Nolan sends Magpies top

24 October 2009 05:30
Kevin Nolan scored a fine last-minute winner as Newcastle United moved back to the top of the Championship table after a battling 2-1 success over Doncaster Rovers at St James' Park. The Magpies appeared to be heading for a fifth game without a win after Doncaster took an 18th minute lead through Dean Shiels. Andy Carroll drew Newcastle level midway through the second half before Martin Woods missed from the penalty spot for Doncaster. Newcastle then saw Zurab Khizanishvili sent off for violent conduct, only for Nolan to come to the rescue with a late winner. With captain Alan Smith suspended, Newcastle brought Nicky Butt back into their side, while there was also a first league start for Hungarian defender Tamas Kadar as Chris Hughton looked to generate a response to the defeat to Scunthorpe in midweek. But it was Doncaster, making their first visit to St James' since 1973, who started brighter, with their five-man midfield crowding Newcastle out and former United junior James Coppinger causing an uncomfortable early moment for their defence with a fizzing cross that forced Steve Harper into action. Doncaster's composed start was in stark contrast to their hosts and it was fully deserved when they went ahead thanks to a superbly constructed goal. Coppinger started the move with a ball into the box and, after Woods had superbly flicked Billy Sharp free, the on-loan striker squared for the waiting Shiels who slotted home into an open goal for his second of the season. With the home crowd instantly angered, Danny Guthrie tried to get Newcastle going with a low drive that Neil Sullivan dealt with, but the atmosphere became increasingly hostile as Hughton's men consistently gave away possession around the Doncaster box. Marlon Harewood, still to settle since his loan switch from Aston Villa, did manage to get a header on target, before a fine save from Harper prevented United from going further behind after Woods unleashed a stinging drive from 25 yards. Newcastle then had two fine chances to equalise in the three minutes before the interval. The first saw Jonas Gutierrez blaze over with the goal at his mercy after Sullivan had blocked Nolan's header, before Carroll nodded wide as he flung himself onto the end of a Gutierrez cross. Shortly after the break, Ryan Taylor's dipping corner forced Sullivan to react sharply under his own crossbar, before Carroll conjured up the most unbelievable miss after 53 minutes. The striker played a neat one-two with Harewood to home in on Sullivan's goal but, with the veteran shot-stopper having already gone to ground and Carroll six yards out, he somehow managed to fire aimlessly wide of the left-hand post. A crestfallen Harewood was roundly booed by the home fans as he was replaced by Nile Ranger, but Carroll, who was spared the axe by his manager after his misses, repaid the faith with a stunning equaliser after 67 minutes. His third goal of the campaign saw him volley home Guthrie's chip pass from the edge of the corner of the six-yard box, flashing his shot across Sullivan and into the far corner. The hosts were soon to be reprieved, though, as Woods spurned a glorious chance to restore his side's lead. Referee Darren Deadman had little hesitation in pointing to the spot with 15 minutes to go after Taylor blocked Sharp's header with his hand, but Woods, with two penalties to his name already this season, planted his effort six feet wide of the left-hand post. Loan defender Khizanishvili was then dismissed five minutes from time after a coming together with Sharp, which also saw the striker booked. But undeterred by losing a man, Newcastle ploughed on and got their reward when Nolan picked up Guthrie's pass before firing beyond Sullivan to win it.

Source: SKY_Sports