Hot strikers stun Cardiff: Match Review

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Andy Carroll and Peter Lovenkrands blasted Newcastle six points clear at the top of the Coca-Cola Championship table as fourth-placed Cardiff were routed 5-1 on Tyneside.

Carroll plundered a double inside a devastating opening 15 minutes and in between, was instrumental in defender Gabor Gyepes putting through his own goal as the home side wrapped up the points barely before they had got their second wind.

Even Stephen McPhail, playing his first game since returning from treatment for cancer, was unable to stem the tide as Cardiff wilted in the face of a storm and a delighted crowd of 44,028 saw substitute Lovenkrands claim a brace of his own as Chris Hughton's men extended their unbeaten league run to 15 games.

Former Magpies striker Michael Chopra had promised not to celebrate if he scored at St James' Park, but his restraint rarely looked like being tested on a black night for the Welshmen.

Hughton fielded all six of his January transfer acquisitions in his starting line-up, and that meant debuts for Leon Best and Fitz Hall and a first appearance at St James' for Patrick van Aanholt.

But it was one of the old guard who struck the first blow with just three minutes gone after Gyepes had conceded a third-minute corner as Wayne Routledge broke through.

Danny Guthrie's cross was headed back across goal by Hall and flicked on by Kevin Nolan for Carroll to stab home from close range and give his side the perfect start.

The 21-year-old striker should have collected his eighth goal of the season three minutes later when he smashed a left-foot shot against the foot of the post, but the unfortunate Gyepes could only help the rebound into his own net as the Magpies raced into a 2-0 lead.

Ross McCormack might have pulled one back for the visitors with a stinging eighth-minute volley which cannoned back off the bar, before Carroll claimed his second of the came when he met Simpson's inch-perfect cross with an unstoppable header.

Bluebirds full-back Adam Matthews drifted a 20th-minute cross on to the angle of bar and post with keeper Steve Harper once again beaten, but it was not Cardiff's night.

The second half was never likely to start as explosively as the first, although Harper had to be on his toes to turn over Chopra's 51st-minute shot after it looped up off Hall.

Dave Jones' men were enjoying plenty of possession, but were rarely able to trouble Hughton's rearguard, and they were made to pay with 21 minutes remaining when Routledge fed Lovenkrands and he finished with aplomb.

Carroll was denied a hat-trick by Gyepes' 80th-minute goal-line clearance, but Lovenkrands made it 5-0 with a fine finish two minutes later - with substitute Aaron Wildig's late strike scant consolation for the demoralised visitors.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Danny Guthrie
Leon Best
Wayne Routledge
Gabor Gyepes
Kevin Nolan
Aaron Wildig
Ross McCormack
Steve Harper
Cardiff City
Newcastle United
Adam Matthews
Michael Chopra
Stephen McPhail
Fitz Hall
Peter Lovenkrands
Patrick Van Aanholt

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