Dwight Gayle brace puts Newcastle back top

Date published: Friday 30th December 2016 10:34

Dwight Gayle: Scores twice against Forest

Dwight Gayle: Scores twice against Forest

Dwight Gayle took his goal tally for the season to 19 as Newcastle bounced back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table with victory over 10-man Nottingham Forest.Gayle’s 63rd-minute volley and a scruffy second 10 minutes from time eventually settled a tight encounter after Nicolao Dimitru’s first goal for Forest had cancelled out Matt Ritchie’s early opener in front of a crowd of 52,228, the biggest of the season at St James’ Park.

Forest left Tyneside aggrieved after skipper Matt Mills was sent off on the hour in controversial circumstances four weeks after Newcastle duo Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett suffered a similar fate in a 2-1 defeat at the City Ground.

The hosts’ win, coupled with the postponement of leaders Brighton’s home game with Cardiff, saw Rafael Benitez’s side leapfrog the Seagulls to finish 2016 in pole position.

The match at the Amex Stadium was not the only fixture to fall foul of fog as Reading’s home game with Fulham was abandoned at half-time, with the score goalless.

Elsewhere, a superb overhead kick by Brett Pitman gave Ipswich a 2-1 victory as Bristol City’s struggles continued.

The Town striker brilliantly grabbed an 86th-minute winner, one that Ipswich ultimately deserved after finishing the game on top.

They went in at half-time a goal ahead thanks to Kevin Bru’s deft finish but Bristol City hit back when Tammy Abraham scored his 12th goal in 24 matches following a defensive mix-up involving Ipswich goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski and defender Christophe Berra.

It was left to Pitman to seal victory and relieve some of the pressure that had been mounting on manager Mick McCarthy.

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