Newcastle beat struggling Villa to go top

Yoan Gouffran's seventh goal of the season gave Newcastle a half-time lead

Newcastle United scored a goal in each half to beat Aston Villa and go a point clear at the top of the Championship.

Yoan Gouffran netted the opener from four yards and another goalmouth scramble resulted in Henri Lansbury turning the ball into his own net.

But Newcastle's victory was soured by the loss of top scorer Dwight Gayle, who limped off after 33 minutes.

Villa striker Scott Hogan was carried off on a stretcher late on and they are now winless in nine league matches.

Hogan, who cost £12m from Brentford in January, landed awkwardly after challenging for a header at a late Villa corner.

Gayle - the Championship's leading scorer with 20 league goals this season - appeared to suffer a recurrence of the hamstring problem which had kept him out for six matches.

Villa remain six points above the relegation zone, having collected only one point in 2017, although Steve Bruce's side had more than matched the Magpies until they fell behind.

Iceland midfielder Birkir Bjarnason went closest for the visitors, failing to hook in Hogan's flick-on from close range.

Newcastle's goal came soon after Gayle's departure, with Villa failing to properly clear a Matt Ritchie cross and French winger Gouffran tapping in.

After that, the hosts took control and often looked likely to extend their lead, although the second goal which took them above Brighton in the table came in fortunate circumstances.

Jamaal Lascelles met Jonjo Shelvey's corner and his effort hit Lansbury, who was stationed at the near post, before ricocheting into the net.

BBC

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