Hatem Ben Arfa

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Newcastle United 2 (Ba 35, Cisse 90+3)
West Bromwich Albion 1 (Lukaku 55)

SECOND HALF UPDATES

WHISTLE-MDC-icons 90+4mins: As Foy's whistle sounds for the last time, it's a big, if rather fortuitous, win for Newcastle. The Magpies were poor in the second half having led at half time through Demba Ba, and Romelu Lukaku had equalised for the Baggies. The visitors went on to shade the second period but Sammy Ameobi's injury-time strike which deflected off Papiss Cisse and into the net has given Alan Pardew's side all three points.

GOAL-MDC-icons 90+3mins - NEWCASTLE GOAL: They have barely deserved it but Newcastle have a goal which will surely prove to be the winner. Ben Arfa carried the ball goalwards only for Morrison to foul him, but the ball ran to Ameobi and referee Foy played a great advantage to allow the winger to strike for goal. His effort struck Cisse on the bak to completely wrongfoot Foster and drop into the net. Ameobi's shot may have been on target but it surely has to go down as Cisse's goal, even though Rob Byron on the tannoy awarded it to Ameobi.

90+2mins: Morrison crosses from the right and captain Olsson stretches at the far post but can only guide his shot into the side-netting.

90mins: Ben Arfa motors into space and lets fly from 20 yards but his effort is comfortably off target. There'll be three minutes added on.

SUB-MDC-icons 88mins: Zoltan Gera comes off for Goran Popov as the Baggies look to hang onto what they have.

86mins: Obertan dribbles into the box and drives over a cross but as he tries to head home, Cisse succeeds only in diverting the ball away from goal. Santon retrieves and crosses in but his delivery is just missed by Coloccini, who arrived at the far post but couldn't get a toe to it.

85mins: A Baggies throw-in is worked to Morrison on the edge of the box, but the boyhood Newcastle fan's shot goes well wide.

83mins: Gabriel Tamas' dangerous cross is almost met by Rosenberg, who comes sliding in, but he just can't get the all-important touch.

80mins: Santon does superbly on the right to squeeze the ball through to Obertan near the byline and the Frenchman sends over a cross, but it evades everybody.

78mins: A vital challenge from Mike Williamson saves Newcastle after Morrison had slid sub Rosenberg in to send a low cross in for Long. However, United fail to clear their lines and Long is presented with an opportunity moments later, but nudges his close-range effort from Odemwingie's cross straight at Krul.

Yellow-Card-MDC-icons 77mins: Gutierrez becomes the third home player to be booked. He sees yellow for a lunge on Mulumbu near the halfway line.

75mins: Gera's wicked left-wing corner is headed wide by McAuley, who had got in front of his marker and probably should have scored.

SUB-MDC-icons 73mins: Newcastle are forced to make a third and final change - Sammy Ameobi, so lively in midweek, replaces Ba after the striker picked up a knock. Can Ameobi inject some life into United, who have been poor since the interval?

SUB-MDC-icons 72mins: Steve Clarke makes his second substitution as Graham Dorrans makes way for Markus Rosenberg.

Yellow-Card-MDC-icons 69mins: A late sliding tackle on Long from Yohan Cabaye earns the Frenchman a yellow card, meaning both of United's central midfielders are now in the book.

SUB-MDC-icons 65mins: Now the away side make a change. The good news is Lukaku is off; the bad news is that Shane Long, who has caused no end of trouble for Newcastle over the last couple of seasons, is on in his place.

SUB-MDC-icons 61mins: An interesting double substitution from Alan Pardew - Papiss Cisse is on in place of Danny Simpson while Gabriel Obertan replaces Shola Ameobi. Gutierrez goes to left-back with Santon moving to the right and Obertan - who scored against Club Brugge in midweek - playing left-wing.

GOAL-MDC-icons 55mins - WEST BROM GOAL (1-1): West Brom have started the half well and now have a goal to show for it. Gera does well on the left to dig out an inviting cross for the big frontman Lukaku, who can't miss from six yards out and heads past Krul to level matters. Even in the form he's been in today, the Dutch stopper could do nothing to keep that out.

Yellow-Card-MDC-icons 52mins: Now the visitors lead 2-1 in the card count after Liam Ridgewell is booked for ploughing into Ba from behind. The defender ran away from Foy but the referee rightly called him back to face his punishment.

Yellow-Card-MDC-icons 50mins: Mulumbu is booked for a foul on Gutierrez meaning Chris Foy has now cautioned a player from each side.

48mins: Lukaka, denied twice by Krul in the first half, finally beats the Dutch keeper -  but is flagged offside after diverting Mulumbu's low cross-shot home from four yards out. He was only fractionally offside, but it was the correct decision.

WHISTLE-MDC-icons 46mins: The second half starts with no changes and Newcastle now kicking towards the Gallowgate end.

FIRST HALF UPDATES

WHISTLE-MDC-icons 45+1mins: It's half-time and Newcastle lead thanks to Demba Ba's seventh goal of the season. West Brom look a decent outfit, particularly on the break, but United just about deserve to be in front despite relying on Tim Krul to make two top saves from Romelu Lukaku.

45mins: There will be just one minute of stoppage time.

Yellow-Card-MDC-icons 44mins: James Perch is yellow carded for what Chris Foy deems to be a trip on James Morrison. The Darlington-born Scottish international was in full flight - although not really going anywhere - as he went down but Ba heads the resulting free-kick away from danger.

43mins: A 20-yard drive from Peter Odemwingie hits the side netting, although Krul was never worried and watched it whistle past his post as soon as it left the striker's boot.

40mins: Another crucial save from Krul to deny Lukaku. Mulumbu threaded a wonderful pass through to the big Belgian, who was one-on-one, but the keeper stood tall to keep the Baggies at bay for a second time this afternoon. Today's attendance, by the way, is 49,731 including 1,400 visitors.

GOAL-MDC-icons 35mins - NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-0): A route-one goal gives Newcastle the lead. Krul launched the ball downfield, Ameobi won a big header and Gareth McAuley failed to deal with the ball as Ba spun in, stretched out a leg and half-volleyed past Foster, who got a hand to his strike but couldn't prevent it from nestling in the net. There's been some neat football on show today which has yielded little - that was as direct as it comes and led to a goal.

31mins: Brilliant skill from Ben Arfa on the left sees him scamper down the left, leaving Youssouf Mulumbu trailing in his wake, before producing a great cut-back which finds Ameobi at the far post, 16 yards out. The striker could have taken a touch but went for a first time effort and blazed it over the bar, much to the fans' frustration.

29mins: James Perch was penalised for a foul on Dorrans right on the egde of the area and Zoltan Gera stepped up to take the free-kick from a glorious position. However, the Hungarian's effort was curled well over the bar and into the Gallowgate seats.

25mins: End-to-end drama as Cabaye's left-wing corner, aimed towards Williamson, falls to Ameobi whose shot is blocked allowing the Baggies to break. It was three against three as Graham Dorrans slid the ball to Romelu Lukaku inside the box, but Tim Krul throws up a hand as he dives to his left to make an excellent and hugely important save and keep the score at 0-0.

20mins: As a Newcastle free-kick is half-cleared, the man who won it - Davide Santon - strikes for goal from 25 yards and forces Ben Foster into a good parry which comes at the expense of a corner. From the set-piece, Shola Ameobi rises highest but sends his header too close to the keeper.

16mins: Appeals for a Newcastle penalty as Ba claims Jonas Olsson climbed over him to win a header, but it would have been a harsh one for Chris Foy to award and he decided against doing so.

12mins: Demba Ba misses a great chance to put the ball in the net as Shola Ameobi does well on the right before delivering a perfect cross for the Senegalese striker, who dives in but heads wide much to the relief of Ben Forster in the Baggies goal.

11mins: After some decent approach work from the Magpies, Hatem Ben Arfa sees a shot from outside the box blocked before Yohan Cabaye goes for goal from the rebound but drags his effort wide. 

8mins: It's been a quiet start, with no chances for either team although both sides are playing nice football and they look to engineer a first opportunity of the match.

WHISTLE-MDC-icons 1min: Using the yellow ball which come with the changing of the clocks, we're underway at St. James' Park with Newcastle in their black and white home kit (available to buy here) and the Baggies in all red. It's the club's designated One Game, One Community and each player from both sides proudly wore t-shirts celebrating that fact during the warm-up, while a plane flew over the ground with the message: 'St. James' Park is back from wonga.com'. It looks like a near full house as the visitors take kick-off, with United kicking towards the Leazes end in the first half.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson (Papiss Cisse 61), Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Hatem Ben Arfa, James Perch, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez; Shola Ameobi (Gabriel Obertan 61), Demba Ba (Sammy Ameobi 73)

Subs not used: Steve Harper, Shane Ferguson, Steven Taylor, Vurnon Anita

West Bromwich Albion (4-2-3-1): Ben Foster; Gabriel Tamas, Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Liam Ridgewell; Youssouf Mulumbu, James Morrison; Peter Odemwingie, Zoltan Gera (Goran Popov 88), Graham Dorrans (Markus Rosenberg 72); Romelu Lukaku (Shane Long 65)

Subs not used: Luke Daniels, Gonzalo Jara Reyes, Yassine El Ghanassy, Marc-Antoine Fortune

Referee: Chris Foy

Attendance: 49,731