Newcastle easily beat Scunthorpe United 3-0 at St. James’ Park tonight, to go 4 points clear of second placed WBA and a full 12 points clear of Nottingham Forest in third place.
Newcastle made a frantic start to the game and made seemingly a multitude of chances.
Kevin Nolan had the ball in the net very early in the game when he headed home Guthrie’s free-kick, only to see the ffort flagged for offside.
But then on 10 minutes Andy Carroll eased the tension a little, with his 13th goal of the season – unlucky for some.
From a corner from full-back Danny Simpson after 10 minutes, the ball came out to Danny Guthrie who sent in a nice cross for Andy Carroll to head the ball home like a silver bullet from near the penalty spot, and it was 1-0.
That was Andy’s 13th of the season and brought him level with Peter Lovenkrands and Kevin Nolan on the goal-scoring charts, but not for long as the prolific Danish striker got his 14th goal of the season after just 22 minutes.
Scunthorpe could have been dead and buried early in this game as Newcastle were all over the Iron and after 16 minutes, Peter Lovenkrands smashed the ball against the crossbar following goalkeeper Murphy spilling a Jose Enrique cross.
But on 19 minutes Murphy made an outstanding save from Andy Carroll’s powerfully-struck pile-driver, and it was all Newcastle, as they must have remembered being beaten by Scunthorpe last October.
And it was the returning winger Wayne Routledge, who was causing Scunthorpe all kinds of trouble out on the right wing, who moved post two defenders before putting the ball in to Lovenkrands, who delicately lifted the ball over Scunthorpe goalkeeper Joe Murphy from just 12 yards – another sublime finish from the Danish International.
The Scunthorpe goalkeeper then pulled off a tremendous point-blank stop to deny Peter Lovenkrands a second goal just five minutes later, and the Scunthorpe goal was leading a very charmed life.
It was still 2-0 at the break but Newcastle were well on top and in the second half Newcastle put the gear into cruise control, but it was local lad Andy Carroll again, who got Newcastle’s third and his 14th goal of the season on 55 minutes.
Danny Guthrie put a raking forward pass into the stride of Andy Carroll, the Geordie striker, who did the rest as he put the ball over the head of the Scunthorpe goalkeeper Joe Murphy from about 12 yards out.
3-0 and Newcastle so much on top, and that’s the way the game stayed for only Newcastle’s second clean sheet in the last 9 games.
Andy Carroll – a brace tonight and 14 on the season
Newcastle are top of the league on 76 points with 22 wins from their 36 league games, with just 10 games to go, and we are starting to smell success and see a bright light at the end of the tunnel.
This was the professional performance captain Kevin Nolan had talked about and wanted before the game, and you cannot say this Magpies team don’t turn up for every game this season.
The lads were so much better than the opposition tonight, and even the most ardent Scunthorpe supporter will admit that his team were comprehensively outclassed tonight by the marauding Magpies.
But the next step to promotion is now at Bristol City on Saturday afternoon, and Chris Hughton’s lads will again take nothing for granted in that game.
And that’s just exactly how it should be.
Funny how we feel a lot better after this game, then the last time we played Scunthorpe – that’s for sure. 😀
Howay The Lads!!