JOEY BARTON started the process of repaying Newcastle for their faith in him by helping to fire them to a first Barclays Premier League victory in eight games last night.
The 26-year-old midfielder, making his first start for the club since being released from jail, converted a ninth-minute penalty to set the Magpies on their way to only their second league win of the season and manager Joe Kinnear’s first.
Barton, who was pelted with coins and bottles as he warmed up during the derby defeat at Sunderland on Saturday, started the healing process, but it was ultimately Obafemi Martins’ 42nd-minute header that won the day and lifted his side out of the relegation zone.
But Newcastle fans endured a tense finish after the Magpies failed to make the most of the chances they created and saw substitute Ishmael Miller pull one back for the Baggies with 25 minutes remaining.
Afterwards Kinnear said he hopes his first win as Newcastle interim manager can build a sense of momentum at the club.
“I know its an old cliche but nobody wants to be in the bottom three,” Kinnear said. “Nobody likes being in that position but if we can carry on now and get a second win then that would be great.’’
The game was only nine minutes old when Barton slid the ball into the box for Shola Ameobi, who tapped it past defender Ryan Donk and was then promptly upended by the defender.
In the absence of Michael Owen Barton steeped up and sent West Brom keeper Scott Carson the wrong way.
Habib Beye skied a shot high over the bar after Ameobi had carved Mowbray’s men open down the left with 37 minutes gone, but the Senegal international made amends within five minutes. The full-back skipped past Paul Robinson to drill a cross into the middle where Martins, with the help of a deflection off defender Jonas Olsson, powered a header home.
James Morrison was proving a key figure as the Magpies laboured, but it was Koren who opened the door for Miller to drag his side back into the game, wrong-footing Fabricio Coloccini to allow the striker to round Given and slide the ball into the empty net. Miller might have levelled eight minutes later had Given not reacted smartly when Morrison’s free-kick rebounded to the striker off the defensive wall but Newcastle hung on.
NEWCASTLE: Given, Beye, Taylor, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Duff, Guthrie, Barton, Gutierrez (Geremi 70), Martins (Xisco 77), Ameobi (Carroll 90).
WEST BROM: Carson, Zuiverloon, Donk, Olsson, Robinson, Koren, Morrison, Brunt (Miller 54), Borja Valero, Greening, Bednar (Moore 67).
Referee: Mike Dean.
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