By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 0
Leicester City 3 (Vardy 45, Ulloa 62, Okazaki 83)
Newcastle United suffered a 3-0 defeat at home against Leicester City in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.
Goals from Jamie Vardy, Leonardo Ulloa and substitute Shinji Okazaki secured all three points for the high-flying Foxes at St. James' Park, and it was no less than they deserved for a dominant performance on a disappointing afternoon where United never got going.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between in the first period but Vardy pounced right on the stroke of half-time to net in a record-equalling tenth successive top flight game - his 13th goal of the season.
That knocked the stuffing out of the Magpies and when big front man Ulloa headed home completely unmarked just past the hour mark, City were well in control.
Okazaki completed the scoring with time ticking away, bundling home the rebound after Rob Elliot saved well from Danny Simpson, and it meant a first home defeat in league action since the middle of September for Steve McClaren's side.
Much of the focus leading up to the game was around Vardy, who was aiming to equal Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of scoring in ten successive Barclays Premier League games, and he almost did just that in the seventh minute.
Leicester had made a bright start, and when United failed to clear their lines from one of a succession of crosses which were flung into the box in the opening exchanges, a loose ball landed at the feet of Vardy.
The England international was around eight yards out and pulled the trigger, only for Aleksandar Mitrovic to throw himself in front of the shot and make an outstanding - and crucial - block.
Newcastle were dealt a blow in the 19th minute when Cheick Tiote limped off, having pulled up shortly before when stretching to make a tackle, and was replaced by summer signing Florian Thauvin.
With the half-hour mark approaching, Thauvin whipped in a couple of outstanding corners - the first saw Robert Huth hack behind from almost on his own goalline, before Kasper Schmeichel claimed the second under pressure.
The Magpies were starting to impose themselves on proceedings but with half-time approaching, Leicester provided a reminder of their threat in the final third.
It was a rapid counter-attack which started with goalkeeper Schmeichel and involved Riyad Mahrez, before Vardy was found in space inside the area. The angle was tight but he still got his shot on target, however found Rob Elliot in his way, with United's stopper using his legs to divert the ball behind.
And just as it looked as if the teams would go in level at the break, Vardy pounced.
When the ball reached him wide on the left, there appeared little on. But the former Fleetwood man exchanged passes with Leonardo Ulloa, cut inside Chancel Mbemba and planted an unstoppable strike past Elliot at his near post.
Buoyed by that goal, the Foxes came flying out of the traps at the start of the second period, and almost doubled their advantage.
It was that man Vardy again, latching on to a Mahrez through ball, shrugging off the attentions of Mbemba and thumping a rising drive past Elliot but against the crossbar.
On 62 minutes it was 2-0, however. Mahrez was given plenty of time and space to twist and turn out on the right before delivering a cross onto the head of Ulloa at the far post.
The Argentine striker had the freedom of the penalty area, with no Newcastle player within five yards of him, and he made no mistake by nodding powerfully home.
As the hosts attempted to claw their way back into the contest, Papiss Cisse was summoned from the substitutes' bench, and he threatened briefly in the 68th minute, finding a yard of space to get a shot away but seeing it blocked by a combination of Danny Simpson and Wes Morgan.
Thauvin then saw a strike deflected over the top before, from the resulting corner, Danny Drinkwater hacked Georginio Wijnaldum's header off the line.
But City put the result beyond any doubt with time ticking away as substitute Okazaki bagged their third of the afternoon with time ticking away.
Former Magpies defender Simpson made his way into the penalty area but saw his shot well saved by Elliot. However, as the ball dropped inside the six-yard box, Okazaki was first to react, bundling home.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Rob Elliot; Daryl Janmaat, Chancel Mbemba, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Paul Dummett; Moussa Sissoko, Cheick Tiote (Florian Thauvin 19), Vurnon Anita, Georginio Wijnaldum; Ayoze Perez (Siem de Jong 81), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Papiss Cisse 62)
Leicester City (4-4-2): Kasper Schmeichel; Danny Simpson, Robert Huth, Wes Morgan (c), Christian Fuchs; Riyad Mahrez (Nathan Dyer 88), N'Golo Kanté, Danny Drinkwater, Marc Albrighton; Leonardo Ulloa (Shinji Okazaki 72), Jamie Vardy (Andy King 77)
Subs not used: Mark Schwarzer Ritchie De Laet, Gokhan Inler, Jeff Schlupp
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Bookings: Newcastle United - Anita (36), Dummett (48), Perez (76), Sissoko (79); Leicester City - Huth (31)
Attendance: 50,151 (3,200 Leicester)