Dwight Gayle sends Newcastle to the top of the Championship

Dwight Gayle

Dwight Gayle

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Dwight Gayle fired Newcastle United to the top of the Championship tonight.

Rafa Benitez's side beat Barnsley 2-0 at Oakwell, where they were backed by 5,501 supporters.

And Gayle netted twice to take his goal tally for the season to 11.

The result lifted the club above Norwich City, who were held to a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage by Fulham.

Benitez recalled Matt Ritchie, Mohamed Diame and Isaac Hayden to his starting XI at Oakwell.

Barnsley edged a keenly-contested first half, but Newcastle took control of the game after the break.

Newcastle fans at Oakwell

Newcastle fans at Oakwell

Gayle netted at the far post from a Ritchie corner in the 49th minute, and he added a second midway through the half.

Ritchie played played the ball forward from the halfway line, and Gayle was able to poke the ball past Adam Davies.

United were able to see the game out to go a point clear of Norwich at the top of the table.

Benitez's side take on Ipswich Town at St James's Park on Saturday.

BARNSLEY: Davies; Yiadom, Jackson, Roberts, Bree (Kpekawa, 83), Kent, Hourihane, Morsy, Hammill (Bradshaw, 71), Winnall, Watkins (Lee, 71). Subs not used: Townsend, MacDonald, Bird, Williams.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Anita, Lacelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey, Hayden; Ritchie (Atsu, 82), Diame (Colback, 90), Gouffran; Gayle. Subs not used: Sels, Yedlin, Lazaar, Perez, Mitrovic.

Goals: Gayle 49, 68

Bookings: Hourihane 38, Lascelles 40, Shelvey 74

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

Attendance: 18,597 (5,501 Newcastle)