Football: Newcastle enjoy sixth sense to go third

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The Independent Online
Newcastle United. . .3

Norwich City. . . . .0

While Arsenal were otherwise engaged in France last night, Newcastle took advantage of their absence to regain third place in the Premiership with a view to joining the European gravy train themselves next season. Last night's victory over Norwich was United's sixth win in a row.

With five players switching swiftly from defence to attack through the middle, Norwich troubled United early on. It was an unconventional tactic and it took the home side 25 minutes to create an opening.

Yet, after 37 minutes, Newcastle made no mistake when Scott Sellars took a corner on the left. Darren Peacock, United's pounds 2.7m signing from QPR last week who was making his debut, challenged Spencer Prior and the ball deflected to Ruel Fox. He found Andy Cole, who scored his 37th goal of the season with an angled drive.

Five minutes into the second half Newcastle went two up. Cole sent the ball into the path of Robert Lee who held off Ian Culverhouse to drive the ball past Bryan Gunn.

Norwich's reply was a series of quick passing moves that looked pretty, but they clearly missed Chris Sutton, absent for his first game of the season after he complained of chest pains.

With 70 minutes gone Newcastle made it 3-0 when Peter Beardsley dribbled his way into the penalty area and drew Gunn before calmly finding the far corner with a low drive.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Srnicek; Robinson, Neilson, Peacock, Beresford; Fox (Mathie, 80), Lee, Bracewell (Holland, 74), Sellars; Beardsley, Cole. Substitute not used: Hooper (gk).

Norwich City (4-5-1): Gunn; Bowen, Culverhouse, Prior, Woodthorpe; Adams (Akinbiyi, 66), Crook, Megson, Goss, Ullathorne; Eadie. Substitutes not used: Smith, Howie (gk).

Referee: T J Holbrook (Walsall).