Southampton were beaten for only the second time in ten matches as Mauricio Pochettino’s men lost in a six goal game on Tyneside.
Saints looked on course to complete a double of league victories over the Geordies after taking a third minute lead at St James’. Morgan Schneiderlin the man to convert a Rickie Lambert nod down as the visitors made an electric start to the game.
Moussa Sissoko tapped home an equaliser after the half hour, before Papiss Cisse hit a wonder strike just before the break, which turned the game on its head.
Pochettino’s side responded perfectly though and were level again five minutes after the restart when Lambert notched his 100th goal for the club with an unerring finish inside the area from Lallana’s cross.
A penalty awarded for a Danny Fox handball was converted by Yohan Cabaye, and the win was made safe for the hosts when Fox’s attempted clearance from a Davide Santon cross bounced past Boruc via Jos Hooiveld, as the Geordies moved above Saints to 15th in the Premier League table.
Newcastle: Elliot, Coloccini (Yanga-Mbiwa 45), Santon, Taylor, Debuchy, Sissoko, Cabaye (Perch 75), Tiote, Gutierrez, Cisse, Gouffran (Anita 87). Subs (not used): Alnwick, Marveaux, Ameobi, Obertan
Saints: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw (Fox 57), Schneiderlin, Cork, S. Davis (Ramirez 65) Rodriguez (Puncheon 81), Lallana, Lambert. Subs (not used): K. Davis, Fonte, Ward-Prowse, Mayuka.
Referee: Chris Foy
Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana returned to the side as Danny Fox and Jason Puncheon dropped to the bench. Jose Fonte was back in the squad for the first time since picking up an injury in the FA Cup tie against Chelsea in January.
Hosts Newcastle got the match underway defending the Gallagher end on a cool and clear day in the North East, with conditions a little milder following the previous day’s snow at St James’ Park.
It was a pulsating start to the contest, with Saints trying to force the issue early on as they kept the ball and challenged the hosts to win possession back from them.
The plan worked a treat with the visitors taking the lead with just three minutes on the watch. Having twice gone close to capitalising from the same method, Jack Cork’s arrowed pass onto Lambert’s head, saw the striker cushion the ball down for Morgan SCHNEIDERLIN to take full advantage with a finish inside the near post for 1-0.
The high pressing game continued from Mauricio Pochettino’s men, who continued to push forward as well as stifle United’s attacking intent.
Newcastle defender Fabricio Coloccini struck a half volley wide of Artur Boruc’s right post as the hosts rallied for a response, but despite Cheick Tiote and Yoan Gouffran’s advances, the backline of red shirts held firm.
On 14 the home side went closer when Moussa Sissoko won the ball ahead of Nathaniel Clyne to flash a low drive towards the bottom left corner, but Boruc pushed the effort past the post, for his first real test of the game.
Saints maintained their superiority in possession, but Newcastle continued to create half chances. Papiss Cisse perhaps ought to have done better when Gouffran picked him out inside the box, but some quick closing down by Maya Yoshida was enough to put the Senegalese forward off as he turned to shoot from close range.
As the contest settled into a more open affair, the visitors were shown their first booking of the afternoon when Jay Rodriguez was yellow carded for a lunge on Jonas Gutierrez.
Following a quieter spell in the game, the hosts finally unlocked the Saints defence as the clock ticked over the half hour mark. A wonderful low pass from Yohan Cabaye set Gouffran away down the left. Some neat trickery from the frontman preceded a shot which came back off the legs of Boruc, but kindly into the path of SISSOKO who gleefully tapped home on the rebound for 1-1.
Sissoko attempted to go one better on 38 when he twisted and turned down the left side, but this time the midfielder skewed his shot high and wide.
Luke Shaw became the second Saint to go into the book when he fouled Gutierrez, before the hosts turned the game on its head with a stunning second goal.
Rob Elliot’s long punt down field was headed down past the halfway line towards CISSE who smashed an incredible dipping volley off the underside of the crossbar to make it 2-1 on 42 minutes.
As three minutes of stoppage time were allocated, Newcastle were forced into making a sunstitution as Colocinni limped off with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa coming on in his place.
Saints tried to hit back late on in the half, but the hosts held their lead going into the break.
Half Time: Newcastle 2-1 Saints
Within two minutes of the restart, Saints were presented with a chance to test the hosts when Lambert was handed a free-kick 25 yards from goal. The club’s top scorer bent his strike perfectly around the defensive wall, but Rob Elliot put a strong hand onto it and pushed the effort away for a corner.
That proved to be the warning as LAMBERT struck his 100th goal for Southampton to level the scores up on 50 minutes. The move that led to the goal came from a break on the right hand side with Clyne finding Lallana, who cut the ball back perfectly for the striker to finish low past Elliot for 2-2.
Lambert almost repeated the trick just three minutes later. Lallana again with an assist, this time airborne, but Lambert was unable to guide his diving header on target.
A rejuvenated visiting team were now attacking with freedom. A delightful interchange between Rodriguez and Lallana almost brought a third Saints goal, but the skipper scuffed his shot wide of the right post.
On 57 Danny Fox replaced Shaw for the visitors as Pochettino made his first change to help Saints push on again.
The full back’s first involvement in the action saw him combine well with Steven Davis before he almost played in Lambert once more with a searching cross.
Gaston Ramirez was introduced to the action on 65 minutes in place of Steven Davis, but less than a minute later, the hots were back in front.
It came from the penalty spot after Fox was adjudged to have handled Mathieu Debuchy’s cross from the right. Yohan CABAYE stepped up to send Boruc the wrong way for 3-2.
The action continued to swing from end-to-end, before Maya Yoshida went into the book for a challenge on Sissoko that preceded a second change from the hosts as James Perch replaced Cabaye with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Newcastle made it 4-2 on 79 when a low cross aimed towards Gouffran at the fat post was diverted into the back of the net by the unfortunate Jos HOOIVELD who could do nothing about Fox’s attempted clearance that ricocheted off him.
Jason Puncheon replaced Rodriguez for the final nine minutes or so, with the game still offering the prospect of further goals as both teams maintained their attacking threats.
Despite the best efforts of the visitors, no further strikes came, leaving Pochettino to taste defeat for just a second time in his Saints career.
Full Time: Newcastle 4-2 Saints