Two-goal Kenedy stars for Newcastle in convincing 3-0 win over Southampton
Two goals from Kenedy and a strike from Matt Ritchie fired Newcastle United up the Premier League this afternoon.
Rafa Benitez's side climbed up to 13th place after a convincing 3-0 win over Southampton.
The result came a day before the second anniversary of Benitez's appointment at St James's Park.
Newcastle now have the best goal difference of the teams in the bottom eight places in the Premier League.
United are now without a game until March 31, when relegation rivals Huddersfield Town visit Tyneside.
Manager Benitez had made three changes and recalled the fit-again Jonjo Shelvey to his starting XI at a sodden St James's Park along with Ritchie and Ayoze Perez.
And Shelvey didn't take long to make an impact. With just over a minute on the clock, Shelvey lofted a ball forward to Kenedy, who controlled it with his chest and beat Alex McCarthy with a shot on the turn.
Southampton went on to see a lot of the ball, but they couldn't test goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.
Newcastle, by a contrast, were a threat every time they broke into their half, and Gayle had a shot stopped by McCarthy after Mohamed Diame took the ball of Mario Lemina.
Their second goal came in the 29th minute.
Lemina attempted to volley a headed clearance from United captain Jamaal Lascelles. The midfielder missed and Perez quickly broke upfield. Perez slipped the ball to Gayle to the right of goal, and the striker then rolled the ball to Kenedy at the far post.
The winger tapped the ball into an empty net to put Newcastle in a commanding position.
Perez and Kenedy had chances early in the second half before Ritchie put the game beyond Southampton in the 57th minute.
Shelvey was given too much space just outside the box, and he waited for Ritchie to make his run before rolling the ball to him. Ritchie squeeze his shot between McCarthy and the left-hand post to put United 3-0 up.
A goal from Ritchie had given Newcastle a 1-0 win over Manchester United on their previous home appearance.
Southampton's first shot on target didn't come until the 60th minute when Dubravka stopped an effort from Guido Carrillo.
Benitez sent on Joselu for the last 21 minutes – he replaced Gayle up front – and Dubravka stopped a shot from substitute Josh Sims in the 77th minute.
But there was to be no late comeback from a shambolic Southampton side.
Kenedy and Shelvey were given standing ovations when they were taken off.
There was a chant of "you don't know what you're doing" from the visiting fans, aimed at Pellegrino, in the final few minutes.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett; Ritchie, Shelvey (Merino, 82), Diame, Kenedy (Atsu, 77); Perez; Gayle (Joselu, 69). Subs not used: Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Murphy.
SOUTHAMPTON: McCarthy, Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand, Hojbjerg, Lemina (Sims, 46), Ward-Prowse, Tadic (Long, 46), Redmond, Carrillo (Gabbiadini, 66). Subs not used: Forster, Romeu, Boufal, Bednarek.
Goals: Kenedy 2, 29, Ritchie 57
Bookings: Hoedt 48, Stephens 69
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)