Newcastle 1 Norwich 0 match report: Demba Ba scores winner

Newcastle 1 Norwich 0: Ba's chirping again as unsettled star delivers against Canaries

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UPDATED:

16:23 GMT, 23 September 2012

Demba Ba allowed his feet to do the talking as his fourth goal of the season fired Newcastle to a narrow victory over Norwich.

On a day when strike-partner Papiss Cisse's fortune took a turn for the worse when he squandered a penalty chance, Ba produced a finish worthy of Hatem Ben Arfa's slide-rule pass to claim just a second Barclays Premier League victory of the season.

Ben Arfa found himself on the wrong end of assistant manager John Carver's tongue after allowing Cisse to take the spot-kick in first-half injury-time, and it took a fine 47th-minute save by Steve Harper to deny Andrew Surman an equaliser and former Newcastle boss Chris Hughton a point on his return to Tyneside.

On target: Demba Ba scores for Newcastle with 19 minutes gone

On target: Demba Ba scores for Newcastle with 19 minutes gone

Match facts

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The home side were once again not at
their fluent best in front of a frustrated crowd of 49,402 despite
making seven changes to the side which played in the Europa League in
midweek, and Cheick Tiote's return as a late substitute represented a
welcome boost.

Alan Pardew's side were guilty of
once again starting slowly as Norwich arrived determined not to allow
them to have it all their own way.

Sealed with a kiss: The Newcastle striker celebrates after scoring his third goal in six days

Sealed with a kiss: The Newcastle striker celebrates after scoring his third goal in six days

Hughton was, as expected, given a
warm reception by fans who saw him drag their club back into the Premier
League in the wake of relegation, and there was a similarly friendly,
if less intentional, welcome on the pitch.

City might have been ahead within
five minutes had Wes Hoolahan not headed straight at defender Steven
Taylor after full-back Javier Garrido had played a one-two with Surman
on the left and crossed.

Off target: Cisse missed from the spot shortly before the interval

Off target: Cisse missed from the spot shortly before the interval

The outlet provided by Surman and
Garrido down that side prompted Pardew for the second time in a week to
switch right-back James Perch and midfielder Vurnon Anita, and although
that stemmed the tide to a degree, Robert Snodgrass was also prospering
down the right to keep the Magpies' defence on their toes throughout.

But as the game wore on, the home
side found their feet as an attacking force and with Ben Arfa causing
all kinds of problems for Garrido and Davide Santon repeatedly
stretching Russell Martin, they began to create chances.

In the stands: Pardew is serving a two-game touchline ban

In the stands: Pardew is serving a two-game touchline ban

Everybody loves Chris: Hughton was given a warm reception by the home supporters

Everybody loves Chris: Hughton was given a warm reception by the home supporters

They might have taken the lead with
19 minutes gone had Cisse made a meaningful connecting with Yohan
Cabaye's free-kick at the near post with Perch seeing his effort from
the rebound blocked.

However, they were in front seconds
later after Ben Arfa produced a moment of sheer class. The Frenchman cut
inside from the left before sliding the perfect pass into the path of
Ba, who calmly slotted past the advancing John Ruddy.

Leap of faith: Newcastle were some way short of their fluent best

Leap of faith: Newcastle were some way short of their fluent best

But to their credit, Norwich refused
to fold and Mike Williamson had to be in the right place at the right
time to clear Snodgrass' header off the line following good work by
Hoolahan.

Cisse passed up another good
opportunity 13 minutes before the break when he missed his kick from
Santon's near-post cross, and Cabaye smashed the loose ball just wide,
while Ba failed to make the most of more brilliance from Ben Arfa when
he miscontrolled his pass in front of goal after the winger had
embarrassed Surman.

On the ball: Ba is adamant he should be a permanent fixture in Pardew's starting line-up

On the ball: Ba is adamant he should be a permanent fixture in Pardew's starting line-up

But the Magpies should have extended
their lead in first-half injury-time when, after striker Steve Morison
had barged into Williamson inside the Norwich penalty area, referee Neil
Swarbrick pointed to the spot.

Ben Arfa, who struck from 12 yards
during the opening day victory over Tottenham, immediately grabbed the
ball, but was persuaded to hand it over to Cisse, whose need for a goal
was plain for all to see.

But the Senegal international skied
his effort high over the bar, in the process earning Ben Arfa a tirade
from Carver with Pardew sitting high in the stands as he served out his
touchline ban.

Carver's wrath might have been
incurred once again within two minutes of the restart when Hoolahan
turned the ball perfectly into Surman's path to put him through on goal.
Harper was quickly off his line and the 37-year-old got down superbly
to make a vital block as the midfielder attempted to lift a shot over
him with the outside of his left foot.

Newcastle were struggling to find
their rhythm once again, and Jonas Gutierrez had to get a block on a
53rd-minute Snodgrass effort with Santon clearing Morison's header at
the far post from the resulting corner.

Ben Arfa prompted a fine diving save
by Ruddy three minutes later as the Magpies stepped up a gear with
Taylor and Cabaye going close in quick succession.

Williamson headed a Cabaye corner
straight at Ruddy five minutes later and the keeper claimed Ba's weak
83rd-minute effort as Newcastle negotiated their way nervously, but
safely, to the final whistle, although substitute Gabriel Obertan was
left nursing the after-effects of a robust challenge from Michael
Turner.