League round-up: Carroll uses his head to haul Magpies back to the summit
Sunday 14 February 2010
Andy Carroll's 87th-minute header, Newcastle United's only effort on target in the entire match, earned the Magpies a fortunate point from a 1-1 draw at Swansea City that saw Chris Hughton's side reclaim the Championship summit.
After a tight first-half befitting the two meanest defences in the division, the hosts became more expansive and deservedly took the lead after 56 minutes when David Cotterill cut across the penalty area from the left to beat Steve Harper with a measured right-foot finish from 18 yards. Despite dominating, the Swans could not find a second goal and when substitute Leon Best's cross found Carroll isolated at the far post, the big striker headed in.
"Football sometimes is cruel," the Swans manager, Paulo Sousa, said. "Although Newcastle are the best side in the League, we are the best at playing football and we deserved more than we got today. We never had any luck and perhaps Andy Carroll should not have been on the field after elbowing Gary Monk a few minutes earlier. But I am not angry, the referee obviously saw it differently."
A Paul Gallagher hat-trick answered those who thought sixth-placed Leicester City might struggle without leading scorer Matt Fryatt, who broke his jaw in midweek. Michael Morrison and Martyn Waghorn also scored in the 5-1 crushing of Scunthorpe United, their biggest win in the Walkers Stadium.
Sheffield United lurk outside the top six after second-half goals by Henri Camara, a right-foot shot into the top corner, and a Darius Henderson header accounted for Bristol City 2-0. "Everyone played really well," the delighted Blades manager Kevin Blackwell said. "We used the ball intelligently and moved well off it."
Queens Park Rangers' turbulent season continues, beaten 1-0 at Coventry City, Gary Deegan scoring for the Sky Blues. City are well-placed for a late tilt at the play-offs; Rangers face a relegation battle.
How Barnsley must loathe the sight of Plymouth Argyle. The Tykes led 4-1 at Home Park earlier in the season but the match was abandoned. Yesterday they lost 3-1 at home to the Devonian strugglers, Carl Fletcher, Jamie Mackie and Rory Fallon scoring for Paul Mariner's side. "I've been banging on that we have got a tremendous team spirit and when you've got that you have a chance," Mariner said. "This team has got to believe in itself. We have a chance to get out of this."
Grant Holt and Gary Doherty scored as leaders Norwich City came from behind to win 2-1 at Brighton, while second-placed Leeds United needed a Charlie Daniels own goal 30 seconds from time to grab a point from a 1-1 draw at Leyton Orient. Swindon Town, fifth, drew 2-2 at Huddersfield and Millwall's rise continued after a 1-0 home win over Exeter, Neil Harris scoring his 14th goal of the season.
A good day for leaders Rochdale who did not play but saw Bournemouth, second, and Bury, third, both beaten 1-0 away at Dagenham & Redbridge and Chesterfield respectively.
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