Newcastle United fans turn on Mike Ashley as Fabian Schar fires club out of relegation zone
Fabian Schar was the unlikely hero as Newcastle United climbed out of the relegation zone this afternoon.
The defender's two goals, and a strike from Ayoze Perez, gave Rafa Benitez's spirited side a deserved 3-0 win over Cardiff City at St James's Park.
Schar opened his account in style with a goal in each half, and Perez sealed an important result with a late strike.
Newcastle's victory, the club's first in more than a month, saw the team swap places with Cardiff in the Premier League and end the day in 17th place.
United owner Mike Ashley watched the game with associates Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop.
And the game was punctuated by anti-Ashley chants from fans.
There were chants of "we want Ashley out", "get out of our club" and "where's the money gone" at St James's Park.
Benitez, Newcastle's manager, had made eight changes to the starting XI for Tuesday night's FA Cup win over Blackburn Rovers.
Jamaal Lascelles was passed fit despite limping out of the game at Ewood Park with a suspected hamstring problem, while Salomon Rondon and Martin Dubravka were recalled.
Kenedy, however, failed to prove his fitness in time and was left out of the squad.
Perez forced an early save from Neil Etheridge with a header from corner. United also had a penalty appeal waved away by Stuart Attwell after the ball struck the arm of Joe Bennett, who was being pressured by Perez.
The goal came midway through the half. Schar took the ball just inside Cardiff's half and starting to run forward. And he kept on going until he got into the box, where he rolled the ball past Etheridge and into the bottom left-hand corner with his left foot.
It was a superb goal, but there was more to come from Schar later in the game.
Attwell angered Newcastle's players, coaching staff and fans after penalising Perez for a challenge on Joe Bennett late in the half.
Perez forced a save from Etheridge as the hour-mark approached. United were pressing hard for a second goal, but the final ball was letting them down.
Then Ritchie swung in a 63rd-minute corner which was flicked on by Lascelles. Schar got the final touch to put Newcastle 2-0 ahead.
There was no way back for Cardiff, and Perez netted a third goal in added time from close range after Salomon Rondon put the ball across the face of goal.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune, Ritchie (Manquillo, 85); Atsu, Hayden, Longstaff, Perez; Rondon. Subs not used: Woodman, Clark, Murphy, Joselu, Sterry, Roberts.
CARDIFF CITY: Etheridge, Peltier, Ecuele Manga, Bamba, Bennett, Camarasa, Ralls, Mendez-Laing (Murphy, 82), Paterson (Ward, 89), Hoilett, Niasse (Reid, 64). Subs not used: Smithies, Gunnarsson, Cunningham, Harris.
Goals: Schar 24, 63, Perez 90
Bookings: Camarasa 64
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)