Newcastle storm ten points clear
Newcastle 2 Middlesbrough 0:Strikers Marlon Harewood and Shola Ameobi teamed up to fire Newcastle ten points clear at the top of the Coca-Cola Championship.
Harewood’s 16th-minute strike and Ameobi’s 59th minute header were enough to see off derby rivals Middlesbrough, who now trail the Magpies by 20 points after winning just one of their nine games since Gareth Southgate was sacked.
However, the Teessiders left St James’ Park feeling hard done by in front of a crowd of 49,644 — a record for a Championship fixture — after their appeals for a push in the run-up to Harewood’s goal and their claims for a first-half penalty went unanswered by referee Kevin Friend.
Newcastle boss Chris Hughton now admits that complacency is the biggest threat to their ultimate objective of bouncing straight back up to the Premier League.
He said: “It’s the biggest challenge now. We are where we are, we are the team to be shot down and we are the team everybody has to catch.
“We have got to make sure that as a group of lads, a staff and a club, we continue to do the things that have got us here in the first place.
“That is what we have got to guard against. The games won’t come any easier than they have done in this first half of the season, and if we go about our business in the same way, then of course we have got a chance.”