Belfast Telegraph

Ba hat-trick keeps Magpies flying

Demba Ba opened his Newcastle account with a hat-trick as the Magpies brushed Blackburn aside to extend their unbeaten start to the season with a 3-1 win.

The Senegal international scored twice inside three first-half minutes to give his side a commanding lead, and then - after Junior Hoilett had pulled one back for the visitors, who had Martin Olsson sent off - headed home a third with 54 minutes gone.

Alan Pardew's men might have won even more comfortably with Leon Best passing up two late opportunities to add to his three goals for the season, but they were good value for a win which took them to 12 points from a possible 18.

Ba whistled a long-range sixth-minute effort over Paul Robinson's crossbar as the Magpies made a bright start with Gabriel Obertan particularly influential.

Then 21 minutes later Ba controlled superbly to turn central defender Scott Dann and smash a right-foot shot past Robinson.

Three minutes later Steven Taylor headed Danny Simpson's deep ball back across the penalty area and Olsson could only help it on towards Ba, who headed it past the stranded Robinson from close range.

Dann blocked Jonas Gutierrez's 36th-minute shot before Rovers got themselves back into the game. Olsson, on the left, crossed for Hoilett, who had looked the visitors' most dangerous player, to control and thump a half-volley into the roof of the net.

Obertan came close on the stroke of half-time and Rovers went close when Olsson met Michael Salgado's 53rd-minute cross and looped a shot on to Tim Krul's crossbar.

But the Magpies eased further ahead within seconds when Ba looped a header over Robinson and into the net with Best desperately trying to get the final touch.

Blackburn's cause was further undermined when Olsson was dismissed after being booked for the second time for a cynical challenge on Best.


From Belfast Telegraph