Newcastle 2, Norwich City 1

PUBLISHED: 16:58 23 November 2013 | UPDATED: 18:36 23 November 2013

Norwich City midfielder Anthony Pilkington is carried off with a suspected hamstring injury in the 2-1 Premier League defeat at Newcastle. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City midfielder Anthony Pilkington is carried off with a suspected hamstring injury in the 2-1 Premier League defeat at Newcastle. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Norwich City’s late fightback proved in vain after the Canaries suffered a 2-1 Premier League defeat at Newcastle.

Leroy Fer’s thumping 80th minute header failed to cancel out the damage from two self-inflicted blows from Chris Hughton’s men prior to the interval at St James Park. The prolific Loic Remy slotted from barely a yard out inside the opening two minutes after applying the finishing touch to a Yohan Cabaye corner which was allowed to travel the entire length of John Ruddy’s six-yard box. Yoan Gouffran then doubled the Magpies’ advantage when he reacted quickest to to rifle home from close range after Ruddy had initally parried Shola Ameobi’s header after the striker had climbed above Russell Martin.

City’s afternoon also ended with a fresh injury concern when Anthony Pilkington was stretchered off with what Hughton later confirmed was a hamstring injury in the second period after Robert Snodgrass was forced to sit out the game following a knee injury suffered in training on Friday.

Nathan Redmond came in for the absent Snodgrass with Bradley Johnson also preferred to Johan Elmander after his exertions for Sweden in their World Cup play-off aggregate defeat to Portugal. Gary Hooper was the lone striker with Ryan Bennett retaining his place alongside Michael Turner meaning former Newcastle defender Sebastien Bassong was again on the bench. FA Youth Cup winner Josh Murphy was also included among the substitutes along with Wes Hoolahan after his recent international action for the Republic of Ireland. Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini was restored to the Magpies’ line up after injury with Mpoua Yanga-Mbiwa switching to right-back in the absence of suspended French international Mathieu Debuchy.

City started shakily with Martin conceding a needless corner that Norwich cleared but the visitors failed to heed the warning when Remy reacted quicker than Johnson in the second minute to head home from a yard out at the far post after City failed to deal with Cabaye’s corner.

Martin Olsson required prolonged treatment after Cabaye’s forceful lunge tipped over the full-back in front of the dugouts, but referee Dean elected not to speak to the gifted French playmaker. Redmond was then crudely blocked by Cheick Tiote, which allowed the Canaries to probe for vulnerability in the Magpies’ rearguard. Bennett’s sliding back post cut-back was only partially cleared by Tim Krul, but Coloccini bravely threw himself in the way of Fer’s attempted slot through a ruck of bodies deep inside the home six-yard box.

Newcastle pushed City back in the 17th minute with Tiote accepting the invitation to shoot from long range but Ruddy was able to watch the rising strike sail over his bar. Cabaye proved no less wayward seconds later, with the hosts clearly emboldened by their early breakthrough and recent league wins over Chelsea and Tottenham.

City continued to exhibit worrying defensive frailties as Turner’s attempted clearance slammed Martin and squirted behind for a corner which Norwich defended markedly better than Remy’s goal. Fer’s attentions were sufficient to subdue the influential French striker in the 25th minute when Remy’s half-volley squirmed away after City were unable to deal with Davide Santon’s cross at source.

Newcastle cut Norwich open again down the visitors’ left when Moussa Sissoko dived inside Olsson to collect Tiote’s pass only to drag a low right-foot effort wide from 16 yards with just Ruddy to beat. The Canaries found another profitable supply line at the far post when Pilkington’s looping header from Redmond’s deep cross drifted over Krul but Hooper’s flick back into play was scrambled clear by Mike Williamson. Alan Pardew’s men stormed forward after that escape and it needed Turner’s sliding intervention to foil Remy. City were undone again in the 38th minute when Sissoko’s cross allowed Ameobi to get a run on Martin to power a header that Ruddy could only parry for Gouffran who slammed the rebound away from close range.

The Norwich keeper’s reflexes prevented a third in time added on before the interval when he flung himself to his right to parry Ameobi’s thumping low hit from Remy’s set.

City’s afternoon got worse two minutes after the restart when Pilkington’s burst infieldended with the midfielder hitting the floor in attempting to ride a challenge before clutching his left hamstring. The former Huddersfield man appeared in considerable pain as he immediately signalled to the visiting bench. Norwich’s medical staff requested a stretcher before he was carried away to be replaced by Elmander. City were awarded a free kick for the incident that Redmond slammed against the home wall before Hooper lashed a speculative volley wide. Hughton’s side tried to up the ante with Howson freeing the overlapping Redmond, now switched to the left flank vacated by Pilkington, but Krul gathered at his near post.

Fer then burst past Santon but attempted a square pass for Hooper with Martin free on his outside approaching the edge of the Newcastle penalty box. Norwich’s desperate effortsto reduce the deficit was creating plenty of space for Remy to exploit, but City got numbers around the Frenchman after Turner’s initial errant pass spelt fresh danger. Cabaye’s hit was then blocked by Bennett. Redmond looked the visitors’ most productive outlet but one burst inside Mpoua Yanga-Mbiwa ended with a wayward shot. Turner’s clumsy challenge on Remy presented Cabaye with a free kick opportunity 18 yards out but Norwich’s wall did its job. Fer rose powerfully to connect with Redmond’s deep cross eight yards out but the Dutch international was unable to test compatriot Krul. City pinned the Magpies’ back through a succession of corners and after Coloccini had fortuitously diverted Bennett’s flick behind, Fer did drag Norwich back into the contest with a powerful header 10 yards out that clipped the inside of Krul’s left-hand upright.

Papiss Cisse headed Hatem Ben Arfa’s teasing cross over in the 85th minute but it was now Norwich dictating the flow of the game in front of an increasingly restless home crowd. Elmander drew a foul from Williamson but Redmond’s delivery was too shallow for the advancing Turner. Hooper provided enough nuisance value from Martin’s hanging cross for the ball to arc towards Redmond but his low cross was hacked clear. Hughton introduced Hoolahan and Josh Murphy a minute from normal time and it was the Irishman who drilled a 20 yard free kick at the Newcastle wall and behind for a corner after Hooper had been felled in the first of five minutes of additional stoppage time. Tiote led a desperate counter for the hosts before feeding Remy but Martin’s persistence paid off at the concession of a corner which Newcastle predictably played short in a bid to retain possession in the remaining seconds.

• Newcastle: Krul, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Sissoko, Cabaye (Anita 67), Tiote, Gouffran (Ben Arfa 83), Shola Ameobi (Cisse 73), Remy. Subs (not used): Elliot, Haidara, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi.

• Goals: Remy (2), Gouffran (38).

• Norwich: Ruddy Martin, Turner, Bennett, Olsson, Johnson (Hoolahan 89), Fer, Howson, Redmond (Murphy 89), Pilkington (Elmander 49), Hooper. Subs (not used): Nash, Whittaker, Bassong, Becchio.

• Booking: Bennett (foul on Sissoko, 90)

• Goal: Fer (80).

• Added on time: 1 minute / 5 minutes

• Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

• Attendance: 51,328

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