Newcastle continued their unbeaten home record in the Coca-Cola Championship as they registered a comfortable 3-0 win against Preston.

Peter Lovenkrands had opened the scoring for the home side in only the third minute and, despite the visitors creating more than there fair share of chances, Kevin Nolan's close-range strike extended Newcastle's lead after 55 minutes.

Ryan Taylor rounded off proceedings by scoring in injury time for the second consecutive game to bring Newcastle's goal tally in their last two games to seven as well as extending their lead at the top of the table to five points.

The afternoon began ominously for the visitors when Newcastle, who headed into the game having won 16 of the 18 matches in which they have scored first, opened the scoring after Lovenkrands cross from the left-hand side of the box looped over Preston keeper Andy Lonergan and into the top corner.

North End refused to be fazed after falling behind and nearly levelled matters after 16 minutes when John Parkin fired in a rasping left-footed strike from close range that Newcastle keeper Steve Harper instinctively fended away.

Leon Best, who had replaced the injured Lovenkrands after 14 minutes, was adjudged offside shortly afterwards when played through by Nolan, while at the other end Chris Sedgwick narrowly failed to pick out an unmarked Parkin with a cross from the right.

Harper was forced into a save at his near post just after the half hour when Paul Coutts' superb pass put in Billy Jones only for the midfielder to cross straight at the Newcastle keeper.

Newcastle countered strongly and came close doubling their lead when Alan Smith's volley from outside the area was smartly turned away by Lonergan, the Preston keeper producing an even better save to repel Mike Williamson's point-blank header from the resulting corner.

At the other end, and in the dying seconds of the half, the ever-dangerous Parkin cracked in a superb volley that flew inches wide of Harper's far post, while Andy Carroll forced Lonergan into a save early in the second half after a neat turn and shot.

Newcastle continued look the more threatening and finally extended their advantage shortly before the hour when Nolan exchanged passes in the box with Smith and side-footed past Lonergan to register his 11th goal of the season.

Preston still looked a threat going forward, with Tom Williams' inviting cross flashing across goal shortly afterwards.

Parkin also went close with a volley, however Carroll's almost identical strike at the other end flew just over.

Preston nearly grabbed a late consolation when Ross Wallace's deflected free-kick spun wide of Harper's post, with Taylor compounding their misery in stoppage time when he lashed home from six yards out following Fabrice Pancrate's cross.

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Topics:
#Paul Coutts
#Ross Wallace
#Tom Williams
#Leon Best
#Andy Lonergan
#Football
#Ryan Taylor
#Kevin Nolan
#Billy Jones
#Championship
#Alan Smith
#Mike Williamson
#Steve Harper
#Preston North End
#Peter Lovenkrands
#Chris Sedgwick
#Paul Coutts
#Ryan Taylor
#Billy Jones