Toon win at long last!
NEWCASTLE United climbed out of the relegation zone tonight with a narrow victory over West Bromwich Albion.
It was Joe Kinnear's first victory in charge of Newcastle and the club's first win since August as a penalty from Joey Barton and a stooping header from Oba Martins clinched the three points.
United made several changes to the team that had lost against Sunderland on Saturday with Jose Enrique replacing Sebastien Bassong at left-back.
Jonas Gutierrez started in midfield and was joined by Joey Barton.
Nicky Butt was out with an ankle injury and Geremi dropped to the bench with Shay Given donning the captain's armband.
With just 32 seconds on the clock it was Damien Duff who fashioned the first opening of the night with the Irishman picking out Ameobi but after the striker had dinked it goalwards Jonas Olsson hooked it clear.
Then on two minutes Martins broke free in the right channel before firing a powerful shot at Scott Carson who had to scoop it over the top.
Barton released Ameobi again on nine minutes with Ryan Donk upending the lanky forward in the box and ref Mike Dean pointed straight to the spot.
Barton grabbed the ball and sent Carson the wrong way to make it 1-0 before exploding with delight in front of the Leazes End.
It was his first goal since United played Fulham at Craven Cottage last season and his first ever strike at St James's Park.
Barton could have doubled the lead on 14 minutes after latching on to the ball following Duff's twisting run but the ball flashed wide of the West Brom goal.
The Baggies offered little going forward in the first half hour and even when James Morrison found a way through he skied his shot high into the Gallowgate End.
Morrison though forced a wonderful save from Given five minutes later after a good run down the left with the Eire star spreading his body to flick the ball away for a corner, which United cleared easily.
Habib Beye then squandered a great chance at the back post a minute later when he blazed it over after Ameobi had picked him out with a cross from the left.
But United were 2-0 up four minutes before the break as Beye made amends with a wonderful cross for Martins who nodded home from close range on his 24 th birthday.
On 54 minutes visiting boss Tony Mowbray replaced Chris Brunt with Ishmael Miller as West Brom tried to get back into the game.
Miller burst forward on the hour after a good run in the left hand channel but his shot was screwed wide.
West Brom defender Paul Robinson was booked with 62 minutes gone after grabbing Martins round the neck as the Nigerian flew forward again.
The Baggies were back in it with 25 minutes to go when the visitors enjoyed a slice of luck.
Ref Dean had played an advantage after a West Brom foul in the Newcastle half but Duff lost the ball.
And when Robert Koran slipped in Miller he made no mistake after rounding Given and slotting home for 2-1 following an Albion counter-attack.
There was a Newcastle change with 70 minutes played as Geremi replaced Argentine Jonas who had ran his heart out for the cause.
Steven Taylor wiped out Miller on the edge of the box two minutes later to hand WBA a dangerous free-kick.
Morrison's effort hit the wall but the ball squirmed to Miller who forced Given into a superb save at his near post - Newcastle were rocking.
Kinnear made his second substitution with 13 minutes to play as Spanish forward Xisco replaced birthday boy Martins.
UNITED: Given, Beye, Coloccini, Taylor, Enrique, Gutierrez (Geremi 70), Guthrie, Barton, Duff, Ameobi, Martins (Xisco 77).
WBA: Carson, Robinson, Koren, Greening, Bednar (Moore 67), Brunt (Miller 54), Zuiverloon, Olsson, Morrison, Borja Valero, Donk.
Ref: Mike Dean