By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At Villa Park
Aston Villa 1 (Benteke 49pen)
Newcastle United 2 (Cisse 19, Cabaye 31)
Newcastle United recorded their first away win of the season with a 2-1 victory at Aston Villa on Tuesday night.
First half goals from Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye earned the Magpies three huge Premier League points at Villa Park, although Christian Benteke's penalty for the hosts made matters far from straightforward.
Cisse broke the deadlock when he latched onto debutant Moussa Sissoko's pass and slotted home, before Cabaye's eye-catching long-range effort made it two before the break.
Villa threw caution to the wind in the second half and Benteke slotted home from the spot after Gabriel Agbonlahor was tripped. They desperately went in search of an equaliser but outstanding United defending kept them at bay.
The visitors made much the brighter, more confident start to proceedings and debutant Moussa Sissoko fired a warning shot in the sixth minute when he drove over the top from distance.
Jonas Gutierrez was next to try his luck, as the ball fell kindly to the Argentine inside the area, but his close-range effort was deflected behind for a corner by a last-gasp tackle.
At the other end, on 13 minutes, former Magpie Charles N'Zogbia released Christian Benteke inside the penalty area, but the striker's cut-back across the face of goal was brilliantly blocked by the chest of Fabricio Coloccini, sliding through the six-yard box.
United went straight back on the attack and left-back Davide Santon forced Brad Guzan into a smart stop with a bouncing effort from 25 yards.
And they were finally rewarded in the 19th minute when Cisse broke the deadlock in clinical fashion.
Referee Mike Dean played a good advantage in the middle of the park following a foul on Santon, and as the ball landed at Sissoko's feet the Frenchman slotted an inch-perfect pass through the Villa defence.
If Cisse's first and second touches were good, his third was even better, slipping a composed finish underneath Guzan at the Holte End.
The hosts attempted to hit back and N'Zogbia thumped a 25-yard half-volley against the post, with goalkeeper Tim Krul completely beaten.
But just past the half hour mark Cabaye's stunner doubled the visitors' lead.
Gutierrez's right-wing cross was headed out by Ron Vlaar but only as far as Cabaye, and the midfield maestro took a touch before sending a brilliant half-volley into the top corner and past the despairing dive of Guzan.
Villa made a double change at half-time, introducing Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann in place of Darren Bent and Joe Bennett.
And the switch almost paid dividends immediately as first Weimann and then Benteke forced Krul into action with a couple of dangerous efforts.
But they weren't to be denied for too long as the hosts were awarded a spot-kick on 48 minutes when Debuchy was adjudged to have clipped Agbonlahor's heels right on the edge of the box.
Benteke stepped up from 12 yards and calmly sent Krul the wrong way, dispatching his penalty into the bottom right-hand corner.
Villa were suddenly on top. N'Zogbia sent an effort into the side-netting before a combination of Krul and Gutierrez denied Weimann, who was found in acres of space inside the box from a crossfield ball.
With the game entering its final stages, Villa almost snatched a dramatic equaliser. A right-wing corner was headed goalwards by Nathan Baker, only to see his effort blocked on the line by Gutierrez, before Yanga-Mbiwa made an outstanding last-ditch tackle inside the six-yard box to prevent Ciaran Clark pulling the trigger on the loose ball.
And Newcastle were to hold on for a full five minutes of stoppage time, to pick up what could be three priceless points come the end of the season.
Aston Villa (3-5-2): Brad Guzan; Nathan Baker, Ron Vlaar (c), Ciaran Clark; Matthew Lowton, Ashley Westwood, Charles N'Zogbia, Barry Bannan, Joe Bennett (Andreas Weimann 46); Darren Bent (Gabriel Agbonlahor 46), Christian Benteke
Subs not used: Shay Given, Eric Lichaj, Jordan Bowery, Brett Holman, Stephen Ireland
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; James Perch (Shola Ameobi 69), Yohan Cabaye; Yoan Gouffran (Vurnon Anita 74), Moussa Sissoko (Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa 79) , Jonas Gutierrez; Papiss Cisse
Referee: Mike Dean (The Wirral)
Bookings: Aston Villa - N'Zogbia (42), Benteke (61), Baker (67), Lowton (76), Agbonlahor (78); Newcastle - Gutierrez (52), Shola Ameobi (87)