Nolan strikes spur Newcastle

Captain Kevin Nolan led the way with a hat-trick as Newcastle matched the four-goal margin of their 6-2 victory in 1956. Although Sunderland had Titus Bramble sent off after 53 minutes for a professional foul they were already 3-0 down in a one-sided encounter.
In a late match, Liverpool defeated Bolton Wanderers 1-0 to fetch full points. After some insipid football, Maxi Rodriguez scored the winner for Liverpool in the 85th minute.
The result was all the more surprising in that it came after Newcastle had lost two and drawn one of their previous four home league games this season while Sunderland had lost only one league game this season.

It also came at the end of a week when Newcastle manager Chris Hughton had been subjected to media speculation that his job was on the line forcing the club to issue a statement of support.

Nolan put Newcastle two up with goals after 26 and 34 minutes while Shola Ameobi's penalty made it 3-0 at the break. Ameobi added his second after 70 minutes after barnstorming striker Andy Carroll's header came back off the bar and Nolan nodded in the fifth five minutes later.

Darren Bent got Sunderland's goal in the dying minutes. “It's fantastic, we got lucky with a couple of goals but we worked so hard today,” Nolan told Sky Sports. “That hat-trick will live with me forever.”

Hughton said: “We knew how big a game it was and you can see what it means to the fans. It was a fantastic team performance with some outstanding individual performances. We had that quality in front of goal today. It's been a tough week, but a very, very good day.”

The day's other derby in the Midlands between Aston Villa and Birmingham was of a very different order as the two teams fought out a dull goalless draw. Birmingham City manager, Alex Mcleish, praised the maturity of his players after the draw against Aston Villa.

The Blues boss believed his side had the better of the few chances in a game that featured little goal-mouth action. However, he was happy to come away from Villa Park with a share of the spoils.

“We’ll take the point, but one or two players are disappointed we didn’t take the chances we had. I thought it was a very good performance, very mature, very controlled and in the end we probably did have the better chances, except for Villa’s chance near the end,” McLeish told reporters.

The Birmingham manager highlighted the discipline of his players as one of the highlights of his team’s performance in a typical derby match that saw plenty of tough tackling.
“The discipline was excellent, Gardner in particular was treading on egg shells with his early booking, but it’s another stage in his development in dealing with that. So, well done to him."

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