Nolan puts title in Toon sights
Published 14/04/2010 | 05:00
Newcastle all-but secured the Championship title as Kevin Nolan's brace gave them victory.
Nolan struck twice before the break to take his tally to 18 for the season and put Chris Hughton's side nine points clear of second-placed West Brom with three games left.
The Magpies also boast a superior goal difference so have one hand on the title, but will need to make sweeping changes if they are to survive next season if this display is anything to go on.
Hughton's men were poor in the first 45 minutes while still taking a two-goal lead thanks to the clinical Nolan, but are on course to rack up 100 points. They barely improved in the second period but despite an own goal by full-back Danny Simpson, they held on for three more points.
Shane Long came close 10 minutes in when he beat Steve Harper to a pass but was unable to find the net from an acute angle.
Newcastle took the lead in the 20th minute with their first attack. Harper sent a long ball forward which was helped on by Shola Ameobi to Nolan, who fired home.
He tapped home his second just before the break from Wayne Routledge's cross and, although Simpson's own goal gave Reading hope after 72 minutes, Hughton's men held on.