NEWCASTLE UNITED ARE SAFE: Newcastle 2, Birmingham City 1

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MAY 07: Liam Ridgwell of Birmingham (obscured) handles the ball and is sent off during the Premier League game between Newcastle United and Birmingham City at St James' Park on May 7, 2011 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

There are a ton of storylines that have emerged from this game: Cheik Tiote earned his 14th yellow on a dubious call by referee Chris Foy, Shola Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands had some chemistry for once, Barton regained his crossing touch, and Steven Taylor was more than adequate in replacement of Mike Williamson.  None of those is half as big, though, as mathematical safety, which is what Newcastle achieved by defeating Birmingham City today. 

Yes, you read that right: With two games left to play, Newcastle have assured that they will not again be relegated to the Championship. 

The game itself was fun to watch: Newcastle dominated through and through, with only a howler by Tim Krul (aided by Fabricio Coloccini) leaving a black mark on the final score.  Shola Ameobi scored on a free kick when Liam Ridgewell intentionally punched a Coloccini header off the goal line, and then Steven Taylor scored on a fantastic corner by Joey Barton.  Lee Bowyer made things interesting when Ben Foster (who had an excellent game) found him over the top and Krul came off his line.

All in all, we were left with two words to describe the season:

Mission-accomplished_medium

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