Obafemi Martins sent Newcastle hurtling up the Barclays Premier League table but still could not keep Joey Barton out of the headlines.
The Nigeria international claimed a second-half double against Aston Villa to hand the struggling Magpies a second successive league win which dragged them from 20th place into 14th. However, the main talking point after the final whistle was a first-half incident in which Barton had flicked out a hand at Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Chris Hughton, standing in for interim boss Joe Kinnear at the post-match press conference with the 61-year-old having lost his voice, was quick to defend the player, saying: "One thing we are aware of is that any incident regarding Joey is going to be blown up twice as much as it's going to be with any other player. But as regards to what that was, I am not aware."
He added: "All we can ask of him is to put in the performances he has done for us since he has been back. He is a very short way into his period back with us.
"All of those things, he is aware of."
Villa boss Martin O'Neill, however, moved to play down the incident.
Asked if it had affected Agbonlahor's performance, he said: "It would have done if he had had to pick his nose up from the ground.
"It probably would have if he couldn't smell or couldn't breathe. It might have been a problem."
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