Newcastle United 3-1 Brentford
Newcastle United moved up to second in the table with a comfortable win against Brentford in front of almost 52,000 at St James Park.
Newcastle won the game thanks to a find header from Clark and a brace from Gayle either side of half time, making it nine goals this campaign for the Toon number 9, whilst in form Hogan would give Brentford some consolation with the final goal of the game to make the final score 3-1 to the home side.
STARTING XI: Darlow, Anita, Lascelles (Hanley, 60), Clark, Dummett, Atsu (Yedlin, 72), Shelvey, Colback, Gouffran (Lazaar, 84), Perez, Gayle
With Huddersfield not playing until Sunday, Newcastle knew that they could pile the pressure on the Yorkshire side and Norwich with a win at home against a Brentford side that had also started well this campaign.
In truth the result was never in doubt either as from the first whistle it would be the team in black and white who would dominate. Having said that there would be an early scare for Newcastle when the visitors found too much space on the right flank only to find a wonderful cross headed harmlessly over Darlow's cross bar after 9 mixtures from Hogan.
Newcastle rarely seemed to get out of second gear and when a free kick was cleared on 11 minutes as far as the outstanding Jonjo Shelvey his cross would be finished off by and unmarked Clark to make it 1-0 Newcastle.
Newcastle would, for the most part, stay in complete control of the game from here. And when Brentford failed to clear a high ball into the box 5 minutes after the opener, Gayle would be on hand to double our lead, staying calm and giving himself a yard to shoot when unmarked on the penalty spot.
Newcastle could and should have finished the game off before half time but it would take until the 49th minute for the third goal to arrive. This time Shelvey again would be the provider, burning into the box and finding Gayle with a lovely left foot pass for the easiest of tap ins.
Whilst Brentford would get one back on 52, Newcastle would strangle all the life out of the game to ensure the 3 points stayed on Tyneside.
Whilst most of the Newcastle United players barely seems to get out of first gear that would not be said of there were probably three outstanding performances on the day in black and white. Both Gayle (for his two goals) and Clark (for his one and a commending performance at the back) should both be singled out, it was Jonjo Shelvey who stole the show with a quite breathtaking display.
His range of passing, his engine and his reading of the game were outstanding. His self control was also to be admired, always picking out the right ball, whether that be a pass of 3 or 30 yards he was quite simply outstanding.
Another three points then, and the big push goes on.....