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Newcastle 2-0 Aston Villa

Obafemi Martins
Obafemi Martins' goals lifted Newcastle out of the bottom three

Obafemi Martins' brace earned Newcastle victory against Aston Villa to lift the Magpies out of the bottom three.

Martins opened the scoring on the hour, beating Villa keeper Brad Friedel with a left-footed shot from 18 yards after turning inside Martin Laursen.

The Nigerian secured victory, tapping home from close-range after good work down the left from Jonas Gutierrez.

Nicky Butt also struck the post for the Magpies while Laursen's header hit the upright for Villa in the first-half.

Needing victory to climb into the Premier League's top three, Villa started the better of the two sides and should have taken a lead into the half-time break.

Laursen had the visitors' first real chance, heading Gareth Barry's 11th-minute corner against the post.

Ten minutes later Gabriel Agbonlahor had Villa's best chance of the half but the normally reliable striker mis-kicked from close range after Ashley Young had played him in.

Just before the break Agbonlahor turned provider, playing in Ashley Young, but Newcastle keeper Shay Given was equal to the effort with a point-blank block.

Newcastle held on until half-time, with only midfielder Joey Barton testing Friedel in the Villa goal with a long-distance effort.

Hughton delighted with three points

But Barton showcased both sides of his personality in a lively first-half display as he was spoken to by referee Steve Bennett for appearing to flick Agbonlahor in the face.

Newcastle improved after the break and after Barton was booked for a late challenge on Luke Young, the controversial midfielder created the opener.

Barton found Martins with an accurate long ball on the edge of the Villa box and the Nigerian superbly cut inside Laursen before rifling a low drive past Friedel.

Soon after, Butt came close to making it 2-0 with his glorious 20-yard free-kick curling against the post and rebounding away to safety.

O'Neill frustrated by Newcastle defeat

But Newcastle continued to press and a second goal arrived with eight minutes remaining, again courtesy of Martins.

Gutierrez provided it after fine work down the left wing, beating the challenge of Nigel Reo-Coker before cutting the ball back to Martins, who made no mistake from close range.

Victory lifted Newcastle to 14th in the Premier League, while Villa remain in fifth place.

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill:
"The first half was excellent and we deserved to go in front, but we are instead left to rue the chances we would normally take.

"They were big moments in the game, hitting the post and Gabriel Agbonlahor missing a chance he'd usually score.

"But when they scored, it became a fatal blow, not just a setback."

Newcastle first-team coach Chris Hughton:
"They had the better of the early chances but we held on until half-time.

"But we are getting stronger and fitter and that helps and it showed tonight.

"Obafemi Martins is capable of scoring and with his quality and his pace it is no surprise he is scoring.

"We've been able to get some results and that breeds confidence."

Newcastle: Given, Beye, Coloccini, Taylor, Jose Enrique, Gutierrez, Barton, Butt, Duff, Martins (Cacapa 88), Ameobi (Owen 90).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Guthrie, Bassong, N'Zogbia, Geremi. Booked: Beye, Barton, Martins, Ameobi.

Goals: Martins 60, 83.

Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young, Cuellar, Laursen, Shorey (Sidwell 72), Milner, Reo-Coker (Harewood 85), Barry, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor, Carew.
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Davies, Knight, Salifou, Gardner.

Booked: Barry, Luke Young, Sidwell.

Att: 44,567 Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Aston Villa's Ashley Young on 7.44 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Newcastle-Villa as it happened
03 Nov 08 |  Premier League

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