Magpies return to the top
Newcastle have returned to the top of the Championship table courtesy of a 1-0 success over Sheff Utd.
Last Updated: 02/11/09 10:33pm
Newcastle United have returned to the top of the Championship table courtesy of a 1-0 success over slumping Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Following a scrappy first half, the only goal of the game arrived nine minutes after the restart when Chris Morgan deflected home Ryan Taylor's long-range drive.
Kyle Walker was floored by Kevin Nolan in the build-up, however, Taylor did not wait around asking questions and fired a shot goalwards that took a wicked deflection, leaving Ian Bennett rooted.
Although United were fairly poor during the 90 minutes, they came into life in injury time and only a fine double save from Steve Harper denied Kevin Blackwell's side.
Harper first blocked Keith Treacy's back-post shot before somehow palming Darius Henderson's header wide from point-blank range as the Magpies held on for the points.
Henderson should have fired the Blades ahead in the third minute when springing the offside trap, but pulled his left-footed effort wide.
At the other end, Newcastle striker Andy Carroll's shot was superbly blocked by Walker, but the home side set the early pace.
A sweeping Blades move ended with Henderson teeing up Treacy, but the Irish winger's snapshot whistled over the crossbar.
Henderson then crossed for Stephen Quinn to shoot first time off target as Blackwell's side built up some momentum.
Newcastle midfielder Taylor later curled a right-footed free-kick high and wide and another last-ditch challenge from Walker denied Fabricio Coloccini.
Blades striker Ched Evans was inches wide with his angled shot after bustling on to Bennett's long clearance as a highly-combative first period - Morgan and Newcastle pair Carroll and Taylor were all booked for fouls - ended goalless.
A more purposeful Newcastle twice went close to breaking the deadlock within eight minutes of the restart.
Nolan's curling shot was pushed away at full stretch by Bennett, and Carroll's hanging header from Taylor's cross hit the woodwork.
But then Newcastle took the lead in fortuitous circumstances in the 54th minute.
Referee Friend adjudged Nolan's thumping challenge on Walker to be fair and with the defender prostrate, Taylor pounced on to the ball in space 25 yards from goal and unleashed a low right-footed shot that took a big deflection off Morgan to wrong-foot Bennett and nestle into the goalkeeper's bottom left-hand corner.
Walker limped off five minutes later and was replaced by Ryan France.
Treacy's quality cross was headed over by Stewart in the 61st minute as the Blades, roared on by most in a crowd of 26,536, battled gamely in search of an equaliser.
Evans' low free-kick was hoofed clear by Butt and visiting goalkeeper Harper blocked Henderson close-range effort.
Harper finished strongly - smothering Treacy's shot in injury time and then brilliantly denying Henderson's point-blank header as Newcastle held on.