NEWCASTLE United moved up to eighth in the Premier League table after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Norwich City this afternoon.
First-half goals from Loic Remy and Yoan Gouffran at St James’s Park ensured Alan Pardew’s side won their third successive game.
However, Chris Hughton’s Norwich team – who rallied after the break and pulled a goal back through Leroy Fer – made them work hard for the points.
The result saw United go level with sixth-placed Manchester United – who play Cardiff City tomorrow – in the league table.
Newcastle – led by recalled captain Fabricio Coloccini – got off to the perfect start.
Yohan Cabaye floated in a second-minute corner which was missed by everybody except Remy, who headed it home at the far post for his eighth goal of the season.
It was the first goal United had scored from a corner since October 2011, when Demba Ba met a Cabaye flag kick to score in a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.
A spirited Norwich fought back, and the ball was eventually hacked clear after Ryan Bennett’s pull-back wreaked havoc in the six-year box.
Moussa Sissoko dragged a shot wide at the other end in the 31st minute as Newcastle pressed for a second goal, and their second breakthrough wasn’t long in coming.
Sissoko delivered a cross from the right in the 38th minute which was met by Shola Ameobi, whose head was spilled by goalkeeper John Ruddy.
Gouffran was there to tap in the loose ball to put United in a commanding position at the break.
Norwich lost Anthony Pilkington to injury early in the second half – he was replaced by Johan Elmander – and Pardew made his first change in the 68th minute, when he took off Cabaye.
Pardew sent on Vurnon Anita, and Papiss Cisse followed the midfielder on to the pitch, the striker replacing Ameobi, who was given a standing ovation by fans after a powerful performance up front alongside Remy.
Norwich probed away looking for a goal, but they found clearcut chances hard to come by.
However, their enterprise was finally rewarded in the 79th minute when Fer powerfully met a Nathan Redmond corner to halve the deficit and ensure a nervous finale at St James’s Park.
Pardew threw on Hatem Ben Arfa for the last eight minutes in an attempt to take the pressure off his back four.
Norwich pressed for an equaliser in the dying minutes, but Newcastle held on to claim all three points.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon; Sissoko, Cabaye (Anita, 68), Tiote, Gouffran (Ben Arfa, 83); Shola Ameobi (Cisse, 74), Remy. Subs not used: Elliot, Haidara, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi.
NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Martin, Turner, R Bennett, Olsson; Johnson (Hoolahan, 89), Fer, Howson; Redmond (Murphy, 89), Pilkington (Elmander, 49), Hooper. Subs not used: Nash, Whittaker, Bassong, Becchio.
Goals: Remy 2, Gouffran 38
Booking: Bennett 90
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)