Dwight Gayle brace fires New­cas­tle five points clear


LON­DON: Dwight Gayle scored twice as Rafael Ben­itez’s re­lent­less New­cas­tle United won 2-0 at Leeds United yes­ter­day to move five points clear at the top of the Cham­pi­onship.

Gayle pun­ished a howler by Leeds goal­keeper Rob Green to put New­cas­tle ahead in the 23rd minute and net­ted the vis­i­tors’ sec­ond early in the sec­ond half to take his tally for the cam­paign to 13 goals.

It was New­cas­tle’s eighth straight win in the English sec­ond tier, keep­ing them on course for an im­me­di­ate re­turn to the Premier League.

“The per­for­mance of the team de­fend­ing and at­tack­ing has been bril­liant,” Ben­itez told Sky Sports. “It’s good and all we have to do is keep do­ing the same thing, keep play­ing with the same in­ten­sity, no com­pla­cency.

“We know that un­til the end ev­ery­thing can hap­pen, so we have to ap­proach ev­ery game the same.” Ben­itez’s men are five points clear of sec­ond-place Brighton and Hove Al­bion and nine points above third-place Read­ing.

Leeds re­main a point out­side the play-off places in sev­enth place. “We gave them a goal, so ob­vi­ously that against a good side makes it dif­fi­cult,” said Leeds man­ager Garry Monk. “I’m happy with my team’s ef­fort. Ob­vi­ously I’m dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult, but it doesn’t change any­thing for us.” The meet­ing of two of Eng­land’s fallen giants brought a crowd of 36,000 to El­land Road-the first time Leeds had sold out a league game in al­most six years.

Green pro­duced an alert early block to deny Gayle from Jonjo Shelvey’s quick free-kick, but mid­way through the first half the for­mer Eng­land goal­keeper’s blun­der gifted New­cas­tle the lead.

Forced back onto his goal-line by Jack Col­back’s lofted ball, Green ap­peared caught in two minds and dropped the ball right in front of him, al­low­ing the op­por­tunis­tic Gayle to stab home.

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