Demba Ba grabs 3 as Newcastle beats Blackburn 3-1

Senegal striker Demba Ba grabbed a hat trick as unbeaten

Newcastle maintained its superb start to the Premier League season

with a 3-1 win over 10-man Blackburn at St James’ Park on

Saturday.

Ba opened his account in his sixth league appearance for the

northeast club by scoring in the 27th minute before adding further

goals with headers in the 30th and 54th.

Canadian forward Junior Hoilett had halved the deficit in the

37th with a powerful close-range finish but Blackburn, which had

Martin Olsson dismissed in the 69th for his second yellow card,

slipped to a fourth defeat in six league matches.

Newcastle consolidated fourth place in the table and continues

to be the league’s surprise package this season, despite the club’s

failure to spend much of the 35 million pounds (then $56 million)

recouped following the sale of striker Andy Carroll to Liverpool in

January.

Indeed, with Ba and Leon Best – who set up the first goal –

impressing up front, manager Alan Pardew is suddenly questioning

whether he needs to bolster his strikeforce.

”My look at the strikers is, ‘OK, prove to me that I don’t need

to get one,”’ Pardew said. ”And I think they have taken that

challenge on. Especially the two who played today – they played at

a very high standard. They are not the most glamorous of names yet,

but they did very, very well today.

”Demba has had a slow start here, mainly because of Ramadan in

my view. But strikers thrive on goals and that confidence that

Demba is going to get from those three goals here in front of the

Toon Army will have done him a power of good.”

France winger Hatem Ben Arfa came on for the final 16 minutes,

making his first appearance for Newcastle in nearly a year

following a double leg fracture and then an ankle injury.

The victory extended Newcastle’s unbeaten start to the season to

eight games in all competitions, its best since the 1994-95

season.

Olsson received his first booking for complaining to the referee

about a foul on defender Scott Dann in the buildup to Ba’s third

goal, and then picked up his second for fouling Best.