances to open his account for the season too, although the former Freiburg man simply doesn’t look like scoring at the minute.

It’s a strange situation for the Senegal twosome, with the pair’s form being turned on its head since the end of last season, when it was Cisse who couldn’t miss when given the chance. However, now it is Ba who is finding the net with regularity, surely to the delight of his agent, who will be stirring the pot come January once again.

Ba’s goal came at the end of a lovely move by Newcastle, starting with Steve Harper who found the irrepressible Ben Arfa. The Frenchman carried the ball for some distance before finding a superb pass for Ba, who controlled easily before slotting past John Ruddy. It could be said that the strike came against the run of play, as Norwich looked to end their goal-shy nature but couldn’t find a way through the Newcastle defence.

If Newcastle had been in more ruthless scoring form, then they could have had any amount of goals this afternoon. The clearest opportunity undoubtedly came from the penalty spot when Mike Williamson was fouled by Steve Morison. Ba or Ben Arfa are the usual spot-kick takers, although as a show of confidence, Cisse was the man who put the ball down in an attempt to end his drought. However, instead of finding the back of the net like he would have last season, he blazed his effort way over the bar and was left scratching his head as to what happened to his confidence.

As Norwich looked for a way back into the game, Javier Garrido looked the man most likely to conjour something up for the visiting side. His efforts set up both Robert Snodgrass and Wes Hoolahan, but neither could test Harper in the Newcastle goal.

The only work the Geordie veteran had to do was when Andrew Surman broke through the back line and faced the 37-year old one on one. The keeper triumphed though and one got the sense that Norwich were going to struggle to add to their measly goal tally of two this season.

Newcastle wasted two more late chances as Ba was denied by Ruddy and later substitute Gabriel Obertan also couldn’t find a way past the England keeper, but the one-goal cushion was enough against toothless opposition.
The win moves Newcastle up to 10th in the table, while Norwich slip closer to the relegation places. On this performance, it could be a long season for the Canaries, and Chris Hughton might be fighting for his second promotion to the Premier League in 12 months time.

By Chief Sports Writer, Marley Anderson