EVEN with the regular reminders from supporters that all is not well at Newcastle United, this was a Saturday for satisfaction on Tyneside and there have not been too many of those this season.

While supporters look certain to be frustrated by another false dawn in Mike Ashley’s attempts to sell up, and Rafa Benitez continues to suffer on the transfer front, Fabian Schar sported the biggest smile after leading the Magpies to a 3-0 win over Cardiff City.

Despite the interruptions in the stands as fans directed anti-Ashley chants at the club’s owner on his return to the directors’ box for the first time since November 10, the football served up by Newcastle was exactly what was required.

Benitez suggested afterwards the foreign players at the club will not even have paid any attention to what was being chanted in the stands, and Schar perhaps reflected that with another positive display to show how that particular £3m was well spent.

From the moment Schar went on a solo run in the 24th minute and ended it by slotting in a lovely left foot finish to put Newcastle ahead, Benitez’s boys never looked back.

Cardiff City might have been woeful for large parts, justifying a drop back into the relegation zone, but Newcastle have still failed to show up in an attacking sense on numerous occasions when they have expected more.

When Ayoze Perez completed the victory in stoppage-time by adding to Schar’s brace, Newcastle had scored three goals for the first time this season to cap a performance that only delivered a third win in 12 matches at St James’ Park.

Schar said: “I have a smile on my face and I hope our fans will be smiling too. We have had some really difficult days in front of our supporters this season and we are all just so desperate to show them something when we play in front of them.

“They are great fans and we have needed them and will need them again in the future. It is the best feeling in the world to win for them. Hopefully, this is just the first of many more. We can all be very happy.”

Newcastle had started brightly anyway but the sense of relief when Schar scored the opener just rubbed off on everyone inside St James’, even if it was followed almost immediately by a “we want Ashley out” chant from the Gallowgate.

The Swiss defender was handed possession from Isaac Hayden just inside the Cardiff half on the right. His first and second touches got him to the right of Oumar Niasse, whose half-hearted run behind him allowed Schar to reach the edge of the visitors box.

There was no blue shirt that attempted to block him from the front and former Middlesbrough defender Joe Bennett arrived too late, so Schar’s curling, low effort crept inside Neil Etheridge’s bottom right corner. It was the sort of goal the likes of Hatem ben Arfa and David Ginola would have been proud of.

“I just feel so happy to have played a part in such an important victory,” said Schar. “The most important part was taking three points out of such a big game but to score my first goals for Newcastle makes it a great day for me personally, I am really happy.

“The first one was pretty cool. I have not scored too many like that! I do not know what I was thinking when I set off on that run. Everything just went for me and the pitch opened up.

“In those moments, you are not really thinking about scoring or what might happen. In this case, everything was good and then suddenly the shot was on.

“I even scored with my left foot and that won’t happen very often either. It’s great to help the team though the most important thing is the three points. I’ll remember that goal for a long time and you just don’t know how important it could prove to be.”

He added: “I am not a frustrated Messi but I enjoy doing my best for the team and doing a good job wherever I play. I don’t really care where I play even though I am primarily a defender.

“I have played in midfield when I was younger and enjoyed it. So it is not as if it is completely unusual for me. The point is I am part of the team that is doing its best in everything.”

In this case it was crucial. Newcastle then played with plenty of confidence from there on in.

And there was another strong display from Sean Longstaff in midfield alongside Hayden that allowed Christian Atsu and Perez to push on, as well as wing-back Matt Ritchie down the left.

Newcastle have been accused of sitting too deep and of soaking up too much pressure when they have played with wing-backs and three centre-halves. That was not the case against Cardiff, where they were happy to attack even if their forwards didn’t test Etheridge as much as they would have liked.

Etheridge had denied Perez at close range shortly before Schar added the second just after the hour. It might not have been of the quality of the first, but he was in the right place to turn in Lascelles’ flick on from Ritchie’s corner.

Two minutes later he almost headed another corner in for a hat-trick. He said: “I’m perfectly satisfied with two goals, I don’t want to be too greedy although let’s face it, a clean sheet feels like another goal.

“It was never seriously going through my head. I was really pleased with the two goals although I did have another chance with the header but for a defender, isn’t two goals enough?

“But I thought the whole team played really well for 90 minutes. We showed the fans that we really care. We fought to keep the three points. We proved we wanted to win for the fans and for the club. It was well deserved in the end.”

After that Cardiff did improve slightly without possessing the firepower to make a difference, despite adding Niasse 24 hours earlier from Everton on loan.

And Newcastle made sure when they turned defence into attack in stoppage-time, leading to Rondon charging beyond his marker on the left, firing in a low centre for Perez to nip ahead of his man to convert the third.

Newcastle had climbed back out of the bottom three at Cardiff’s expense, which was much needed given that Manchester City and Tottenham are up next after the FA Cup weekend.

Schar said: “We knew what was at stake. When you drop into the bottom three, you can feel that pressure building on you. It is not easy.

“We also knew before this month that we have some difficult games against the top teams and that there was always a chance we could drop into those places.

“We have to take it game by game but we have given ourselves some breathing space and have to take advantage. The league table looks a bit better for us now.

“But it is still so close at the bottom and anything can happen so it is about staying calm, being patient and using our experience. We have to keep working hard and if we keep doing what we did, I will be really positive.”