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Ba strike sees off Canaries
Demba Ba allowed his feet to do the talking as his fourth goal of the season fired Newcastle to a narrow 1-0 victory over Norwich.
On a day when strike-partner Papiss Cisse's fortune took a turn for the worse when he squandered a penalty chance, Ba produced a finish worthy of Hatem Ben Arfa's slide-rule pass to claim just a second Barclays Premier League victory of the season.
Ben Arfa found himself on the wrong end of assistant manager John Carver's tongue after allowing Cisse to take the spot-kick in first-half injury-time, and it took a fine 47th-minute save by Steve Harper to deny Andrew Surman an equaliser and former Newcastle boss Chris Hughton a point on his return to Tyneside.
Newcastle might have taken the lead with 19 minutes gone had Cisse made a meaningful connection with Yohan Cabaye's free-kick at the near post with James Perch seeing his effort from the rebound blocked. However, they were in front seconds later after Ben Arfa produced a moment of sheer class.
The Frenchman cut inside from the left before sliding the perfect pass into the path of Ba, who calmly slotted past the advancing John Ruddy.
The Magpies should have extended their lead in first-half injury time when, after striker Steve Morison had barged into Mike Williamson inside the Norwich penalty area, referee Neil Swarbrick pointed to the spot.
But Senegal international Cisse skied his effort high over the bar, in the process earning Ben Arfa a tirade from Carver for not taking it with Alan Pardew sitting high in the stands as he served out his touchline ban.
Carver's wrath might have been incurred once again within two minutes of the restart when Wes Hoolahan turned the ball perfectly into Surman's path to put him through on goal.
Harper was quickly off his line and the 37-year-old got down superbly to make a vital block as the midfielder attempted to lift a shot over him with the outside of his left foot.
Williamson headed a Cabaye corner straight at Ruddy and the keeper claimed Ba's weak 83rd-minute effort as Newcastle negotiated their way nervously, but safely, to the final whistle.