ASTON VILLA manager Paul Lambert revealed that Ireland centre-back Richard Dunne may have suffered a setback on his recovery from injury on a night his team took another hammer blow in their fight against relegation.
There had been speculation that Dunne could return in order to add some much needed experience having not played for Villa all season, however, he didn't even feature on the bench.
And afterwards Lambert revealed Dunne's fresh injury concern which will alarm Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni as the World Cup qualifying double-header against Sweden and Austria in March looms larger.
"It looks like he has had a setback," said Lambert of Dunne who has been suffering from groin and back problems. "We will have to wait and see over the next few days whether that settles down again.
"He trained on Monday but then came in this morning (prior to the Newcastle game) and felt something."
The news heaped further misery on Villa whose storming second half performance wasn't enough to prevent them from slipping into the bottom three.
This was a huge win for Newcastle, who were indebted to their goalkeeper, Tim Krul, for a series of saves. Newcastle were so in control in the first half, scoring through Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye with the debut-making Moussa Sissoko shining, but Villa were transformed by Lambert's changes at the interval.
Earlier, Villa were ripped apart when Sissoko got on the ball after 18 minutes. Sissoko transferred the ball to Davide Santon, and then collected it back.
His pass sent striker Cisse through and his shot went between Brad Guzan's legs for his fifth league goal of the season. As Newcastle celebrated, Villa fans started their 19th-minute tribute to Stiliyan Petrov with Newcastle fans and Alan Pardew joining in.
Newcastle were now the ones beset by nerves. Charles N'Zogbia hit the side-netting. Benteke found Andreas Weimann, whose drive was saved by Krul but, for all the fire and brimstone, the much-desired equaliser never came. (© Daily Telegraph, London)