NEWCASTLE UNITED 2
SHEFFIELD UNITED 1
Monday, April 5, 2010
Kick off 7.45pm
Craig Hope reports from St.James' Park ...
KEVIN Nolan ensured that Premier League bound Newcastle United celebrated their return to the top flight with victory as he fired a stunning second-half winner against Sheffield United.
The Blades had threatened to gatecrash the promotion party when Richard Creswell headed an opener on 22 minutes.
Jonas Gutierrez then came agonisingly close midway through the second-half as he burst clear of Nyron Nosworthy on halfway before charging into the penalty area and striking the base of the post.
But within two minutes the Geordies had that goal they so desperately craved; Lovenkrands turning provider with a headed knockdown for Nolan to smash a spectacular volley beyond Steve Simonsen from 10 yards out.
And St.James' Park erupted on the full-time whistle as the Toon Army celebrated the win which capped a memorable night on Tyneside.
SECOND-HALF UPDATES (click refresh for latest)
Full-time: St.James' erupts on the full-time whistle!
90+3min - Shola Ameobi has the ball in the net as he stabs home the rebound from a Kevin Nolan strike but the Geordie's celebrations are cut short by a linesman's flag which rules him correctly offside.
90+2min - Jonas Gutierrez gallops to the deadball-line and flashes a ball across the face of goal with no United takers.
There will be four minutes added time.
87min - Wayne Routledge is booked for a deliberate handball as he looks to burst clear from halfway - the tactic worked but unfortunately it was spotted by referee Andy Hall.
76min - Danny Guthrie goes close to extending the advantage but his left-footed strike is blocked by the shins of Steve Simonsen.
72min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (2-1): Danny Simpson hooks a loose ball back into the area where Peter Lovenkrands, jumping on the penalty spot, cushions a header onto the boot of skipper Kevin Nolan who smashes home with a spectacular scissor-kick from eight yards out - that was some finish!
70min - Gutierrez charges forward from halfway and strikes the base of the post with a measured curler from just inside the area - that was close.
63min - Enrique spins clear of Quinn on halfway and drives forward before sliding an incisive pass between red shirts for Lovenkrands to latch onto. The Dane is clear but, despite pausing to gather his composure, arrows a left-footed strike high and wide from just eight yards out - the forward is left with his head in his hands in front of the Gallowgate End.
60min - Guthrie's purposeful burst from the middle of the park presents Lovenkrands with room to shoot but the Dane slams a first-time effort over the crossbar from 12 yards - to be fair it was a decent effort and didn't miss by much.
58min - United are working the ball into promising positions but it's their delivery which is letting them down at present and Enrique, attacking down the left flank, slices a cross high into the Gallowgate End.
55min - Wayne Routledge manages to escape Taylor down the right but, with the crowd and his team-mates expecting a cross, the winger overruns the ball and it skids away for a goal-kick much to the despair of all inside St.James' Park.
51min - Williamson is penalised for a handball right on the edge of the United penalty area and the visitors have a free-kick. The deadball is worked short to Montgomery but the midfielder gets a rush of blood and balloons high into the Leazes End - that was an awful effort!
48min - It's been a tentative start to the second half from both sides and the hosts are yet to find the fervour with which they finished the opening period.
The teams are back out for the second period and it's The Magpies who will get us started attacking the Gallowgate End.
Half-time arrives but not before former United favourite Gary Speed, now a coach with The Blades, is sent to the stands by Andy Hall for his persistent protests following the award of the penalty which led to the equaliser.
45min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-1): From the resultant corner, lifted over by Danny Guthrie, Chris Morgan is penalised for his manhandling of Andy Carroll and Andy Hall blows for a penalty. Peter Lovenkrands steps up and sends Simonsen the wrong way with a cool finish for his 15th of the season.
43min - Lovenkrands is leading this charge for parity and is denied a leveller when his volley, from Kevin Nolan's knockdown, is diverted up and over the crossbar by the gloves of Simonsen.
41min - Jose Enrique slides a pass in behind Nosworthy for Lovenkrands to chase and, despite the angle being against him, the Dane decides to take on a first-time poke. Simonsen is beaten by the striker's 10-yard stab but the ball is always rising and sails into the middle tier of the Leazes End.
38min - Routledge's right-wing endeavours yield a corner which Danny Guthrie delivers out-swinging. Andy Carroll is jostling for position with minder Chris Morgan and manages to win his duel to connect on the penalty spot. It looks for all the world as if his looping header is bound for the top corner but, to the relief of the visitors, it shaves the angle of the frame and drops wide.
32min - United are pouring forward in serach of a leveller and, from Jose Enrique's drilled centre, Wayne Routledge comes desperately close to finding it as he lashes just inches wide with a first-time effort from 14 yards - that was close.
31min - Despite the illegal efforts of Nyron Nosworthy, Jonas Gutierrez manages to bustle clear of his marker down the left flank and surges along the by-line. The Argentine slides a low cross into the six-yard area but a home shirt fails to capitalise and it's Marcel Seip who gratefully swipes clear.
27min - Enrique's left-wing centre catches the breeze inside St.James' and, had it not been for the smart thinking of a backpedalling Steve Simonsen, the Spaniard would have scored his second goal in as many home matches with the ball headed for the top corner.
26min - Guthrie tries a bender from range but scuffs the turf on impact and the ball bounces tamely wide.
25min - The Blades have another corner from the same flank but this time Steve Harper plucks to safety underneath his crossbar - again, though, it was a testing delivery.
22min - SHEFFIELD UNITED GOAL (0-1): James Harper floats a left-wing corner to the near post where Richard Creswell climbs to turn a glancing header through bodies to give the visitors the lead - for now The Blades threaten to spoil the promotion party.
21min - United win their first corner as Taylor nicks from Routledge on the right. Guthrie and Routledge work short but the cross fails to materialise and the visitors clear.
17min - Coloccini steps out to leave Cresswell in what he thinks is an offside position but he hasn't banked on Enrique staying with his man in the left-back position. The Blades striker has time and space but, like Wayne Routledge at the other end moments earlier, lashes at the chance and skies high into the Gallowgate End from 10 yards out - poor effort.
13min - Kevin Nolan bends a pass around the back of a retreating Seip to spring Routledge clear. The winger bursts into the area but his composure evaporates at the crucial moment and he slams high and wide of Simonsen's goal.
10min - Guthrie is in the thick of the action and it is the midfield man who drives United forward through the centre of the park. He slips a short pass wide to the supporting Lovenkrands and collects the return from his Danish team-mate. Guthrie, arriving just inside the area, opts for the first-time effort and is unlucky when a meausured strike with the outside of his right boot fizzes narrowly wide of the top corner.
7min - Darius Henderson plays a sharp wall-pass with Williamson but the burly frontman is denied a strike on goal by the energetic Guthrie who makes ground to slide and steal - great work.
5min - Guthrie's whipped free-kick from the right causes a moment's unrest in the Blades backline when it drops on the penalty spot. Nolan tries to force goalwards but it's a grounded visiting shirt which manages to flick clear.
1min - There's an early test for Steve Harper but it's one he passes with no problems as Nick Montogomery tries his luck from range only for the well-positioned Toon stopper to save in the middle of his goal.
Sheffield United get us started attacking the Gallowgate End.
St.James' Park is absolutely bouncing as the Toon Army greet their promotion heroes.
Newcastle United are heading back to the Premier League following Nottingham Forest's goalless draw at home to Cardiff City.
We were outside the home dressing room as the full-time whistle blew at the City Ground and spoke to Chris Hughton just seconds later - keep an eye on nufcTV and our Freeview player on the homepage to see what he had to say.
From our postion here in the Press room at St.James' we can here the Toon Army celebrating in the Milburn Stand tunnel - "We are Premier League!"
CHRIS Hughton names the same starting XI he fielded against Nottingham Forest seven days ago for tonight's clash with Sheffield United.
Carroll has shaken off an ankle knock to start in attack alongside Lovenkrands, while Routledge and Gutierrez will occupy the flanks with skipper Kevin Nolan and Guthrie in the centre.
NUFC: Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Jose Enrique, Wayne Routledge, Kevin Nolan (c), Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez, Peter Lovenkrands, Andy Carroll
Subs: Tim Krul, Tamas Kadar, Joey Barton, Leon Best, Nicky Butt, Ryan Taylor, Shola Ameobi
SUFC: Steve Simonsen, Nick Montgomery, Chris Morgan (c), Darius Henderson, Lee Williamson, James Harper, Andy Taylor, Richard Creswell, Marcel Siep, Stephen Quinn
Subs: Mark Yeates, Ian Bennett, Kyle Bartley, Glen Little, Derek Geary, Jonathan Fortune, Matthew Lowton
Referee: Andy Hall
Attendance: 48, 270