Newcastle United imported so many Frenchmen in January that the Toon Army may soon be marching to Le Marseillaise instead of Blaydon Races, and Swansea are not short of foreign players either, but this feisty scrap was all about two yeoman Brits. Luke Moore, a man of the Midlands, rarely gets a game for the Swans these days, but he won this one in the 85th minute, breaking the heart of the stalwart Geordie man of the match, Steven Taylor.
Ten minutes after his introduction from the bench, Moore's first Premier League goal for a year gave the Welsh team their first home and away double over Newcastle since 1980. Prodded in at close range, the decisive strike punished poor defending by Davide Santon and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa who, together at the far post, made a hash of clearing Wayne Routledge's left-wing cross.
The result left Alan Pardew "absolutely frustrated and disappointed that we didn't get a draw, which was the least we deserved", and it was easy to sympathise with Taylor in particular, whose lionhearted performance at centre-half bordered on the heroic.
Swansea started as if they were going to repeat the 5-0 spanking they gave Bradford at Wembley last weekend. Bristling with confidence and creaming the ball around in imperious fashion, they threatened to take the lead three times in the first 15 minutes. Instead Taylor thwarted them at every turn.
He cleared off the goalline from Ashley Williams, who ought to have scored at close range, then was first to the loose ball when Rob Elliot spilled a Jonathan De Guzman shot. The predatory Michu was lurking, as ever, and would certainly have scored but for Taylor's intervention. Garry Monk, deputising for the injured Chico Flores, might also have done so from De Guzman's free-kick, but headed over when well placed.
Newcastle weathered the storm and battled their way into the game. Unlike Bradford last week, they were more than willing to get in the Swans' faces and rough them up a bit. Pardew was certainly in Leon Britton's face as the two teams went down the tunnel at half-time, an exchange of unpleasantries seeing the two men separated by others. Asked about the incident afterwards, the Newcastle manager said: "It was nothing." Out on the pitch, there was another heated verbal exchange between Williams and Moussa Sissoko. Spiky stuff.
Angel Rangel's powerful drive brought a notable save from Elliot, who improvised with his feet to repel De Guzman's follow-up shot. The ball looped up and over the goalkeeper, leaving Taylor to make another clearance from under the crossbar.
Newcastle's first chance of consequence was delayed until the 56th minute, when Papiss Cissé beat Swansea's offside line but wasted an inviting opportunity by blazing wildly over the target. Two minutes later Yoan Gouffran did exactly the same, then Yohan Cabaye, shooting from 25 yards, was denied by the fingertips of Michel Vorm, who touched the ball on to his crossbar and over. Now it was Newcastle making the running, with Swansea hanging on, and Vorm distinguished himself again, flying to his left to keep out a goalbound thunderclap from Sissoko.
Pardew's team seemed likeliest to win it but Ki Sung-yeung, on as substitute, tested Elliot at close range and Moore's decider left Michael Laudrup setting his players a new target of 50 points and a top-10 finish.
He said: "If we can do that, it will be outstanding for this club. Already we have done more than was expected of us."