LOIC Remy eased the pressure on Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew – by firing the club to victory over Cardiff City.
Remy struck two first-half goals at the Cardiff City Stadium this afternoon to give the Magopies a deserved 2-1 win.
Peter Odemwingie pulled one back for Cardiff after the break, but the newly-promoted club couldn’t conjure up an equaliser.
Pardew went into the game under intense pressure after successive Premier League defeats.
And he took the bold decision to drop Hatem Ben Arfa and Vurnon Anita before the game. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa also dropped to the bench, while Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Demba Cisse and Mike Williamson returned to the starting XI.
After an early scare – Fraizer Campbell couldn’t take advantage of a mix-up between Fabricio Coloccini and Tim Krul – United took control of the game.
Cisse couldn’t take advantage of two early chances, and David Marshall in the Cardiff goal stopped efforts from Remy and Moussa Sissoko.
Newcastle’s breakthrough came in the 30th minute. Remy broke up the left wing, cut inside and squeezed the ball between Marshall and his post with a right-footed shot from 25 yards.
Eight minutes later it was 2-0. Cabaye found Cisse with a superb pass, and Remy was reacted first after the striker’s shot was parried by Marshall.
Cabaye struck the post direct from a free kick before the break, and United looked in total control at the interval.
However, Cardiff, managed by Pardew’s close friend Malky Mackay, fought back strongly after the break, and Odemwingie gave the home fans hope with a strike in the 58th minute.
Newcastle spent much of the second half on the back foot, and Pardew replaced Remy with fit-again Jonas Gutierrez in the 71st minute.
Former United striker Craig Bellamy forced a save out of Tim Krul after replacing Campbell, and Cisse missed an opportunity at the other end of the pitch.
Newcastle should have had a late penalty after Andrew Taylor handled in the box, but referee Kevin Friend waved play on.
And two goals turned out to be enough to claim a vital three points for United – and Pardew – ahead of the international break.
CARDIFF CITY: Marshall; Taylor, Caulker, Turner, Theophile-Catherine; Medel, Whittingham, Kim (Mutch, 46), Gunnarsson, Odemwingie (Maynard, 81); Campbell (Bellamy, 66). Subs not used: Lewis; Hudson, Noone, Cowie.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Cabaye (Ben Arfa, 86), Tiote, Sissoko; Remy (Gutierrez, 71), Cisse, Gouffran. Subs not used: Elliot, Yanga-Mbiwa, Dummett, Anita, Sammy Ameobi.
Goals: Remy 30, 38, Odemwingie 58
Bookings: Gunnarsson 90
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)