Papiss Cisse’s first goal since April helped to ease Newcastle into the Capital One Cup fourth round at the expense of Leeds – and earned a home tie against Manchester City.
Cisse’s drought finally ended 31 minutes into a pulsating encounter when he powered a header past goalkeeper Paddy Kenny to end a run stretching back to the 1-1 Europa League draw with Benfica on April 11.
But the tie remained in the balance until deep into the second half when strike-partner Yoan Gouffran blasted home to wrap up a 2-0 win over the Sky Bet Championship side.
Leeds gave as good as they got for long periods with powerhouse frontman Matt Smith causing all kinds of problems for defenders Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson - and the visitors were only denied an early lead by the crossbar after Tim Krul saw Ross McCormack’s delicate effort sail over him.
But ultimately it was Newcastle’s finishing which won the day to the delight of a crowd of 36,220, who united to chant the name of Gary Speed 11 minutes into the game.
Both goals were created by midfielder Sammy Ameobi as he made the most of the opportunity afforded to him by manager Alan Pardew.
It was his inch-perfect cross which handed Cisse a regulation chance to score by the standards of is early form on Tyneside, and his pass from which Gouffran turned his man and fired home with 67 minutes gone.
Pardew had demanded a significant improvement on Saturday’s performance against Hull when despite twice taking the lead, the Magpies lost 3-2 and in the process passed up a golden opportunity to win three successive Barclays Premier League games.
He nevertheless made six changes to the side which started against the Tigers, two of them handing chances to youngsters Paul Dummett and Ameobi, and his new-look side found themselves engaged in a full-blooded cup-tie from the off.
However, Pardew will have been delighted with the way they stuck to their task to finally see off Leeds and deny Brian McDermott, the man he gave his chance in the game at Reading, a Premier League scalp.