New­cas­tle ex­tend lead

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

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 sea­son 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.

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 play­off places in sev­enth place.

The meet­ing of two of Eng­land’s fallen giants brought a crowd of 36,002 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 free­kick, 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.

Garry Monk’s Leeds re­sponded pos­i­tively, with New­cas­tle goal­keeper Karl Dar­low sav­ing smartly from Luke Ayling and Eu­nan O’Kane ei­ther side of half­time.

But Gayle dou­bled New­cas­tle’s lead in the 54th minute, slid­ing in to touch home Vurnon Anita’s low cross af­ter a slick move down the vis­i­tors’ right flank.

In games played Satur­day, Jaap Stam’s Read­ing went third in the English Cham­pi­onship with a 3-0 win at home to Bur­ton on Satur­day.

“Hope­fully we can stay up there, but we’re not aim­ing for that third or fourth spot yet. We’re not fo­cused on get­ting into a cer­tain po­si­tion in the ta­ble,” said Stam.

Ian Hol­loway started his sec­ond spell as Queens Park Rangers man­ager with a 2-1 win at home to Nor­wich as the Ca­naries suf­fered a fourth straight de­feat.

Neil Warnock con­tin­ued his re­vival of Cardiff City with a 3-2 win over Hud­der­s­field. Warnock said “games like this Cardiff win keep him “out of re­tire­ment”. Strikes from Sean Mor­ri­son, Ju­nior Hoi­lett and Rickie Lam­bert sent the 67-year-old man­ager home happy – de­spite Tommy Smith and Phil Billing’s won­der-strike mak­ing it a nervy end­ing.

Black­burn bounced back from con­ced­ing af­ter just 33 sec­onds to beat Brent­ford 3-2 while in the late kick­off Britt As­som­ba­longa scored both goals – in­clud­ing one af­ter just 17 sec­onds – as Not­ting­ham For­est de­feated Ip­swich 2-0 and kept their first clean sheet of the sea­son. – Agen­cies

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