By Phil McNultyChief football writer, BBC Sport at Villa Park
Newcastle United won the battle of the Premier League strugglers to deepen Aston Villa's misery and plunge them into the relegation places.
Paul Lambert's side - knocked out of the Capital One Cup and FA Cup by lower league opposition in the last week - paid the price for a dreadful first-half performance that allowed Newcastle to take control.
'Too little, too late' - Lambert
Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye gave them a two-goal lead at half-time that proved too much for Villa to turn around, even with a vastly improved effort after the break.
Christian Benteke's penalty just after half-time established the platform for a Villa rally, but Alan Pardew's side held out for their first league win since mid-December.
Pardew will hope this win finally helps Newcastle find the sort of form that took them into the top five last season - but Villa are now deep in trouble and in desperate need of points and new faces to rejuvenate a side lacking confidence and inspiration.
This latest defeat means Villa have lost their last three home games in the league to fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic, Southampton and Newcastle - completing a sequence of only two points from their last seven league games since winning at Liverpool.
Martin KeownFormer Arsenal defender on BBC Radio 5 live
"Paul Lambert is in a situation where he's got to work with the players that he's got.
"He's got to get out onto that training pitch and develop a team, and get the best from these players.
"You can't give up on it, you don't sit around hoping for the right result, you get out there and put things together. That is the strength of a good quality coach.
"But at the moment the manager doesn't believe in the message he is giving to his players, because he keeps switching formations from one game to another.
"Keep it simple, and then the players might show a level of confidence and they might come through. There is still a chance for Villa. It is not over my any means."
Villa owner Randy Lerner has issued a public message of support for Lambert, but a more constructive course of action might be to try to make a breakthrough in the transfer market before Thursday's deadline.
Darren Bent was given a rare start alongside Benteke, but it was to prove another fruitless and frustrating evening for the England striker, who was removed after only 45 minutes.
Pardew started with two of his new signings, Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran, and the injection of fresh impetus was in evidence as Newcastle dominated the opening half.
Sissoko, in particular, was a major influence and produced a flash of creativity as Newcastle took the lead in the 19th minute. He split the centre of Villa's defence with precision and Cisse raced into the area to beat Brad Guzan with a clinical finish.
The best Villa response was a thunderous rising drive from Charles N'Zogbia that rattled the woodwork with keeper Tim Krul well beaten - but it was a rare moment of encouragement in a desperate 45 minutes.
And Newcastle doubled their lead just after the half-hour, Cabaye this time the scorer. He collected Ron Vlaar's poor headed clearance before sending a measured finish high past the stretching Guzan into the top corner.
Villa's supporters responded angrily to the half-time whistle - and Lambert reacted by removing Bent and Joe Bennett to introduce Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
'Superb' Newcastle delight Pardew
The effect was instant, as Weimann brought a fine save from Krul and Agbonlahor was brought down by Mathieu Debuchy in the area. Newcastle clearly felt it was a harsh decision by referee Mike Dean, but he ignored their protests and Benteke sent Krul the wrong way with the resulting spot-kick.
Krul then saved well from Weimann as the momentum shifted back towards Villa in a manner that seemed barely possible at half-time.
Gouffran was replaced by Vurnon Anita, after a quiet debut, with 17 minutes left and Sissoko, who had faded after a fine start, was substituted by another new boy Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa six minutes later.
Villa thought they had got the equaliser as the game entered its last 10 minutes, but a combination of Krul and Jonas Gutierrez swept away Nathan Baker's downward header.
It was the last moment of real anxiety for Newcastle and the celebrations of their supporters at the final whistle illustrated the significance of this result.
90:00+3:34 Papiss Cisse challenges Barry Bannan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Bradley Guzan takes the free kick.
86:47 Direct free kick taken by Barry Bannan.
86:47 Booking Shola Ameobi booked for unsporting behaviour.
86:34 Shola Ameobi challenges Ron Vlaar unfairly and gives away a free kick.
Correction - 85:09 The assistant referee flags for offside against Vurnon Anita. Free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.
85:09 The referee blows for offside. Barry Bannan takes the free kick.
80:53 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Westwood from the right by-line, Nathan Baker takes a shot. Clearance by
78:30 Substitution Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa joins the action as a substitute, replacing Moussa Sissoko.
77:10 Direct free kick taken by Yohan Cabaye.
77:10 Booking The referee shows Gabriel Agbonlahor a yellow card.
77:07 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Moussa Sissoko by Christian Benteke.
75:59 Yohan Cabaye restarts play with the free kick.
75:59 Booking Matthew Lowton goes into the book.
75:17 Davide Santon fouled by Matthew Lowton, the ref awards a free kick.
Correction - 74:39 Vurnon Anita takes a shot. Comfortable save by Bradley Guzan.
74:39 Vurnon Anita takes a shot. Bradley Guzan makes a comfortable save.
73:03 Tim Krul takes the indirect free kick.
73:03 Substitution Vurnon Anita comes on in place of Yoan Gouffran.
73:03 The assistant referee flags for offside against Christian Benteke.
70:54 Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Westwood to the near post, Jonas Gutierrez manages to make a clearance.
67:47 The free kick is delivered left-footed by Charles N'Zogbia from right wing, clearance by Steven Taylor. Shot by Ashley Westwood
from outside the box goes over the net.
67:47 Substitution Shola Ameobi is brought on as a substitute for James Perch.
67:47 Foul by Jonas Gutierrez on Andreas Weimann, free kick awarded.
66:11 Direct free kick taken by Tim Krul.
66:11 Booking Nathan Baker booked for unsporting behaviour.
66:02 Foul by Nathan Baker on Mathieu Debuchy, free kick awarded.
65:16 Free kick awarded for a foul by Yohan Cabaye on Charles N'Zogbia. Direct free kick taken by Barry Bannan.
63:56 Matthew Lowton produces a cross, save made by Tim Krul.
61:58 Free kick awarded for a foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor on Mathieu Debuchy. Yohan Cabaye takes the direct free kick.
61:18 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Davide Santon by Charles N'Zogbia. The free kick is swung in right-footed by
Yohan Cabaye, clearance by Ron Vlaar.
60:39 Tim Krul restarts play with the free kick.
60:39 Booking Christian Benteke is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
60:30 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Moussa Sissoko by Christian Benteke.
59:32 Andreas Weimann takes a shot. Save by Tim Krul.
57:12 Effort from the edge of the box by Charles N'Zogbia goes wide of the left-hand upright.
55:54 Barry Bannan has an effort at goal from 35 yards.
55:19 Papiss Cisse has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.
54:09 Corner taken by Ashley Westwood from the right by-line, Foul by Nathan Baker on Steven Taylor, free kick awarded. Tim Krul
takes the direct free kick.
53:26 The ball is swung over by Gabriel Agbonlahor, Fabricio Coloccini manages to make a clearance.
52:32 Free kick awarded for a foul by Matthew Lowton on Jonas Gutierrez. Yohan Cabaye crosses the ball in from the free kick, save
made by Bradley Guzan.
51:49 Booking Jonas Gutierrez shown a yellow card.
49:33 Free kick awarded for a foul by Barry Bannan on Jonas Gutierrez. Steven Taylor takes the direct free kick. Andreas Weimann
gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mathieu Debuchy. Mathieu Debuchy takes the free kick.
48:12 Assist by Gabriel Agbonlahor.
48:12 GOAL - Christian Benteke:Aston Villa 1 - 2 Newcastle Christian Benteke scores a placed penalty. Aston Villa 1-2 Newcastle.
47:21 Mathieu Debuchy gives away a Penalty for an unfair challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor.
46:30 Christian Benteke takes a shot. Save by Tim Krul.
45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
45:01 Andreas Weimann takes a shot. Tim Krul makes a save.
45:01 Substitution Joe Bennett leaves the field to be replaced by Gabriel Agbonlahor.
45:01 Substitution Andreas Weimann on for Darren Bent.
45:00+2:06 The first half comes to an end.
45:00+1:40 Shot from outside the area by Yoan Gouffran misses to the left of the target.
45:00+0:45 Jonas Gutierrez challenges Joe Bennett unfairly and gives away a free kick. Barry Bannan crosses the ball from the free kick
left-footed from left wing, save made by Tim Krul.
45:00+0:28 Free kick awarded for a foul by Moussa Sissoko on Nathan Baker. Direct free kick taken by Nathan Baker.
44:27 Charles N'Zogbia challenges Jonas Gutierrez unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Tim Krul.
41:49 Direct free kick taken by Yohan Cabaye.
41:49 Booking Charles N'Zogbia booked.
41:42 Yohan Cabaye fouled by Charles N'Zogbia, the ref awards a free kick.
40:58 Christian Benteke produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.
40:24 The referee gives a free kick against James Perch for handball. Barry Bannan takes the direct free kick.
37:38 The referee blows for offside against Darren Bent. Free kick taken by Tim Krul.
35:58 The ball is sent over by Yohan Cabaye, save by Bradley Guzan.
35:14 Mathieu Debuchy takes a shot. Blocked by Ron Vlaar. Inswinging corner taken by Yohan Cabaye, save made by Bradley Guzan.
34:07 Matthew Lowton challenges Yoan Gouffran unfairly and gives away a free kick. Yohan Cabaye has an effort direct from the free
32:37 Christian Benteke concedes a free kick for a foul on Steven Taylor. Direct free kick taken by Tim Krul.
31:39 Papiss Cisse gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Barry Bannan. Ciaran Clark takes the free kick.
Correction - 30:24 GOAL - Yohan Cabaye:Aston Villa 0 - 2 Newcastle A fantastic goal is scored by Yohan Cabaye from outside the box to the top right corner of the goal. Aston Villa 0-2 Newcastle.
30:24 The assist for the goal came from Jonas Gutierrez.
30:24 GOAL - Yohan Cabaye:Aston Villa 0 - 2 Newcastle A fantastic goal is scored by Yohan Cabaye from outside the area to the top right corner of the goal. Aston Villa 0-2 Newcastle.
Correction - 30:19 The ball is delivered by Jonas Gutierrez, Ron Vlaar manages to make a clearance.
30:19 The ball is sent over by Jonas Gutierrez, Ron Vlaar makes a clearance.
28:04 Moussa Sissoko crosses the ball, clearance by Ron Vlaar.
26:36 The ball is crossed by Mathieu Debuchy, blocked by Joe Bennett. Outswinging corner taken by Yohan Cabaye from the right by-line.
22:38 Free kick awarded for a foul by Christian Benteke on Mathieu Debuchy. Direct free kick taken by Tim Krul.
21:06 Charles N'Zogbia takes a shot from long distance that bounces off the post. Barry Bannan has an effort at goal from just outside
the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
20:03 Free kick awarded for a foul by Yoan Gouffran on Joe Bennett. Free kick taken by Ron Vlaar.
18:05 Assist on the goal came from Moussa Sissoko.
18:05 GOAL - Papiss Cisse:Aston Villa 0 - 1 Newcastle Papiss Cisse finds the net with a goal from inside the penalty area low into the middle of the goal. Aston Villa 0-1 Newcastle.
17:24 The ball is sent over by Yoan Gouffran, Bradley Guzan makes a comfortable save.
16:36 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Yohan Cabaye from the right by-line.
14:23 Davide Santon has an effort at goal. Save made by Bradley Guzan.
7:42 Jonas Gutierrez takes a shot. Blocked by Nathan Baker. Corner from the right by-line taken by Yohan Cabaye, clearance made
by Ashley Westwood. Charles N'Zogbia gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Davide Santon. Moussa Sissoko restarts
play with the free kick.
5:39 Effort from a long way out by Moussa Sissoko goes wide right of the target.
1:11 Centre by Mathieu Debuchy, Ron Vlaar makes a clearance.
0:00 The match begins.
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