LOIC Remy ended Newcastle United’s long goal drought with a dramatic injury-time strike at St James’s Park this afternoon.
The forward scored in the 92nd minute to give his team a hard-fought 1-0 win over Aston Villa.
Remy’s strike – his 12th of the season – ended a 450-minute run without a goal for Alan Pardew’s side, who had been beaten on their five previous home outings.
Newcastle, and indeed Villa, had passed up chance after chance in a low-quality game.
But Remy’s late intervention ensured United claimed all three points.
The result left United in eighth place with 11 games left to play.
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Newcastle manager Pardew made four changes – Remy, Fabricio Coloccini, Cheik Tiote and Paul Dummett replaced Luuk de Jong, Steven Taylor, Sammy Ameobi and Davide Santon – and his team made a promising start.
Remy, back from a three-game suspension, tested Brad Guzan with a low shot in the second minute.
Guzan spilled a shot from Papiss Demba Cisse, Remy’s strike partner, in the 10th minute, but Villa were able to clear the danger.
And Paul Lambert’s relegation-threatened side, put on the back foot for the first quarter of an hour, fought back strongly, twice putting the ball across the face of Tim Krul’s goal in the 17th minute.
Krul saved well from the lively Gabriel Agbonlahor, and Andreas Weimann was a danger on the break for the visitors. Krul also stopped a free-kick from Leandro Bacuna.
Cisse, intially a second striker, was moved to the right wing by Pardew to shore up a midfield which had been outnumbered.
Villa captain Ron Vlaar brought down Remy just outside the box in the 43rd minute and Newcastle’s leading scorer curled the resulting free-kick narrowly wide of the right-hand post.
But the worse miss of the half, by some distance, was that from Cisse in first-half injury-time.
Coloccini cleared the ball upfield to Moussa Sissoko, who played in Remy with a clever pass. Remy, to the left of Villa’s goal, rolled the ball to an unmarked Cisse, who inexpicably shot over Guzan’s crossbar.
Pardew sent out an unchanged team after the break, and Yoan Gouffran shot wide of the left-hand post in the 54th minute.
Dummett and Gouffran put chances over Villa’s goal, and a Tiote effort was gathered by Guzan.
De Jong came on for Cisse in the 72nd minute as United pressed for a goal.
But they had Mike Williamson to thank at the other end for a fine tackle on Christian Benteke which roused St James’s Park.
Remy struck the post in the dying minutes after de Jong pulled the ball back for him.
However, Remy was on target in injury-time, with his goal giving Newcastle their first home win since Boxing Day.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Sissoko, Tiote (Gosling, 89), Anita, Gouffran; Remy, Cisse (de Jong, 72). Subs not used: Elliot, Haidara, Yanga-Mbiwa, S Taylor, Shola Ameobi.
ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Baker, Bertrand (Bennett, 76), Westwood (Sylla, 61), Delph, El Ahmadi, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor. Subs not used: Steer, Holt, Clark, Albrighton, Tonev.
Goals: Remy 90
Bookings: Vlaar 43, Tiote 69, El Ahmadi 70, Remy 90
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Bradford)