Guthrie cracker sends Toon top
Leicester undone by Newcastle on soggy Tyneside
Last Updated: 31/08/09 10:02pm
Guthrie: Fine strike
A thumping strike from Danny Guthrie handed Newcastle United a 1-0 victory over Leicester City to ensure the Magpies climbed to the top of the Championship table.
In a game of few chances, Guthrie fired the winner on 52 minutes at St James' Park to seal a fourth straight league victory for Chris Hughton's charges.
Newcastle had Steve Harper to thank in the first half as the goalkeeper made two smart saves to deny the Foxes, who have impressed this term.
But Nigel Pearson, who has managed the Magpies on a caretaker basis, saw his side suffer a first loss of the season as Guthrie rifled home, assisted by 18-year-old Nile Ranger.
A crowd of 38,813 left St James' Park delighted with the result, but wondering just how long the run of results will continue with the squad looking thinner by the day.
On a day when the club loaned Spaniard Xisco to Racing Santander for the season, Newcastle were without Fabricio Coloccini after he joined up with the Argentina squad and injured quartet Nicky Butt, Jonas Gutierrez, Shola Ameobi and Andy Carroll, and Hughton decided to pair teenager Ranger with Kevin Nolan in attack.
The Magpies went close with four minutes gone when Geremi and Guthrie broke at pace to set up Nolan, whose right-footed shot was saved comfortably by Chris Weale.
They had appeals for a penalty turned down when Ryan Taylor's 15th-minute cross clipped Paul Gallagher's arm, and Wayne Brown was fortunate to escape after a more blatant handball a few seconds later.
However, it was Harper who had to make the game's first real save six minutes later when Newcastle supporter Steve Howard met Matt Oakley's corner with a bullet header.
Howard was proving a real handful and Alan Smith's foul on the striker presented Gallagher with a 38th-minute free-kick, Harper once again coming to the rescue with a fine diving save.
Matty Fryatt might have done better in injury time when he made the most of Danny Simpson's misjudgment to home in on goal, but his left-footed effort was well off target.
Ranger whistled a right-footed shot just wide from 25 yards within seconds of the restart, and the youngster played a part in the opening goal with 52 minutes gone.
Nolan laid off Harper's clearance to him and he fed Guthrie to step inside defender Jack Hobbs and smash the ball past Weale.
Geremi might have doubled his side's advantage within three minutes with a swerving drive which just evaded the bottom corner as Newcastle went for the kill.
Smith, Nolan and Joey Barton all went close to a second as Ranger repeatedly carved the City defence open, and despite a rousing finish from Leicester, Newcastle saw out time to claim the points.
Sky Bet Championship
|4||Queens Park Rangers||33||60|
|8||Brighton and Hove Albion||33||50|