Brentford 1 Newcastle United 2: Benitez loses THREE players to injury in hard-fought win
Newcastle United returned to the top of the Championship this afternoon '“ but the club's win over Brentford came at a cost.
Rafa Benitez's side won 2-1 at Griffin Park this afternoon thanks to goals from Dwight Gayle and Daryl Murphy.
The result saw Newcastle got a point clear at the top of the Championship after Brighton and Hove Albion were beaten 2-0 at Deepdale by Preston North End.
But Gayle, Isaac Hayden and Vurnon Anita suffered injuries in the game, which was watched by United owner Mike Ashley.
Ashley was at the match with United managing director Lee Charnley and Keith Bishop, his advisor.
United, energetic and enthusiastic with and without the ball, made a bright start, but their final ball let them down.
And they deservedly took the lead in the 19th minute thanks to Gayle, who broke down the left and beat Daniel Bentley with a fine left-footed strike.
Gayle, however, soon signalled to the bench that he was struggling.
Benitez, taking no chances, quickly replaced him with Murphy.
Newcastle didn't look the same team without Gayle, and Brentford, taking a direct approach, fought back as the half-time break approached.
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Karl Darlow twice denied Vibe, and United survived a nervous final few minutes.
But they went behind early in the second half after failing to deal with a corner. Vibe netted from close range to level.
Vibe went on to strike the post later in the half.
Benitez lost Isaac Hayden and substitute Vurnon Anita to injuries.
United retook the lead thanks to a 79th-minute goal from Murphy, who headed a Perez cross past Bentley.
But they first had to get through a nine tortuous minutes of extra time in which Brentford laid seige to Darlow's goal.
Benitez's team are also seven points ahead of third-placed Leeds United.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Hayden (Anita, 62, Hanley, 70), Colback; Ritchie, Perez, Gouffran; Gayle (Murphy, 28). Subs not used: Sels, Sterry, Ameobi, Lazaar.
BRENTFORD: Bentley; Field, Egan (Hofmann, 87), Dean, Bjelland, Colin; McEachran (Jota, 80), Woods, Yennaris; Sawyers (Clarke, 90); Vibe. Subs not used: Bonham, Hogan, Kerschbaumer, Barbet.
Goals: Gayle 19, Vibe 52, Murphy 79
Bookings: Dummett 31, Vibe 81
Referee: Christopher Kavanagh (Lancashire)