PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 0
NEWCASTLE UNITED 2
Monday, April 19, 2010
Kick off 7.45pm
Craig Hope reports from Home Park …
NEWCASTLE United have crowned their promotion-winning season by clinching the Championship title following a memorable night at Home Park.
The Magpies needed just a point to make sure of the league title but a seventh straight victory meant that Chris Hughton's men celebrated in style.
The continuing travel chaos caused by last week's volcanic eruption in Iceland had seen the Geordies forced to embark on a 420-mile road trip to Devon, but there was no sign of fatigue during the opening half hour as United raced into a two-goal lead.
The full-time whistle was met by unfortgettable scenes as 2,500 Geordies poured onto the pitch to embrace their title-winning heroes.
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Full-time: NEWCASTLE UNITED ARE CHAMPIONS!
86min - Jose Enrique roars down the left flank and squares for Joey Barton just six yards from goal. The midfielder, having created both of United's goals tonight, looks to have a bagged one of his own only for a first-time stab to be kept out by the shins a fortunately-placed David Stockdale on the line.
84min - Leon Best is inches away from opening his Toon account with a dipping 20-yard strike which stuns the home crossbar before bouncing clear.
84min - Fitz Hall looks to have picked up an injury and he is replaced by Tamas Kadar.
83min - The Geordie fans are promising to invade the pitch should we be crowned champions - the away end is absolutely bouncing right now.
80min - United are cruising towards the Championship title now and are pressing for a third.
75min - Joe Mason replaces Bradley Wright-Phillips for the hosts.
73min - Danny Guthrie delivers a teasing left-wing corner and both substitutes Best and Ameobi swipe at the loose ball before Argyle clear.
67min - "If Smudger scores we're on the pitch" is the latest offering from the Geordie fans - the skipper has yet to net for The Magpies and, with this game now meandering towards its conclusion, it doesn't look like that duck is going to be broken tonight.
63min - Bradley Wright-Phillips draws groans from the home crowd as he opts to shoot from all of 35 yards with the ambitious effort dribbling tamely wide.
58min - Alan Judge sends shudders through Steve Harper's frame as he smashes the crossbar with a dipping effort from 25 yards out - that was some strike,
56min - United win successive corners but on both are comfortably dealt with by the Argyle rearguard.
52min - Andy Carroll's aggression paves the way for Kevin Nolan to strike on goal after the Geordie had held off a challenge from Johnson to help on to the Scouser on the edge of the area. And Nolan accepts the invitation to shoot as he swivels before lashing right-footed just inches above the crossbar with Stockdale beaten.
50min - It's been a fairly sedate beginning to this second period but United look in firm control.
No changes during the break as United get us restarted.
Half-time: United are headed for the Championship title as they lead 2-0 at the break.
There will be one minute added time.
44min - Argyle have enjoyed a good spell of attacking possession these last ten minutes or so and Alan Judge is the latest man to go close as his half-volley from 20 yards zips inches wide of Steve Harper's frame.
42min - Bradley Wright-Phillips capitalises upon Mike Williamson's scuffed clearance and is unlucky not to net as he whistles narrowly over from 20 yards.
36min - Andy Carroll finds himself in the unfamiliar territory of the United right-back position and perhaps that shows as he tangles with Alan Judge sending the Irish winger to the turf. And the Geordie duly becomes the first man in the book with Argyle winning a free-kick in a dangerous spot on the edge of the area. Fletcher delivers at pace but Carroll atones for that trip with a powerful header to clear the visiting lines.
30min - Steve Harper is called into action at the other end as he does well to get down low and beat clear after Jamie Mackie had levelled on goal from the edge of the area.
28min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (0-2): Joey Barton is again the provider as he carves open the Argyle backline with a slick through ball for Wayne Routledge. The winger races clear before skipping around David Stockdale and sliding home from a narrow angle to double the advantage.
20min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (0-1): But Andy Carroll makes amends just seconds later as sends a looping, 10-yard header back across goal and into the far corner from Joey Barton's out-swinging corner for his 18th of the season.
19min - United fashion the best chance of the game so far as Danny Guthrie, running towards a disorganised Pilgrims backline, slips a through pass for Andy Carroll. The Geordie striker checks inside N'Gala and shifts the ball onto hus favoured left boot. But, with the whole goal to aim at, an untimely bobble sees Carroll lift over the crossbar from 12 yards with just Stockdale to beat.
14min - Danny Simpson drops a teasing ball over the shoulder of Bhasera for Routledge to chase but the Zimbabwe full-back manages to recover and slides to dispossess the United man inside the area - good challenge.
11min - Joey Barton looks to get Wayne Routledge in the clear with a raking, crossfield pass but the ball has slightly too much weight and bounces away for a goal-kick with the jet-heeled wideman in hot pursuit.
2min - Alan Judge sweeps the resulting corner out-swinging onto the head of Bondz N'Gala haring in unmarked from the edge of the area. The West Ham loan defender has timed his run to perfection but, sadly for Argyle, his header lacks the execution and he flashes erratically wide - that was a chance.
1min - Argyle are quickly on the offensive and Duguid and Johnson combine to create an opening for Jamie Mackie, The former Exeter frontman receives Johnson's low pullback 12 yards out and stings the palms of Steve Harper with a well-driven first-time effort. The ball bounces loose and Mike Williamson hacks to the safety of the stand.
Plymouth get us started attacking the end where the Geordies are housed - United need just a point to clinch the title!
It's a balmy Spring night here in Devon with the Toon Army basked in sunshine away to our right. Alan Smith leads the yellow-kitted visitors from the tunnel as The Magpies acknowledge the 2,000-strong contingent of travelling fans.
FABRICIO Coloccini has lost his fitness race ahead of tonight's potentially title-clinching clash at a sunny Home Park.
The Argentine injured his hamstring during last Tuesday's 2-1 win at Reading and will be replaced by Fitz Hall.
Hall himself has been absent in recent weeks because of a hamstring problem but comes in to partner Mike Williamson at the heart of the defence.
Top scorer Kevin Nolan, who took his league tally to 17 with a match-winning double at Reading, is now just two goals behind the division's top marksman Peter Whittingham of Cardiff City.
PAFC: David Stockdale, Karl Duguid, Carl Fletcher, Damien Johnson, Jamie Mackie, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Reda Johnson, Richard Eckersley, Alan Judge, Bondz N'Gala, Onismor Bhasera
Subs: Romain Larieu, Chris Clark, Kari Arnason, Rory Fallon, Chris Barker, Joe Mason, Yala Bolasie
NUFC: Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Fitz Hall, Mike Williamson, Jose Enrique, Wayne Routledge, Alan Smith (c), Danny Guthrie, Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll
Subs: Peter Lovenkrands, Ryan Taylor, Leon Best, Fabrice Pancrate, Shola Ameobi, Tim Krul, Tamas Kadar
Attendance: 13, 111
Referee: Craig Pawson