Newcastle United 2 Wigan Athletic 1: Benitez's side go 10 points clear of beaten Huddersfield

Dwight Gayle, centre
Dwight Gayle, centre

Championship leaders Newcastle United extended their lead over third-placed Huddersfield Town this afternoon.

Rafa Benitez's side beat Wigan Athletic 2-1 at St James's Park to open up a 10-point gap between themselves and David Wagner's side, who were beaten 1-0 at home by Burton Albion.

Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie were on target for Newcastle, who remain a point clear of second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion.

United made a steady start. They probed away, but found clearcut opportunities hard to come by.

Gayle forced a save from Wigan goalkeeper Matt Gilks before Newcastle got their 37th-minute breakthrough.

Mohamed Diame, playing against his former club, put a good ball across the box and Gayle reacted at the far post to score his 22nd goal of the campaign.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez

United, however, surrendered their lead after the break.

Michael Jacobs got past Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles and dinked the ball over the advancing Karl Darlow.

Benitez's side were back in the lead in the 57th minute. Ritchie reacted first after his initial shot struck the post and the winger was able to head the ball past Gilks.

United goalkeeper denied Callum Connolly at the other end of the pitch, while Ritchie felt he should have had a penalty after going down in the box under a late challenge.

The game also saw Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden, a late substitute, make his comeback following ankle surgery.

Brighton, meanwhile, beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 at the Amex Stadium to keep the pressure on United.

Leeds and Reading, in fourth and fifth place respectively, play this evening.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Anita, Hanley, Lascelles, Dummett; Shelvey, Colback; Ritchie, Diame (Atsu, 62), Gouffran (Hayden, 70); Gayle (Perez, 80). Subs not used: Elliot, Gamez, Mbemba, Mitrovic.

WIGAN ATHLETIC: Gilks, Connolly, Buxton, Burn, Warnock, MacDonald (Morgan, 60), Power, Morsy (Gilbey, 46), Hanson, Jacobs, Bogle (Colclough, 46). Subs not used: Haugaard, Perkins, Obertan, Byrne.

Goals: Gayle 37, Jacobs 50, Ritchie 57

Bookings: Diame 17, Burn 29, Morsy 39

Attendance: 51,849

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire)