Steven Taylor first Barclays Premier League goal in two years ended Newcastle's relegation fears as they secured a 2-1 victory which left 10-man Birmingham looking anxiously over their shoulders.
The central defender marked his return to the starting line-up with a 43rd-minute header after Shola Ameobi had opened the scoring from the penalty spot following Liam Ridgewell's 35th-minute dismissal for deliberate handball.
Former Magpie Lee Bowyer pulled one back on the stroke of half-time, but City had goalkeeper Ben Foster to thanks for a series of fine saves which prevented a heavier defeat.
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