Newcastle: Andy Carroll bagged a brilliant hat-trick as Newcastle romped to a 6-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday at St James’ Park.
Chris Hughton’s team, back in the Premier League after winning promotion from the Championship last season, secured their first top-flight victory since May 2009 in stunning fashion.
The Magpies got an early break when Villa striker John Carew missed a first half penalty and they took full advantage as Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan and Carroll all got on the scoresheet in the space of 22 minutes.
England Under-21 striker Carroll struck twice more after half-time to underline his growing reputation and Nolan added his second to ensure Newcastle bounced back from their defeat at Manchester United on Monday.
There was more good news for Newcastle on Sunday as the club agreed a deal to sign Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote from Dutch side FC Twente. The 24-year-old has passed a medical and is now awaiting a work permit.
Hughton said: “I couldn’t have forecast this. We expected a very tough game, but once we got the first goal that lifted any fears we might have had and we played some very good attacking football.
“We managed to keep it going and score some very good goals. The quality and intensity of our play was too much for them.”
While Newcastle’s Toon Army celebrated a result which showed their team can compete in the top-flight, Villa are desperately in need of a permanent manager following Martin O’Neill’s pre-season departure.
Caretaker boss Kevin McDonald added: “Maybe I was a bit naive with the team I selected so I’ll take the blame for what happened against a decent Newcastle team.
“Marc Albrighton ran out of steam and they played him very well and Ciaran Clark had a knock, so maybe I was wrong to play them.”
Hughton’s side created the first opening with six minutes gone when Carroll met Barton’s free-kick but could not keep his header down.
But they had a lucky escape four minutes later when goalkeeper Steve Harper was penalised for a trip on Ashley Young as he tried to reach Stilian Petrov’s through-ball inside the box and referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot.
Carew stepped up to take the spot-kick but the Norway forward’s woeful effort went high over the bar.
Newcastle made Carew pay for that miss just two minutes later when Barton picked up possession 30 yards out and smashed a dipping shot past Brad Friedel and into the roof of the net.
The hosts played with much more confidence after that and increased their lead in the 32nd minute.
Jose Enrique crossed to the far post and Carroll headed the ball back towards Nolan. The midfielder’s initial header was parried by Friedel but Nolan pounced on the rebound to head home from four yards.
Villa were in disarray at the back now and gifted Newcastle a third goal in the 34th minute.
Richard Dunne miskicked in front of his own goal after Mike Williamson got his head to Barton’s corner and Newcastle-born Carroll blasted home from close-range.
Fridel came to Villa’s rescue with a brave save when Carroll and Nolan combined to put Wayne Routledge in on goal.
But there was no sign of a Villa revival and Carroll added to the visitors’ misery in the 67th minute when he reacted first in the box to lash home a loose ball.
Nolan made it 5-0 with three minutes left when he fired home after Shola Ameobi’s header had been blocked, then in stoppage time substitute Xisco set up Carroll to complete his hat-trick and send Newcastle into dreamland.