Scunthorpe 2 Newcastle 1: Irons show size of caretaker Hughton's Toon task
Chris Hughton must be thinking life was much simpler when he could go about his job as Newcastle's caretaker boss and not their manager elect. Later this week, Hughton is expected to be confirmed in the job full-time, but since talk of owner Mike Ashley's offer emerged, Newcastle have slumped to defeat at Nottingham Forest and they were undone by Scunthorpe, despite dominating for long periods. Two second-half goals from Martyn Woolford consigned Newcastle to a fourth game without a victory, but Hughton still believes his future lies at St James' Park. Irons in the fire: Martyn Woolford celebrates his second goal in front of the delirious Scunthorpe faithful after consigning Newcastle to defeat Irons in the fire: Martyn Woolford celebrates his second goal in front of the delirious Scunthorpe faithful after consigning Newcastle to defeat 'It will have no effect at all,' he said, referring to this result and his contract offer from Ashley. 'My thoughts are all about tonight, although of course this defeat makes Saturday's game (at home to Doncaster) even bigger.' More... * Blackpool 3 Sheffield United 0 * Ipswich 1 Watford 1 * Middlesbrough 2 Derby 0 * Nottingham Forest 1 Barnsley 0 * QPR 4 Reading 1 * West Bromwich Albion 0 Swansea 1 * Championship round-up: The rest of Tuesday night's action Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan could have helped himself to a first-half hat-trick but instead took home memories of three near misses and a heap of regrets. Only after Woolford's 52nd-minute strike had opened the scoring for Scunthorpe did Newcastle's leading hitman bag his seventh goal of the season. 'It's very frustrating,' admitted Hughton. 'On the balance of play and chances, that was a game we should have won. There's pressure on us. Everybody expects us to do well in this division and we carry that into every game.' Losing control: Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan scored his seventh of the season but missed a series of decent opportunities earlier Losing control: Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan scored his seventh of the season but missed a series of decent opportunities earlier Nolan's leveller briefly restored Newcastle's belief and they looked likely to return to the North East with all three points. However, Scunthorpe proved resilient and when Woolford beat the offside trap from Sam Togwell's through ball, he was the calmest man in Glanford Park as he slid the ball under the onrushing Steve Harper. 'It's a great win for us,' said Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins. 'When we got promoted, this was the game everyone was looking for. We've had to defend very well and ride our luck but we've got goals in this team and we're always going to be a threat.' Scunthorpe fans taunted their visitors with chants of 'You're not famous any more' after Woolford's first goal: expectations are very different for Adkins' side. Merely surviving in the Championship would be a feat to further enhance Adkins' reputation. Having already claimed the scalps of Derby, Preston and Sheffield United this season, Scunthorpe look to have a far better chance of staying up than when they last played at this level two years ago. Adkins added: 'There are a lot of lessons we've learned. We've got a bit more resolve about us and a bit more quality in our squad. 'We're always going to have the smallest fan-base and the smallest budget in this division but it's what you do on the pitch that counts. We've got a fantastic spirit and a great set of lads.' Newcastle started at a frenetic pace, with Nolan failing to take advantage of Danny Guthrie's first-minute cross, then being denied by Joe Murphy's athletic save moments later. Hughton's men were sharp and crisp in their passing, fluid and fast in their movement. Scunthorpe struggled to keep what scraps of possession they could claim. The difference was never more evident than in each side's early attacking forays. Only Murphy's shoulder stopped Nolan's back-heeled flick finding the target; at the other end, striker Gary Hooper lashed his effort into the Scunthorpe sky from six yards out. Slowly, though, the hosts began to find their rhythm. Woolford pulled a 20-yard volley just wide from Paul Hayes's chip before Togwell wasted the best chance of the first half. In the final analysis, it didn't matter.
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