Sports Direct Arena
Barclays Premier League
By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Newcastle United 1 (Ba 19)
Norwich City 0
SECOND HALF UPDATES
90+4mins: It's full-time and Newcastle have won thanks to Demba Ba's first half goal, meaning Papiss Cisse's penalty miss didn't matter too much. United are now just one point worse off than they were at the same stage last season, when they went on to finish fifth. Chris Hughton and his assistant Colin Calderwood embrace some of their former charges, including Shola Ameobi, but they will return to East Anglia empty handed.
90+3mins: Gutierrez finds Cabaye, who sees Leon Barnett slide in to dispossess him but does enough to see the ball cannon back into his path and then finds Obertan with a great ball. The winger races in on goal but from a tight angle, sees his effort blocked by Ruddy when perhaps taking the ball towards the corner flag might have been a better decision.
90+1mins: Snodgrass' low ball from the right is deflected as Tiote sticks out a leg and Jackson pounces, but Harper is out quickly and bravely to get there first. More good goalkeeping from a man who will certainly deserve his clean sheet if the scoreline remains the same in three minutes' time.
90mins: There will be four minutes of stoppage time as Obertan - trying to race onto a long ball forwards - appears to be wiped out by Turner, only for play to continue.
89mins: Tiote goes into the book himself as the midfielder - clearly angry after that challenge from Howson - jumps into Michael Turner. The free-kick is pumped into the box and Jackson gets the wrong side of Santon, but Harper races from goal to smother the ball from the former Rushden and Diamonds striker from a narrow angle.
88mins: The first booking of the game goes to Norwich's Jonny Howson, who lunges in on Tiote as the Ivorian spins and shields the ball in his own half.
85mins: Now comes Newcastle's last change, with Shola Ameobi replacing Hatem Ben Arfa. The Frenchman gets a standing ovation for his display as Ameobi looks to make an impact similar to the one he made at Everton on Monday night.
83mins: Tiote looks like he's never been away and after winning a tackle, carrying the ball then finding Cabaye, the Frenchman's through ball makes it all the way to Ba who tries to race clear but under pressure, can't get enough on his shot to beat Ruddy who gets down to his left to save.
82mins: A third and final change for Chris Hughton - Simeon Jackson is on for Andrew Surman, meaning an extra striker is on the pitch for Norwich as they try to force an equaliser.
76mins: Cheick Tiote is back - the Ivorian enforcer replaces Vurnon Anita in a move which will see James Perch return to right-back after a dominant display in midfield. There are few players in the Barclays Premier League more dominant than Tiote, though, and hopefully he can help United see this game out.
69mins: Anita delivers the ball from the right and Cisse gets in a header but it goes wide. That's his last action as he makes way for Obertan, who had been stripped for some time, while Norwich also make a change as Grant Holt replaces Morison.
64mins: Cabaye's corner is met by Williamson at the far post and his powerful header is saved by Ruddy as Gabriel Obertan prepares to come on for Newcastle.
61mins: The excellent Perch wins possession again and clips a wonderful ball over the defence fro Cisse to race onto. The number nine is forced slightly wide, though, and his shot lacks enough power to seriously test Ruddy at his near post.
59mins: Hoolahan vollies wide as the ball drops to him 20 yards from goal - Morison did just enough to beat Santon in the air but it was always going to be difficult for the midfielder to score from there.
58mins: Cabaye shoots over after a sustained spell of pressure which began with Perch robbing Bradley Johnson in midfield and saw Ben Arfa heavily involved as he tormented the Norwich defence once again. He's been a joy to watch again this afternoon.
56mins: Ben Arfa receives the ball on the right from Jonas Gutierrez and cuts inside before shooting with a vicious low strike which Ruddy does well to tip behind. Steven Taylor meets the ensuing corner with his head but nods it narrowly wide.
53mins: From Snodgrass' left-wing corner, Morison gets a header to it and sends it looping goalwards but Santon gets it clear. It may or may not have been sneaking in but the Italian took no chances and Surman volleyed the loose ball just wide. Seconds later, Hoolahan gets in a shot from the left-hand channel but it's weak and straight at Harper; it's been a bright start to the second half from the men in yellow, though, who were also on top in the opening exchanges of the first.
47mins: Surman goes through on goal after being slipped in by Hoolahan but Steve Harper races from his goal to make a superb block. It's a great save from the 37-year-old keeper, who stayed big until the last possible minute as the midfielder tried to clip the ball over him.
46mins: Norwich get the second period underway with Newcastle now attacking towards the Leazes end. Today's attendance is 49,402 and both sides are unchanged.
FIRST HALF UPDATES
45+2mins: Swarbrick's whistle blows for half-time and Newcastle lead through Demba Ba's fourth goal of the season, but it could so easily have been two but for Papiss Cisse's penalty miss. Nonetheless, the hosts look reasonably comfortable at the moment.
45mins - NEWCASTLE MISS PENALTY: Seconds before the board for two minutes of injury time goes up, Mike Williamson challenges for a high ball and is shoved in the back by Steve Morison. It's a clear penalty and Neil Swarbrick points to the spot. Papiss Cisse steps up to take it - but blazes it well over the top. I said I fancied him to score his first of the season today, but sadly he was some way off doing so there as United squander a golden opportunity to double their advantage just before the break.
39mins: More skill from Ben Arfa which had to be seen to be believed. The Frenchman has already set up one goal with amazing vision and execution and this time he picks the ball up just inside his own half, nutmegs Andrew Surman before clipping an eye-of-the-needle pass to Ba, who is just unable to control it otherwise he may well have had a second goal to his name.
34mins: Perch shows true determination to win a header he had no right to and the ball breaks for Cisse, who goes for an audacious long-range effort which flies over the bar. Things aren't going the striker's way at the moment but don't be surprised to see him break his duck today - one of these chances will surely go in soon enough.
32mins: Santon's getting forward well and his low cross is perfect for Cisse, but the striker messes up his shot and sees the ball roll off his standing foot towards Cabaye, who lets fly with a first-time effort from just inside the area. It flies just over but the fans in the Gallowgate end are seeing most of the action in front of them at the moment.
31mins: After Cabaye's corner is half-cleared, Anita pings the ball back in and Steven Taylor heads back across goal only for Norwich to scramble clear. With Hatem Ben Arfa very much in the mood, Newcastle are on top now after a slow start to the game.
27mins: Mike Williamson makes a vital block on the line from Robert Snodgrass' header following Hoolahan's cross. The ex-Leeds midfielder got plenty of power and direction on the ball ten yards out but Williamson was in the right place at the right time to keep it out. Good defending from the centre-back, who has already made a couple of important interceptions today.
23mins: One pleasing factor today, besides the current scoreline, has been the display of Yohan Cabaye, who looks somewhere near his best, and after spreading play to Jonas Gutierrez, he then races to get the ball back off the overlapping Santon and only just miscues his attempted shot from a narrow angle inside the box.
19mins - NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-0): Perch almost scores as he pops up in the box after Cisse had swung and missed but sees his shot blocked. Norwich get the ball clear but not for long as Ben Arfa receives it on the half-way line before picking out Demba Ba with the most sublime of through-balls which takes the whole defence out of the game and sends the striker clean through. With three goals already this season, the Senegalese star never looks likely to miss and he slots confidently past England keeper John Ruddy to give United the lead at an important time. Click here to buy a Newcastle shirt with Ba's name and number on the back.
16mins: James Perch started the match at right-back with Vurnon Anita in central midfield but Alan Pardew has acted quickly to switch them around, with Perch now tasked with adding steel to the engine room while Anita will try to bomb on from full-back.
13mins: As the visitors continue to press early on, Steve Harper makes a great punch from Bradley Johnson's dangerous cross. The veteran keeper came a long way and had to get there, but he did exactly that to relieve some pressure on his defence who have had to work hard already this afternoon.
8mins: Former Sunderland man Michael Turner comes on in Bassong's place as Hughton is forced into an early change at the back.
5mins: The first chance goes to Norwich as United once again start a game slowly. Javier Garrido gets in a cross from the left and Wes Hoolahan dives to meet it but his effort is deflected wide. United clear the resulting corner, though, with Demba Ba just getting the ball away before Sebastien Bassong can meet it on his own, rather less heralded, return to his former club. The defender needs treatment and eventually walks down the tunnel, seemingly unable to continue.
2mins: Hughton emerges into the the technical area and a chant of 'there's only one Chrissy Hughton' goes around the stadium before a cry of 'Hughton, give us a wave' which the Norwich boss responds to - but it's quickly followed by a burst of 'Toon, Toon, black and white army'. The message is clear - welcome back and thanks for everything, Chris, but come on Newcastle!
1min: Newcastle United get the match underway in their black and white home kits (available to buy here) with the Magpies kicking towards the Gallowgate end in the first half. Chris Hughton, typically understated, made a very low-key entrance from the tunnel - most fans won't even have seen him sneak into the dugout - but he's sure of a great reception at some point on his return to Tyneside.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Steve Harper; James Perch, Mike Williamson, Steven Taylor, Davide Santon; Hatem Ben Arfa, Vurnon Anita (Cheick Tiote 76), Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez (c); Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse (Gabriel Obertan 69)
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, James Tavernier, Gael Bigirimana, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi
Norwich CIty (4-5-1): John Ruddy; Russell Martin (c), Sebastien Bassong (Michael Turner 8), Leon Barnett, Javier Garrido; Robert Snodgrass, Bradley Johnson, Jonny Howson, Andrew Surman (Simeon Jackson 82), Wes Hoolahan; Steve Morison (Grant Holt 69)
Substitutes: Mark Bunn, Ryan Bennett, Alexander Tettey, Anthony Pilkington
Referee: Neil Swarbrick