Newcastle boosted their European chances as they beat Norwich by a single goal at St James Park. Papiss Cisse’s early strike was enough to earn Newcastle their first win in five games taking them within two points of 5th placed Chelsea, who have a game in hand.

Cisse opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Gutierrez broke down the left wing and supplied a fierce ball in to the box which was met by the Senegalese whose strike flew past the helpless John Ruddy from 12 yards out.

Norwich should have replied instantly. Newcastle defender Williamson was caught in possession and gifted Jonny Howson with a glorious opportunity. But his strike flew over the bar.

The home side upped the tempo as they searched for a second, but John Ruddy was equal to everything the Geordies chucked at him.

Demba Ba forced Ruddy in to a superb save, as he got fingertips to the strikers acrobatic volley, sending the ball wide.

Strike partner Cisse, all ready on the score sheet, was then denied a second as Ruddy thwarted the striker as he was clean through on goal.

After the interval it was Norwich who dictated play as they looked to find a way back in to the game. First Pilkington saw his strike excellently saved by Tim Krul and then Whitbread’s header was somehow diverted over the bar by the sprawling Dutchman.

In the dyeing seconds Steve Morison burst through the Newcastle defence and found himself one-on-one with the Newcastle goalkeeper, but his strike flew wide of the mark ending any hope for the travelling Canaries.

Alan Pardrew was celebrating his 500th Premier League match as a manager and will be relieved to take all three points as the Geordies look to land a Europa League spot. Four wins from their final nine games will guarantee them European football next season.

As for Norwich they will be pleased with their second half display but are without a win in five as they sit comfortably in mid-table.


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