Joe Murphy's was perhaps the most well-earned pint of Guinness on St Patrick's Day, but the Irish goalkeeper's restorative post-match tipple came after he had nevertheless been beaten on three occasions by a Newcastle United side who last night took another significant step towards ensuring their Premier League exile is confined to a single season.
Andy Carroll claimed his second goal of the contest with a deft chip to beat the over-employed Murphy 10 minutes after the re-start, and the only surprise was that a sixth consecutive home victory – for the first time since 2004 – was not accompanied by a more handsome margin of victory.
The failure to embellish their dominance thanks to a stunning display from Murphy will be tempered by increasing their advantage on Nottingham Forest to a dozen points. Billy Davies' third-placed side visit here on Monday week, by which time Newcastle's elevation will be in sight, with a maximum of five victories required in their remaining 10 games. "We've worked hard to put ourselves into a wonderful position," admitted Chris Hughton, their manager.
Scunthorpe humbled Newcastle at Glanford Park in October, a watershed moment in the Championship leaders' season as they have lost just once in 23 league games since. There was little chance of a repeat as the visitors succumbed to a fifth consecutive away defeat to leave them in the bottom three and, like Newcastle, likely to exit this division after a single season, albeit in the opposite direction.
Two goals in the opening quarter turned a contest into a procession, Carroll rising unmarked to head home Danny Guthrie's 10th minute corner, before, 12 minutes later, Peter Lovenkrands ran onto a Wayne Routledge pass to slide in his 12th goal in 11 games. Murphy's over-time kept things respectable.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Harper; Simpson, Coloccini, Hall, Enrique (Kadar, 75); Routledge, Nolan, Guthrie, Gutierrez; Carroll (Best, 75), Lovenkrands (Ranger, 82).
Substitutes not used: Krul (gk), Taylor, Pancrate, Butt.
Scunthorpe United (4-5-1): Murphy; A Wright, Raynes, Jones, Williams; Thompson, O'Connor (Togwell, 56), J Wright (Woolford, 72), McCann, Forte; Hayes (McDermott, 55).
Substitutes not used: Lillis (gk), Milne, Woolford, Canavan.
Referee: P Crossley (Kent).