Newcastle humbled by Commons touch

Derby County 3 Newcastle United 0

Newcastle's run of 15 matches without defeat ended unexpectedly and emphatically as Derby, who had beaten then second-placed Nottingham Forest in their last home game, this time toppled the Championship leaders in a performance that made nonsense of their relegation worries.

In fact, the heaviest of Newcastle's four defeats this season cost Chris Hughton's side top place as goals from Rob Hulse, Kris Commons and Shaun Barker enabled Derby to celebrate. The visitors' unbeaten sequence was the club's best in 60 years but West Bromwich Albion go ahead on goal difference following their 2-0 home victory over Scunthorpe.

Derby began only four points outside the bottom three but there had been signs of improvement. The defeat of Forest was followed by a draw at Sheffield United in which only a last-gasp equaliser denied them maximum points. A hint of stability, long sought by manager Nigel Clough, came in the shape of a first unchanged selection in more than a year.

"We've said that we can play anybody if we have our full side out or close to it and anyone who has seen us recently would have said that this result was probably coming," Clough said.

Newcastle had not lost a league match since Scunthorpe beat them in October and the shock was deeper for having thrashed Cardiff 5-1 last time out. But while it took Derby until the 40th minute to get their noses in front, when Hulse headed home a fine Commons cross, they were good value for their lead.

Newcastle forced goalkeeper Stephen Bywater to be at his best to keep out Wayne Routledge and Kevin Nolan before the break. At the start of the second half Andy Carroll headed home Routledge's cross within 20 seconds, only for referee Anthony Taylor to bring play back for a Newcastle free kick. Nicky Hunt's brave tackle then denied Nolan.

An attainable target became much more difficult, however, as Derby scored twice in the space of five minutes, first through Commons from the penalty spot after Michael Tonge had been tripped by Jonas Gutierrez, then Barker's volley after Hulse had looped the ball back into the penalty area following a half-cleared corner.

Hughton's response was to make a triple substitution but Derby were in no mood to relinquish control. "It is a blow but we have been the best team for most of the season and I'm quite sure there will be a desire to put things right in the next game," Hughton said.

Derby County (4-4-2): Bywater; Hunt, Barker, Buxton, McEveley; Tonge, Savage (Anderson, 88), Green, Pearson; Hulse (Martin, 88), Commons (Vidal, 81). Substitutes not used: Deeney (gk), Moxey, Teale, Porter.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Harper; Simpson, Williamson, Hall, Van Aanholt (Smith, 67); Routledge, Guthrie, Nolan, Gutierrez; Best (Lovenkrands, 67), Carroll (Ameobi, 67). Substitutes not used: Krul (gk), Kadar, Pancrate, Donaldson.

Referee: A Taylor (Greater Manchester).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project