A brace from Kenedy and second half strike from Matt Ritchie gave Newcastle a deserved 3-0 win against Southampton on Saturday.
The Magpies dominated the game from start to finish and punished a Saints side who lacked the gumption to trouble their hosts all afternoon.
Newcastle made an excellent start to the game, taking the lead with just over a minute on the clock. The ball fell to Jonjo Shelvey in midfield, who picked out Kenedy on the run. The Chelsea loanee did well to control the lofted pass, before his scruffy finish found a way past Alex McCarthy for the early breakthrough.
Shelvey was dictating the play for the hosts in the early proceedings and could've had a second assist of the game, but Dwight Gayle's touch let him down in the vital moment. Gayle had another chance in the half, forcing a smart save out of McCarthy, before playing a key part in Newcastle doubling their lead on the half hour.
It was a swift counter attack starting from a Southampton corner, with Ayoze Perez carrying the ball at pace. The Spaniard played in Gayle, who then unselfishly squared the ball to Kenedy for the Brazilian to score his second of the game.
For all of Southampton's possession in the game, they looked toothless in attack and failed to threaten a well-marshalled Newcastle defence, as Rafael Benitez's side entered half-time with a deserved two goal lead.
H/T: Newcastle 2-0 Southampton— BBC 5 live Sport (@5liveSport) March 10, 2018
Kenedy's first two goals for Newcastle has the hosts in a comfortable lead.
"It's been comfortable for Newcastle. They've not taken too many risks." - Michael O'Neill
📝 & 📻: https://t.co/OSS0MsdGoU#NEWSOU pic.twitter.com/2S6nysrD2p
The second half picked up where the first half left off, with the north east side in the ascendancy. Perez and Kenedy both went close with efforts before Newcastle scored their third of the afternoon.
Shelvey was at the heart of it, doing well to keep hold of the ball on the left, before laying off Matt Ritchie on the edge of the area, with the Scot calmly curling his effort down to McCarthy's right for a three goal cushion.
The Saints' body language mirrored a side in a relegation battle, with clear chances throughout the game few and far between for them. Ryan Bertrand wasted a great chance from a corner, heading over whilst in plenty of space, while substitute Josh Sims forced Martin Dubravka into routine save.
That was the final action of the half, as the game petered out towards its conclusion, with Newcastle fully deserving of their three points against a poor Southampton side at St James' Park.