Plymouth Argyle 0 Newcastle United 2

20 April 2010 09:10
Plymouth Argyle 0 Newcastle United 2

IT is said the city of Plymouth has the Spirit of Discovery', so what better place for Newcastle United to put the finishing touches to their ninemonth expedition in the Championship than 420 miles away from Tyneside.

There may be still two matches remaining to pass the 100-point mark but the Home Park pitch was the setting for thousands of Magpies fans to celebrate the victory which means they return to the Premier League as Football League champions.

Their coronation will have to wait until their homecoming on Saturday, when Roy Keane brings Ipswich Town to St James' Park, but last night reaffirmed Newcastle's position at the top of the second tier.

The defeat effectively relegated Plymouth but they started well forcing Newcastle to work through the gears to gain the upper hand.

They did that successfully and the result was wrapped up by half-time.

Andy Carroll's 18th of the season, a well-placed header, and a cleverly worked goal from Wayne Routledge, after a glorious pass from Joey Barton, had Newcastle two up before half an hour had passed.

Newcastle rarely looked in danger from there on in and duly claimed their 11th away win of the campaign, extending their winning run to seven matches, with just one defeat from their last 31 matches in the league.

Half of Newcastle's task had clearly been completed two weeks earlier, when promotion back to the Premier League was assured shortly before the victory over Sheffield United.

Having followed that up with impressive wins over Blackpool and Reading it was little wonder that their opponents last night paraded a Congratulations from the Green Army' flag on the Devon turf. It seemed to be a premature message for title winners as much as anything else.

And it would be hard to argue they don't deserve it with 2,500 fans making the arduous journey from the North-East.

It might not have looked that way in the opening minutes.

Steve Harper had to be alert to get down low to deny striker Jamie Mackie inside the first 60 seconds after midfielder Damien Johnson had worked himself to the line.

Then from the corner defender Bondz N'Gala was left unmarked to head an Alan Judge corner over from eight yards. Newcastle had started anything like league leaders.

However, they soon found their feet and gradually took control and they should have gone ahead three minutes earlier than they actually did.

After bringing an end to a Plymouth attack, Danny Guthrie's driving run through the middle ended with a clever pass for Carroll. Had he trusted his right foot more, he would have scored, instead he chose to cut inside and curled a shot off target with his preferred left.

That was quickly forgotten.

After forcing a corner, Carroll worked clear of his marker, Reda Johnson, before directing Barton's corner into David Stockdale's left corner with a neat header.

Plymouth had all of their early confidence knocked out of them in a flash and it only took eight minutes for the situation to worsen, with chants of we're going to Arsenal, you're going to Hartlepool

bellowing from the away end.

When Barton picked up possession in the middle little looked on. A quick exchange of passes with Guthrie, the second a clever flick from the latter, created the space for Barton to roll a pass behind left-back Onismor Bhasera for Routledge to chase.

Routledge's pace got him clear and then around former Darlington goalkeeper Stockdale before sliding his finish into the empty net. It was already game over and the title celebrations had well and truly begun.

Plymouth did push forward, more in hope than anything else, but found Harper, who made a fine low save to thwart Mackie's volley, and his defence solid. The closest they came before the break was when Judge curled inches wide of the upright from 20 yards.

Judge was the main threat for Plymouth. He regularly found space and looked to push on and he crashed a spectacular drive from 25 yards off Harper's crossbar midway through the second period.

But the dogged determination that has served Newcastle so well this season was apparent throughout last night.

On a difficult pitch, the defensive line stood firm and Newcastle only went looking for more when Shola Ameobi and Leon Best emerged from the bench.

Stockdale had to make an instinctive save to deny Barton from close range and Best's thunderbolt bounced back off the bar.

When the final whistle came it signalled a pitch invasion from away fans keen to celebrate with their heroes.

Match facts Goals:

Carroll (20mins, 0-1);

Routledge (28, 0-2) Bookings:

Carroll (35, foul) Referee:

Craig Pawson (Sheffield) 7 Attendance: 13,111



Stockdale 6; Eckersley 7, R Johnson 5, N'Gala 5, Bhasera 3 (Bolasie 81); Duguid 5, D Johnson 6, Fletcher 6, JUDGE 8; Wright-Phillips 4 (Mason 75), Mackie 7. Subs: Larrieu, Clark, Arnason, Fallon, Barker.


Harper 7; Simpson 6, Hall 7 (Kadar 83), Williamson 7, Enrique 6; Routledge 8, Smith 6, Guthrie 7, BARTON 8; Nolan 6 (Best 70); Carroll 7 (Ameobi 70).

Subs: Lovenkrands, Krul, Pancrate, Taylor.

MAN OF THE MATCH: JOEY Barton his ball for Routledge's goal was pure class

Source: Northern_Echo