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Remy gives Magpies hope despite defeat
Full-time: Newcastle United 2 Hull City 3
IF Newcastle United fans have taken umbrage with the majority of what Joe Kinnear has said since taking over as director of football, they finally have something to agree on: Loic Remy.
On an afternoon when Kinnear's comments made a first appearance in the club's match-day programme, his only summer recruit marked his first start at St James' Park with two goals. And he should have had a hat-trick.
But Remy's first goals for the club were not enough to avoid a defeat which reminded the supporters inside St James' Park of the task ahead after building up to the visit of the Tigers with a four-match unbeaten run.
Kinnear looked on from the Milburn Stand alongside the club's owner, Mike Ashley, while many of the 50,000-plus fans examined his comments defending a lack of success on the transfer front before the September 2 deadline.
The manner of the display which greeted his claims was not well-timed, but it is hard to disagree with words he used to describe his one bit of transfer business.
Kinnear said: “In the glimpses we have seen so far he (Remy) has shown what we already knew, that he is a top quality player who will be a fantastic asset to the team.”
If he keeps hitting the standards he reached against Hull, the sooner Newcastle conclude a permanent switch for the loan signing from Queens Park Rangers the better. Otherwise next summer they will have to find a replacement for him and the other striker Alan Pardew had hoped to land last month.
Remy was the one, significant positive from a very frustrating afternoon on Tyneside. From a defensive viewpoint Newcastle struggled throughout and had it not been for the Frenchman's double the anxiety in the stands would have been far greater.
Newcastle started brightly enough and deserved the lead when Remy jumped ahead of James Chester to head Papiss Cisse's miss-hit volley over the line from six yards, after Moussa Sissoko's diagonal cross to the back post.
That arrived inside 11 minutes when a routine afternoon seemed on the cards. Then Newcastle dropped the intensity, encouraging Hull to move forward more and gain their rewards.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul had already denied former Sunderland striker Danny Graham from close-range before Hull worked their way back inside the Newcastle box. Winger Robbie Brady had got in behind Mathieu Debuchy and drilled a low shot between Krul's legs quarter of an hour after the opener.
But Newcastle managed to regain the lead before half-time. Remy applied the most instinctive of low finishes to a blocked Yohan Cabaye shot which dropped in his path.
That should have been the break Newcastle needed. Instead they started the second half poorly and Hull levelled again less than three minutes in.
Brady's free-kick from the left touchline in to a crowded box should have been dealt with, but Ahmed Elmohamady moved to the near post undetected and glanced a neat header in off Krul's far post.
With 14 minutes remaining, worse followed. George Boyd was allowed to get to the byline by Debuchy and Hatem Ben Arfa and he picked out Sone Aluko on the edge of the box.
The former Rangers forward swung his left foot to meet the ball first time with the side of his boot and the exceptional volley crashed in off the woodwork to Krul's left.
It tinged Remy's good afternoon in front of goal. He said: “I'm happy with my goals but the most important thing is to win the game and we didn't do that. We made too many mistakes and that was why we lost.
“We have done very well in the last two games, but we are very disappointed because at home it is important we win for the fans and for the confidence.
“It was quiet in the dressing room, it was the first game we have lost at home. Everyone knows we can deliver and win at home, we have to make sure we do that more.”
Kinnear's failure to bring in the extra striker – and the injury to Shola Ameobi – has contributed to Pardew's decision to keep playing Cisse in attack despite his lack of goals since April.
More worryingly for the Newcastle boss is that Cisse, aside from his miss-hit assist, appears completely shorn of confidence and does not look suited to leading the line on his own.
Remy has sympathy for the Senegal international. He said: “I was in this situation at Marseille when I was on the bench. For a striker it can be difficult in the head to deal with.
“Papiss is a big professional and one goal can change all of that. I am not worried about him. He works hard in training and puts the work in during matches, so he will get a chance to score and will take it.”
Remy is an alternative option to play through the middle and had he converted a stoppage-time change Newcastle would have escaped with a point. Instead he followed up a sublime first touch in the six-yard box with a shot which flew wide.
“I am a striker, so for me it is frustrating when I miss that type of chance, I should have scored,” said Remy. “I should have kicked it with my left foot. I didn't do that.”
That proved to be the game's final chance. Hull celebrated a first away Premier League win since May 2009 with Steve Bruce smiling, while Pardew was left reeling.
At least Remy looked good.
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