Newcastle defeat West Brom

Newcastle, October 29:

Joey Barton justified the faith of Newcastle United manager Joe Kinnear by scoring the opening goal as the Magpies beat West Brom 2-0 on Tuesday for only their second Premier League win this season.

Barton, making his first start since being released from prison, struck from the penalty spot in the 10th minute before Obafemi Martins added a second three minutes before half-time. West Brom substitute Ishmael Miller pulled a goal back in the 65th minute to fray the nerves of Newcastle’s fans but the home side hung on.

Victory took Newcastle out of the relegation zone and into 15th place, a point behind the Baggies. Reflecting on a fraught display after half-time, Kinnear added: “We started the second-half too cautiously. We kept defending deeper and deeper because we were trying to protect what we had but we sat back instead of going for it and we caused ourselves some problems.”

Barton returned last weekend in the north-east derby against Sunderland after a six-game ban imposed by the Football Association (FA), following the 74 days he served in prison for assault on a 16-year-old boy, and also a training ground assault on former Manchester City team-mate Ousmane Dabo which earned him a suspended sentence.

The midfielder was only on the pitch for the final few minutes of the defeat but was pelted with coins and bottles as he warmed-up on the touchline. His response was to kiss the badge on his Newcastle shirt, a move that many saw as inflammatory and a contributory factor to the violence which broke out after the final whistle between rival fans at the Stadium of Light.

Kinnear insisted, however, the midfielder would be picked on the same basis as any other player and Barton, eager for responsibility, showed no sign of being under pressure when he slotted home a penalty after Shola Ameobi had gone down in the box under a challenge from Ryan Donk.

Martins doubled United’s lead, when his powerful header was deflected in off West Brom defender Jonas Olsson. Miller did get the goal the Baggies’ pressure deserved when, after Robert Koren’s precise pass had opened up United’s defence, he calmly rounded Given and shot into the unguarded net.