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Match Report: Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 0
Full-time: Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 0
LOIC REMY grabbed a stoppage-time winner to end Newcastle's run of seven-and-a-half hours without a goal and secure a first home win since Boxing Day.
With their home game with Aston Villa drifting towards a draw, Remy struck to take the Magpies to 40 points and lift them back above Southampton into eighth.
The goal was probably no more than Newcastle deserved after a strong second-half showing that saw them improve markedly on their limp efforts before the break.
Remy had already struck the post as Alan Pardew's side staged a late flurry, with Papiss Cisse also having wasted a glorious opportunity at the end of the first half.
Pardew made four changes to the side that had been hammered by Tottenham in Newcastle's previous home game, but the impact of his changes was limited as the Magpies were second best for the majority of the first half.
They created the first opening when Remy's second-minute effort was saved by Brad Guzan, but Villa quickly went close themselves as Leandro Bacuna curled a free-kick narrowly wide of the post.
Guzan appeared nervous in the opening stages, and the Villa keeper was fortunate that Nathan Baker came to his rescue after he fumbled Cisse's tenth-minute shot.
However, Newcastle were unable to ask too many more questions of Guzan before the break and with Villa creating a succession of problems on the counter-attack, the hosts suffered a number of nervous moments.
Andreas Weimann narrowly failed to connect with Karim El Ahmadi's snatched shot, before Gabriel Agbonlahor twice went close in the space of a minute.
His first effort from 12 yards was saved by Tim Krul, while his second, from much longer range, whistled narrowly over the crossbar.
Krul saved Bacuna's curled free-kick as Villa continued to create much the better opportunities, with Newcastle switching to a 4-5-1 formation in an attempt to strengthen their midfield.
The tactic didn't really work, but the Magpies should still have claimed the lead as they created the best opportunity of the game in first-half stoppage time.
Remy pulled the ball back after being released down the left-hand side, but Cisse steered a first-time effort miles over the crossbar from no more than eight yards out.
The Senegal international is clearly lacking confidence at the moment, and Newcastle's overall performance was reflective of a side struggling for rhythm.
Yoan Gouffran dragged a low shot wide at the start of the second half, Paul Dummett curled over the crossbar from the edge of the area and Gouffran fired another volley over the top. None of the chances really looked like going in though.
Pardew introduced Luuk de Jong for the final 19 minutes, but the Magpies were indebted to Mike Williamson with 11 minutes left as the defender produced a fantastic tackle to prevent Christian Benteke exploiting a three-on-two break.
De Jong finally made his presence felt with three minutes left though, and his efforts should have resulted in a Newcastle goal.
The Dutchman robbed Ron Vlaar close to the touchline, but while his cut back was perfectly weighted for Remy, the France international rolled a first-time effort against the base of the post.
That was a poor miss, but Remy more than made amends as he finally broke the deadlock in the second minute of stoppage time.
De Jong's deflected shot looped into his path, and after turning inside Vlaar, Remy rifled a fierce shot into the net.
Newcastle (4-4-2): Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini, Williamson, Dummett; Sissoko, Tiote (Gosling 89), Anita, Gouffran; Cisse (de Jong 71), Remy.
Subs (not used): Elliot (gk), Haidara, Yanga-Mbiwa, S Taylor, Shola Ameobi.
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Guzan; Bacuna, Baker, Vlaar, Bertrand (Bennett 76); Westwood (Sylla 60), Delph, El Ahmadi; Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor.
Subs (not used): Steer (gk), Clark, Albrighton, Tonev, Holt.
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