Newcastle did their fans proud once again, and had an excellent 2-1 win at the Madejski Stadium tonight, after going two goals up in the first half, through Kevin Nolan.
But Reading came back strongly in the second half, and Newcastle were just able to hold out for their sixth win on the trot.
A great time to go on a win streak – that’s for sure – and essentially, apart from some mathematics, that even Einstein might question, Newcastle are now Champions.
Reading had much of the play in the first ten minutes and it was only after 15 minutes that Newcastle had their first real attack, when Routledge had a nice run and put through the ball for Nolan, but goalkeeper Ferderici was first to the ball.
But only 5 minutes later, Newcastle took the lead.
Goalkeeper Steve Harper hit a long ball downfield, and it carried through to Kevin Nolan, who had his back to the goal 12 yards from goal.
And it was another great Nolan goal as he turned slightly to shield the ball from his defender, and smashed a wonderful left-foot shot that surprised goalkeeper Adam Ferderici, and went through his arms for the Liverpudlian’s 17th goal of the season. That was great technique from Kevin, and he can certainly score those goals.
On 26 minutes the dangerous Shane Long hit an overhead kick that was right on target from just inside the penalty area, but goalkeeper Steve Harper was well positioned and collected the ball safely.
Reading were moving into another gear as they tried to pull one back and on 35 minutes, Jimmy Kebe put in another well flighted right wing cross, but Ryan Taylor did well to clear his lines right on the edge of the six yard box. Good play by Taylor.
Then just before half time Newcastle went two goals up.
Danny Guthrie had the ball and moved forward quickly towards the Reading goal, with the defenders back-pedaling, and Guthrie put a nice ball to the overlapping Routledge.
The former QPR winger then drove to the bye-line and cut the ball back across the goal, and it was Kevin Nolan who again did so well to turn the ball into the net for his second goal of the game, and his 18th goal of the season.
That goal puts Kevin one ahead of Andy Carroll in the goalscoring charts. And that was classic wing play by Routledge, another assist for the 25 year-old.
Newcastle were 2-0 up at the break.
Reading started the second half full of fight and vigor but a little bit of needle was creeping into the game. Reading replaced Tabb with Simon Church on 60 minutes and Ryan Taylor was yellow carded shortly after, as he kicked the ball away, after Reading has been given a free-kick.
Then on 70minutes Reading pulled a goal back.
Brian Howard took a free kick that Simon Church turned towards goal just six yards out, and Jose Enrique tried to hook the ball clear, but the ball smashed into the back of Danny Simpson and the ball looped back into the goal.
It was an own goal by Danny Simpson, and it was now game on at 2-1 with 2-0 minutes left.
Five minutes later Chris Hughton made a double change and brought on Joey Barton and Andy Carroll with Wayne Routledge and Danny Guthrie being replaced.
In the last 5 minutes of play Reading threw everybody forward and tried to get the equalizer, but as the final whistle blew, Newcastle had held out to register their 6th win in a row, their 10th away win of the season and they are now on 95 points, that WBA can only equal by winning their last 3 games .
But Newcastle’s goal differrence is now 52 compared to WBA’s 39 so how they can catch Newcastle in just 3 games is even hard to imagine.
But one more point by Newcastle and one more point lost by WBA, will officially give the title to Newcastle. But hey, it’s really ours now. 😀
Kevin Nolan’s two goals were the key tonight.