Carroll in tune for rampant Newcastle

Newcastle United 5 Cardiff City 1
Click to follow

John Terry might not be the only one who is not cut out for captaincy. Michael Chopra took the Cardiff armband against his hometown side, then watched helplessly as his former employers ruthlessly dismantled one of their main promotion rivals.

The stand-in captain clocked up a 19th game at St James' Park without troubling the scorers for Newcastle, Sunderland and now Cardiff, whose eight-game unbeaten record was torn to shreds inside the opening 20 minutes.

Another home-grown product, Andy Carroll, showed Chopra how it should be done with two first-half goals to help stretch Newcastle's advantage at the top of the Championship to six points courtesy of a 15-game unbeaten league run.

Only a late goal-line clearance from Gabor Gyepes denied the uncompromising forward a hat-trick and where Carroll excelled before the break, Peter Lovenkrands followed suit after it. The Dane came off the bench to embellish the victory with a close-range finish on 69 minutes, before adding a fifth off the inside of a post with eight minutes left.

The visitors twice struck the frame of Steve Harper's goal before the interval through Ross McCormack and Adam Matthews , then got a late consolation from Aaron Wildig. "They've just spent £5m on players in January," Dave Jones, the Cardiff manager, said. "We haven't."

"Andy's certainly No 9 material," Chris Hughton, the Newcastle manager who has vetoed the issuing of the iconic jersey this season, admitted. "The early goals allowed us to relax."

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Harper; Simpson, Williamson, Hall (Kadar, 82), Van Aanholt; Routledge, Guthrie, Nolan, Gutierrez (Taylor, 69); Best (Lovenkrands, 60), Carroll. Substitutes not used: Pancrate, Ameobi, Krul (gk), Ranger.

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Marshall; Matthews (Kennedy, h-t), Gerrard, Gyepes, McNaughton; Whittingham, Blake, McPhail (Wildig, 75), McCormack; Chopra, Bothroyd (Burke, 30). Substitutes not used: Enckelman (gk), Quinn, Taiwo, Feeney.

Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).