By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 1 (Remy 90)
Aston Villa 0
Loic Remy's injury-time goal fired Newcastle United back to winning ways as they triumphed 1-0 over Aston Villa at St. James' Park.
The French forward struck his 12th goal of the campaign with only seconds of the Barclays Premier League fixture remaining, to give the Magpies their first three-point haul since mid-January.
United just about deserved the result having created the better chances against a Villa side who were always dangerous on the break.
But it was front duo Papiss Cisse and Remy who had the two best chances of the afternoon - both missing late in each half with the goal gaping.
It looked as though those missed opportunities would prove costly, but with time ticking away Remy kept his composure inside the box to earn maximum points for the Magpies.
Remy was back in the starting line-up following a three-game ban, and within two minutes the Magpies' leading scorer showed he had not lost any sharpness during his suspension, forcing Brad Guzan into a smart stop from a 20-yard drive.
United were doing all the early pressing and Remy's strike partner, Cisse, was next to try his luck, superbly controlling Paul Dummett's crossfield pass before sending a low, curled strike goalwards which Guzan spilled and was hacked clear.
For all the hosts' dominance in the opening exchanges, Villa had two great chances to break the deadlock on 17 minutes.
First, Andreas Weimann's intelligent pass picked out Karim El Ahmadi, who drilled an inviting low cross right through the six-yard box, and then as Newcastle failed to clear their lines, El Ahmadi delivered into the same area once more, without the killer touch.
That seemed to spark the visitors into life and when Gabriel Agbonlahor had time to control and pick his spot from 12 yards, only strong hands from Tim Krul kept out the front man's shot.
Agbonlahor then fired narrowly over from distance, before Krul was called into action again to pluck Leandro Bacuna's free-kick out of the top corner.
A tactical reshuffle saw United get to grips with the visitors' three-man central midfield, and they soon began to cancel out the Villa threat.
With two minutes remaining, Remy struck a free-kick narrowly wide, having been hauled down by Ron Vlaar just outside the area, before Cisse spurned an outstanding opening right on the stroke of half-time.
Remy beat the offside trap to latch onto Sissoko's through ball, and his cut-back found Cisse six-yards out with the goal at his mercy. However, the Senegalese front man could only fire his first-time shot well over the top.
Yoan Gouffran had the first chance of the second half, dragging a shot inches the wrong side of the upright after a tidy build-up involving Remy and Cisse.
Left-back Dummett was next to try his luck just past the hour mark. Having played a one-two with Moussa Sissoko on the edge of the area, the Academy graduate picked his spot, with his curled effort agonisingly missing the top corner with Guzan beaten.
United had the bit between their teeth and Gouffran blazed a half-volley over from inside the area before Cheick Tiote drove straight at Guzan.
On 72 minutes, Luuk de Jong was introduced, replacing Cisse, and the Dutchman immediately set about making himself a nuisance to the Villa defence.
And de Jong almost forced a winner for Newcastle with time running out. The January signing robbed Ron Vlaar right on the byline before squaring to Remy.
The French forward just had to tap into the empty net, with Guzan having been drawn to his near post, but Remy somehow sidefooted against the foot of the upright with the goal gaping.
That miss looked as though it would prove costly, but deep into three minutes of stoppage time, Remy made amends, latching on to a deflected de Jong shot, before turning his markers inside out and firing powerfully home to send St. James' Park wild.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Paul Dummett; Moussa Sissoko, Cheick Tiote (Dan Gosling 89), Vurnon Anita, Yoan Gouffran; Papiss Cisse (Luuk de Jong 72), Loic Remy
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Brad Guzan; Leandro Bacuna, Ron Vlaar, Nathan Baker, Ryan Bertrand (Joe Bennett 76); Ashley Westwood (Yacouba Sylla 60), Fabian Delph, Karim El Ahmadi; Gabriel Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke, Andreas Weimann
Subs not used: Jed Steer, Ciaran Clark, Marc Albrighton, Aleksandar Tonev, Grant Holt
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)
Bookings: Newcastle - Tiote (69), Remy (90); Aston Villa - Vlaar (43), El Ahmadi (70)
Attendance: 50,417 (2,000 Aston Villa)