By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 4 (Sissoko 33, Cisse 42, Cabaye 67pen, Hooiveld og 79)
Southampton 2 (Schneiderlin 3, Lambert 50)
Newcastle United picked up three crucial Premier League points on Sunday afternoon with a 4-2 victory over Southampton at St. James' Park.
A topsy-turvy game saw the Magpies fall behind early on to Morgan Schneiderlin's strike, but they soon imposed themselves on the clash, with Moussa Sissoko netting his third goal in just four Premier League appearances from close range.
Just before half-time Papiss Cisse netted a Goal of the Season contender, finding the back of the net with a stunning 30-yard, dipping half-volley - his eighth goal of the campaign.
Saints hit back afrer the restart and Rickie Lambert produced a fine finish to level things up, only for a Yohan Cabaye penalty and an own goal from visiting centre-back Jos Hooiveld to ensure a full-house on Tyneside went home happy.
United were celebrating French Day in homage to their players from across the Channel, but it was in fact a Gallic midfielder from the visitors who broke the deadlock with less than three minutes on the clock.
Jack Cork's driven diagonal cross from right to left was headed back into the dangerzone by Lambert, and Schneiderlin was on hand to thump a half-volley home past Premier League debutant Rob Elliot at his near post.
United's immediate response came courtesy of an off-target Fabricio Coloccini volley, after Saints failed to properly clear a corner.
And they went even closer on 15 minutes when Sissoko let fly with a low 25-yard effort that Polish stopper Artur Boruc had to tip behind to safety.
The hosts should have been level soon after when Mathieu Debuchy raced clear down the right and found Yoan Gouffran in space near the penalty spot. Although the January signing shanked his shot, it fell kindly to the feet of Cisse, but he swivelled and stabbed wide from close range.
And finally, just past the half-hour mark, the Magpies grabbed a deserved equaliser. A superb pass from Cabaye released Gouffran down the left flank and he drove into the box, tricking his way past Cork before striking a low effort goalwards from a very tight angle.
His shot hit the legs of goalkeeper Boruc, and Sissoko was in the right place at the right time to tap into the empty net from a couple of yards and restore parity.
Newcastle were firmly in control by this point but it looked as though the sides would go into half-time level pegging.
However, Cisse had other ideas as he bagged an absolute screamer in the 42nd minute. Elliot's long punt forward was challenged for - and missed - by Luke Shaw and Jonas Gutierrez, and as the loose ball bounced up 30 yards out, Cisse hit a stunning dipping half-volley over Boruc, sending a packed St. James' Park into delirium.
Saints almost started the second half as they had the first - with a goal - but the hosts were indebted to Elliot for keeping their lead in tact.
Lambert stepped up to take a free-kick, curling it over the wall and sending it towards the back of the net, only for ex-Charlton stopper Elliot to spring full-length to his left and make a fine, one-handed save,
However, Lambert was not be be denied again, as the big striker made it 2-2 just five minutes after the restart.
Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana combined down the right, with the latter's low delivery being swept home by Lambert, despite the attentions of Steven Taylor.
Almost immediately the pair combined again, but this time Lambert headed Lallana's chipped delivery inches wide, giving United a real let-off.
Newcastle had offered little going forward in the second period but a moment of inspiration from Cabaye on 66 minutes edged them back in front.
The Frenchman's quickly-taken free-kick picked out fellow countryman Mathieu Debuchy at the far post, with his volleyed cross striking the raised arm of Southampton substitute Danny Fox.
Referee Chris Foy had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot, and Cabaye stepped up at the Gallowgate End to send Boruc the wrong way with a clinical finish.
The result was put beyond any doubt with 11 minutes remaining as United grabbed their fourth of the afternoon, albeit in fortuitous circumstances.
Davide Santon's left-wing cross was cut out by Fox, but he only succeeded in clearing the ball into the face of teammate Hooiveld from point-blank range, and seeing it fly into their own net.
That took the wind out of the Saints' sails and Newcastle were comfortable for the closing stages as they recorded what could be a key victory come the end of the Premier League season.
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Rob Elliot; Mathieu Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c) (Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa 45), Davide Santon; Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye (James Perch 77); Yoan Gouffran (Vurnon Anita 88), Moussa Sissoko, Jonas Gutierrez; Papiss Cisse
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Artur Boruc; Nathaniel Clyne, Maya Yoshida, Jos Hooiveld, Luke Shaw (Danny Fox 57); Morgan Schneiderlin, Jack Cork; Jay Rodriguez (Jason Puncheon 81), Steven Davis (Gaston Ramirez 65), Adam Lallana (c); Rickie Lambert
Subs not used: Kelvin Davis, Jose Fonte, Emmanuel Mayuka, James Ward-Prowse
Referee: Chris Foy (Lancashire)
Bookings: Newcastle - none; Southampton - Rodriguez (25), Shaw (41), Yoshida (74)
Attendance: 52,259 (1,653 Southampton)