By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 1 (Ba 90)
Swansea City 2 (Michu 58, De Guzman 87)
Newcastle United suffered their second home defeat in a week as they went down 2-1 to Swansea City at St. James' Park on Saturday.
Second half goals from Michu and Jonathan De Guzman condemned the Magpies to defeat in an open game which could have gone either way.
Michu nodded in Pablo Hernandez's cross after United failed to take advantage of a spell of good pressure, and then with time ticking away De Guzman netted a loose ball to earn the visitors maximum points.
Newcastle went close through Demba Ba, Hatem Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi and Vurnon Anita, but were unable to penetrate a stubborn Swansea defence until deep into stoppage time when Ba headed home a consolation.
The opening chance of the game came on six minutes and went the way of the visitors.
Some neat interplay in the middle of the park set Nathan Dyer clear behind the Magpies' defence, but centre-back Mike Williamson recovered well to close down the winger and put him under sufficient pressure that Dyer's eventual shot was scuffed wide.
Both sides looked bright in possession but it was the Swans who continued to create the better chances, with Pablo Hernandez firing straight at Tim Krul from distance, before United went straight up the other end and Sammy Ameobi blazed over from a similar distance.
Hatem Ben Arfa has been one of Newcastle brightest players this season and almost lit up St. James' Park in the 13th minute as he cut in off the right flank, turned fyull-back Ben Davies inside out and sent a strike goalwards which rippled the sidenetting rather than the back of the net.
Krul was called into action again minutes later, however, diving full stretch to his left to parry away a strike from Swans top scorer Michu, who had pulled the trigger from 20 yards.
But the chances were coming at either end. On 27 minutes again Ben Arfa was involved, lofting a long ball into the area and right onto the head of Ba who, stretching, could only glance inches wide of the upright.
The French international took matters into his own hands soon after, again tricking his way past Davies down the right before curling a strike toward the far corner which was clawed away by a brilliant Gerhard Tremmel save.
Swansea hit back and Itay Shechter latched onto a long ball but Krul raced off his line to block at the feet of the Israeli international striker, before Michu snuck into the area unmarked to nod over the top.
It almost had an immediate impact as, within five minutes of the restart, the Ameobi brothers had combined to tee up Vurnon Anita on the edge of the area, but the midfielder's rising drive flew narrowly over.
All the early second half pressure was Newcastle's and they should have broken through on 52 minutes when Ba connected with Sammy Ameobi's low, wayward shot, yet somehow steered it wide.
He hit the target seconds later, however, but fired straight at Tremmel from 15 yards.
And United were almost made to pay in the 55th minute as Swansea broke at pace but Shechter - unmarked and in a great position - managed to blaze over, and Krul denied Hernandez with a fine stop.
Newcastle had failed to heed their warnings and were breached in the 58th minute as the visitors took the lead through Michu's seventh goal of the season.
A sloppy kick from Krul was seized upon by Hernandez, and he duly picked his fellow Spaniard with a pinpoint delivery that Michu nodded down into the floor and past the keeper.
Newcastle's response came through a Ba header which Tremmel did well to gather, while Ben Arfa nearly conjured up an equaliser when he picked up the ball inside his own half and waltzed past a handful of Swansea challenges.
The opening stages of it were reminiscent of the forward's wonder goal against Bolton last season, but this time he got into the box and fed Shola Ameobi, whose cross was scrambled clear.
Michu could - and probably should - have doubled the visitors' advantage in the 76th minute. Substitute Wayne Routledge switched play from left to right with a delightful first time ball and when Hernandez pulled back into the path of Michu, the goalscorer scuffed his shot wide.
With time ticking away Shola Ameobi stung the palms of Tremmel from 20 yards, but the hosts were struggling to break down a well-organised Swansea rearguard.
And the visitors took advantage with three minutes remaining, putting the result beyond any doubt with a blistering break.
Former Watford star Danny Graham forced a fine save from Tim Krul, but De Guzman was quickest to the loose ball and rammed home from the tightest of angles.
Newcastle got themselves on the scoresheet deep into stoppage time through top scorer Ba - his eighth of the season.
Substitute Sylvain Marveaux slammed a close range strike against underside of the crossbar, and when it bounced up, Ba was on hand to nod in.
But it was too little too late as the Magpies slipped to another disappointing defeat.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson (Gael Bigirimana 74), Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor (c), Davide Santon; Hatem Ben Arfa, Cheick Tiote, Vurnon Anita, Shane Ferguson (Shola Ameobi 46); Sammy Ameobi (Sylvain Marveaux 80) Demba Ba
Swansea City (4-4-2): Gerhard Tremmel; Angel Rangel, Garry Monk (c), Ashley Williams, Ben Davies; Nathan Dyer (Wayne Routledge 62), Jonathan De Guzman, Leon Britton, Pablo Hernandez; Itay Shechter (Kemy Agustien 66), Michu (Danny Graham 82)
Subs not used: David Cornell, Chico Flores, Dwight Tiendalli, Luke Moore
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
Bookings: Newcastle - Santon (73); Swansea - Shechter (9), Britton (26), Rangel (66)
Attendance: 49,403 (1,000 Swansea)