Newcastle and Sunderland boost survival hopes, Everton held again

North-east rivals Newcastle and Sunderland picked up huge wins in their bid for Premier League survival as Everton and Watford consolidated their positions in mid-table.

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Newcastle United defender Jamaal Lascelles celebrates after opening the scoring against Swansea.

Newcastle United earned Rafael Benitez a first win as manager and boosted its Premier League survival prospects with a vital 3-0 victory over Swansea City on Saturday.

Newcastle's hopes of remaining in the top flight had looked slim following a dire performance in last weekend's 3-1 defeat at Southampton. Benitez made five changes to the starting XI in response to that display and the Spaniard's team selection was vindicated on his birthday, with Newcastle earning its reward for a much-improved showing.

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Jamaal Lascelles, who came in for Steven Taylor in the back four as part of the alterations, opened the scoring in the 40th minute, heading home only his second goal for the club from Andros Townsend's corner.

Jefferson Montero and Bafetimbi Gomis both spurned big chances for Swansea before Moussa Sissoko's first goal of the campaign and Townsend's late third sealed a result that, combined with north-east rival Sunderland's 3-0 win at Norwich City, moves Newcastle within three points of safety with five games to play.



Black Cats hammer Norwich for vital win



Sunderland grabbed a priceless lifeline in the fight for Premier League survival as goals from Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe inspired a 3-0 win over relegation rival Norwich on Saturday.

Sam Allardyce's side would have been on the brink of crashing into the Championship if it had lost at Carrow Road, but Borini's first half penalty and strikes from Defoe and Duncan Watmore after the interval significantly improved its hopes of staying up.

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Sunderland remains in the relegation zone after its first win in seven matches, but it is now only one point behind fourth bottom Norwich with a game in hand.



Gomes saves two penalties at Hawthorns



Watford warmed up for next weekend's FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace with a battling 1-0 win at West Brom thanks to Ben Watson's first-half goal and Heurelho Gomes' pair of penalty saves. 

Saido Berahino's two second-half spot-kicks were well saved by Gomes, with Watford holding firm and recording its 11th clean sheet of the season to move above West Brom in the Premier League table.

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Watson put Watford in front after 26 minutes, getting ahead of his marker from Adlene Guedioura's corner to flick a sweet finish across Ben Foster and in off the post. With Wembley, and a potential penalty-shootout on the horizon, Gomes' success at spot-kicks may have many Hornets fans dreaming of a return trip for the final after he preserved Watford's first win in seven Premier League games and its first victory against West Brom in 16 attempts.



Mane earns point for Saints at Goodison



Everton failed to arrest its poor run of form at home as it once again let a lead slip, with Sadio Mane's goal earning a 1-1 Premier League draw for Southampton at Goodison Park.

Roberto Martinez needed a victory to relieve some of the pressure that has been building on him following a winless run for Everton that now stands at six top-flight games. The host failed to stamp any authority on proceedings throughout, though, with Southampton twice hitting the woodwork and dominating possession.

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Everton was given a lifeline when Ramiro Funes Mori capitalised on slack defending from Ryan Bertrand to thump a drilled effort home from close range, but its lead was short-lived as Mane latched onto a loose ball to nudge in with just under 15 minutes remaining.

It was no more than Ronald Koeman's side deserved and it would have taken the lead in the closing stages if not for a fine save by Joel Robles to deny Jay Rodriguez.

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