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).

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam