Full-time: Hull City 1 Newcastle United 4
THERE’S never a dull moment where Newcastle United are concerned. This should be a game remembered for a comprehensive away victory, a convincing performance and a four-goal haul thanks to some scintillating counter-attacking play.
Sadly, all that will pale into insignificance thanks to a moment of madness by of all people, Alan Pardew.
He is supposed to be a leader of men, a figurehead and a flagbearer for the club with thousands of passionate supporters counting on his actions and decisions, but on Saturday the Magpies boss crossed a line, one that will keep the club in the news for all the wrong reasons once again.
After all the negativity of the past month, the heavy defeats, the lack of goals, unrest between fans and the board, not to mention the sale of Yohan Cabaye, it seemed Newcastle had turned the corner and their backs on crisis to record backto- back Premier League wins and move to within two points of Manchester United in seventh.
They were 3-1 up against Hull City at the KC Stadium and had produced a performance as accomplished as any other this season when the red mist descended on the Magpies’ technical area in the 72nd minute.
David Meyler, who spent five years at Sunderland, was on the receiving end when the pair came together with Pardew leaning into the midfielder’s chest with his head.
There seemed to be little, if any, provocation from Meyler, who had brushed past the Magpies boss to retrieve the ball, and Pardew was rightly sent to the stands by referee Kevin Friend.
Pardew’s actions were inexcusable, embarrassing and insupportable and while the club acted swiftly to fine him £100,000 and issue a formal warning, what comes from the Football Association is likely to be far stronger.
There was absolutely no reason for Pardew to get involved when the ball went out of play, but all the good work he did in preparation for the game and the way his players executed an almost faultless game plan, will be overlooked.
The Magpies had overcome an early scare – Tim Krul made a superb double save to deny Alex Bruce twice from Tom Huddlestone’s free-kick – before they broke forward with pace and panache to take a tenth minute lead through Moussa Sissoko.
The imposing Frenchman finished off a superb counterattacking move involving Loic Remy and Mathieu Debuchy with an unstoppable first-time curler from just inside the area.
Remy capitalised on Maynor Figueroa’s awful back pass to race clear and round Allan McGregor for Newcastle’s second moments before half time, which was a reward for their constant hounding and pressure when Hull were in possession, but seconds after the restart, Steve Bruce’s men pulled one back.
Krul, dropped by Holland manager Louis Van Gaal last week, came off his line to collect Huddlestone’s free-kick, but the Magpies keeper wasn’t quick enough with Curtis Davies heading into an open net.
At that stage, Newcastle could have crumbled, given their performances of late, but instead they took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Their third typified that with Sissoko galloping up field and following in Yoan Gouffran’s parried shot to tuck the ball home from close range.
Pardew’s dismissal didn’t appear to affect the Magpies either with Vurnon Anita adding a fourth and his first Premier League goal in stoppage time.
Newcastle United’s Moussa Sissoko celebrates scoring his second goal
All that will be forgotten, though, and just where Pardew’s actions leave him in terms of his position as manager remains to be seen.
Questions will be raised how he can continue to have authority over his players, especially in terms of discipline, after his latest misdemeanor, but instead of be drawn into talk of the incident, Krul insisted the Magpies are well equipped to cope with any negativity.
“It was an important result for us,” the keeper said. It was massive to get another away win and I think we really showed our quality.
“It’s a great feeling to get two wins on the bounce. It was nice to celebrate with the fans as well because we have had a bad month but we’ve managed to kick-start our season again.
“I think we can go into the next game with a lot of confidence.
The boys are going away on international duty now, but two wins on the bounce and we are back on track.
“There was a lot of negativity and rightly so, but I think it was also a little bit unfair. We had to cope without Colo (Coloccini), Tiote, Remy, Gouffran was injured for a while and of course Cabaye leaving was a blow.
“I don’t care what people say, they are all big, big players for us and I think people forgot we were missing them during that bad month.
“It is hard for any team to cope when players like that are missing. Now they are back and we’ve managed to turn it around. They give that extra quality and that showed.”