MATCH REPORTS

Five-Star Magpies Crush Cardiff

Andy Carroll celebrates after scoring against Cardiff

NEWCASTLE UNITED 5
CARDIFF CITY 1
Coca-Cola Championship
St.James' Park
Friday, February 5, 2010
Kick off 7.45pm

Craig Hope reports from St.James' Park ...

FULL-TIME SUMMARY

NEWCASTLE United moved six points clear at the top of the Championship following a resounding 5-1 win over Cardiff City.

The victory, The Magpies' biggest of the season, also set a new club record of 15 league games without defeat.

The points were all but assured inside a frenetic opening quarter of an hour in which United struck three times.

The first, after three minutes, arrived when a combination of Fitz Hall and Kevin Nolan turned Danny Guthrie's deep corner onto the boot of Andy Carroll who forced through a crowded goal-line from point-blank range.

Carroll could have doubled his tally just three minutes later but, when his shot crashed back off the post, the ball cannoned off the shins of a hapless Gabor Gyepes and into the back of the net.

Carroll, though, did double his tally on 15 minutes, climbing highest at the far post to plant Danny Simpson's inch-perfect centre beyond a helpless David Marshall.

Peter Lovenkrands was introduced on the hour mark and within nine minutes had added a fourth; Wayne Routledge providing the killer thoughball with the Dane stabbing past Marshall from eight yards out.

And Lovenkrands completed the home scoring eight minutes from time with a measured, left-footed curler which found its way into the back of the net via the base of the post.

Cardiff netted a late consolation when Aaron Wildig applied a cool finish having been played in on goal, but the night belonged to the five-star Geordies.

SECOND-HALF UPDATES (click refresh for latest)

The full-time whistle is met with a boisterous roar from an appreciative home crowd - 5-1!

89min - CARDIFF GOAL (5-1): United will be disappointed not to have preserved their clean sheet but this goal, which arrives when Aaron Wildig finishes neatly after being played in on goal, is scant consolation for The Bluebirds

83min - Tamas Kadar replaces Fitz Hall before play restarts.

82min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (5-0): Peter Lovenkrands accepts possession on the Milburn Stand touchline and slowly saunters infield with just Gerrard blocking his path to goal. The Dane, though, does not need to get by the retreating defender and dispatches an inch-perfect, left-footed curler into the back of the net via the base of the post from 12 yards for his second - what a finish.

80min - Routledge jinks his way down the right before digging out a far-post cross. Nolan challenges and, when the ball drops kindly for Carroll, the Geordie is only denied his third of the night when a low blast is stabbed from the goal-line by Kevin McNaughton.

79min - Ryan Taylor is going to get a run out and Gutierrez's last involvement will be that shot just moments earlier.

78min - United work short the free-kick but Gutierrez draws a 25-yard shot well wide.

77min - Cumbersome Hungarian Gyepes enters the book for a snap at the ankles of Lovenkrands.

75min - A change for the hosts sees Stephen McPhail replaced by Aaron Wildig.

69min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (4-0): Scrap that previous update! Danny Guthrie slips a pass to the feet of Wayne Routledge from halfway and the winger sets off in the direction of a backpedalling City rearguard. Peter Lovenkrands, on the shoulder of Gyepes, points as to where he wants the ball to go and Routledge duly delivers the killer pass, United's Dane manages to shrug off his Hungarian marker before prodding past Marshall from eight yards for his 7th of the season.

67min - This game, perhaps expectedly, has gone a bit flat with United still in control but looking unlikely to add to their tally.

61min - Debutant Leon Best receives warm recognition of his contribution when he makes way for Peter Lovenkrands.

59min - Whittingham splits a retreating United backline with a lofted forward pass and Chopra is away on the shoulder of Williamson. The former Magpie man spots Steve Harper outside the safety of his six-yard area and attemptsan early lob from 25 yards. The visiting skipper, though, fails to generate the height needed evade Harper's outstretched arms the Toon keeper saves with ease.

56min - Routledge looks to burn by McNaughton down the right but the Scots full-back, given half a chance to steal, pokes away for a corner. Guthrie floats high to the far post but it's the palms of Marshall to which that delivery is headed.

51min - Chopra manufactures half a yard for a shot 20 yards from goal and releases a wedged effort which deflects up off Williamson. Steve Harper, expecting a low drive, is caught unawares when the ball loops high towards his target and is forced to backpedal furiously before pushing over the crossbar - good save. Nothing comes of the corner.

49min - Guthrie looks to get Routledge away with a searching ball from deep inside his own half. It's a bright idea but the 50-yard pass lacks the direction needed to locate the run of the livewire winger and Marshall is able to gather inside his area.

City make a switch at the break with Mark Kennedy, formerly of Millwall, replacing Adam Matthews.

FIRST-HALF UPDATES

44min - Routledge spots the forward burst of Leon Best and splits open the City backline with an incisive stab. The United debutant is heading away from goal and, rather than try and turn an effort on target, shows an unselfishness in drawing back to suplier Routledge. He manages to unleash a first-time toe poke from just inside the area but the sliding Gyepes puts his body on the line to block its passage to goal.

39min - Leon Best receives a debut booking for a trip on Blake on halfway - referee Kevin Friend cites persistent fouling as the reason for the yellow card.

36min - Chopra does well to hook back into the path of the supporting Chris Burke after McPhail had lifted high to the far post. The former Rangers man charges on to the pass and is unlucky when his cross-cum-shot zips through the goalmouth area without any takers.

34min - Best's persistence wins a corner on the right which is delivered by Danny Guthrie. Mike Williamson is travelling away from goal but still manages to flash a free header on target from eight yards. Cardiff have enough shirts back in attendance, though, and it is Gerrard who blocks before hacking clear.

31min - Jay Bothroys hobbles from the action to be replaced by Chris Burke.

29min - United build patiently down the left and, after the ball is worked infield via Carroll and Gutierrez, Nolan sets a shooting chance for the forward running Danny Guthrie. The midfielder accepts the invitation and leathers a powerful strike down the throat of David Marshall from 20 yards, the former Celtic keeper standing firm to save and hold - good effort.

24min - Gutierrez drives at Matthews and catches the Welsh defender on the back foot before advancing into the danger zone from the left. The United winger rolls a pass to Carroll, peeling away at the edge of the area, and the hat-trick hungry striker opts for a first-time shot. The effort, though, has the sting taken out of it when a Cardiff boot deflects allowing Marshall to gather.

20min - Again City connect with the Gallowgate woodwork when Steve Harper loses the flight of Adam Matthews' floated centre with the ball glancing against the angle of his frame - the young full-back inches away from bagging a complete fluke.

15min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (3-0): This is getting better and better! Leon Best holds possession on the right before slipping a pass to the overlapping Danny Simpson. The full-back hoists a high cross to the far post and it's the head of Andy Carroll which climbs to meet before planting beyond a forlorn David Marshall and into the bottom corner.

8min- Ross McCormack comes within a whisker of pulling one back when he rattles the United woodwork with a vicious strike from 20 yards - this has been a frenetic start.

6min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (2-0): Gutierrez slides a low, angled pass into the feet of Andy Carroll and suddenly the Toon man has just Marshall to beat. The Geordie striker makes strides towards goal before smashing left footed against the post. The ball, though, rebounds back out into the six-yard area and cannons off the hapless shins of the recovering Gabor Gyepes who puts through his own net - what a start!

3min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-0): Wayne Routledge is played in on goal by Carroll but the new wideman, with the trigger cocked, is robbed by a sliding Gerrard who is more than happy to poke away for a corner. Danny Guthrie centres deep and the ball is returned by the head of Fitz Hall. Kevin Nolan, on the edge of the six-yard area, turns towards goal with his head and it's the boot of Andy Carroll which eventually forces home from point-blank range.

There's a light drizzle inside Gallowgate as Cardiff get us started.

TEAM NEWS

CHRIS Hughton starts with all six of his January acquisitions for tonight's visit of Cardiff City.

That means full debuts for Fitz Hall and Leon Best, with Danny Simpson, Patrick van Aanholt, Mike Williamson and Wayne Routledge also included.

Best, who completed his move to Tyneside on Monday, will start in attack alongside Andy Carroll.

Hall comes in for the injured Fabricio Coloccini, further news is awaited on the Argentine, and the Queens Park Rangers loan defender will partner Williamson at the heart of the defence.

Danny Simpson, back from an ankle layoff, makes his first start since completing a permanent move to United last month and replaces Ryan Taylor at right-back.

van Aanholt, on loan from Chelsea, makes his Gallowgate bow on the oppostite flank.

Jonas Gutierrez is fit after a slight muscle strain and is joined in midfield by skipper Kevin Nolan, Danny Guthrie and Routledge, who makes his full home debut.

TEAMS

NUFC: Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Fitz Hall, Mike Williamson, Patrick van Aanholt, Wayne Routledge, Kevin Nolan (c), Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez, Andy Carroll, Leon Best
Subs: Tim Krul, Tamas Kadar, Nile Ranger, Peter Lovenkrands, Shola Ameobi, Ryan Taylor, Fabrice Pancrate

CCFC: David Marshall, Adam Matthews, Kevin McNaughton, Anthony Gerrard, Gabor Gyepes, Stephen McPhail, Jay Bothroyd, Michael Chopra (c), Darcy Blake, Peter Whittingham, Ross McCormack
Subs: Peter Enckelman, Paul Quinn, Mark Kennedy, Soloman Taiwo, Aaron Wilding, Chris Burke, Warren Feeney

Referee: Kevin Friend
Attendance: 42, 028

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