- Newcastle’s fifth straight win in all competitions
- Gouffran and Yedlin on target for the Magpies
- Derby suffer back-to-back Championship defeats
- One goal in six league games for the Rams
NEWCASTLE United re-affirmed their Championship promotion credentials with a fourth successive league win as Derby County’s slow start to the season continued.
Yohan Gouffran’s stunning 12-yard volley broke the deadlock at the iPro Stadium after 20 minutes.
Derby – toothless in the first period – went closest when Craig Bryson’s effort tested Matz Sels and debutant Ikechi Anya’s cross fortuitously hit the crossbar in the second half.
But the assured Magpies sealed a deserved win in stoppage time through substitute DeAndre Yedlin, who slid in with Martin Olsson to bundle home from close range.
It was also a fourth successive clean sheet for Rafa Benitez’s men, who put in another solid display as they moved up to second in the table on goal difference.
Derby, meanwhile, slip to 19th as their struggles in front of goal continued against the promotion favourites, now boasting just a solitary goal in six league games under Nigel Pearson.
The former Newcastle assistant manager handed debuts to on-loan Watford winger Anya and record signing Matej Vydra, and a first start to James Wilson, to add more firepower after the surprise 1-0 defeat to Burton Albion before the international break.
Derby imposed themselves early on and had a penalty appeal waved away on 12 minutes after Olsson went down under Vurnon Anita’s challenge but referee Darren Bond – a late replacement for James Linington who pulled his calf in the warm-up – was not interested in the slightest.
Newcastle – who recalled Jack Colback and Dwight Gayle for Isaac Hayden and Ayoze Perez – grew into the game and took the lead eight minutes later.
Jonjo Shelvey delivered a deep corner and Gouffran watched the ball all the way before connecting with a sweet right-foot volley, which beat Johnny Russell for pace on the goalline.
The Frenchman’s first goal of the campaign bred confidence into the Magpies, who monopolised possession for long periods and tamed any hope Derby had of a quick response.
The Rams, without last season’s 13-goal top scorer Chris Martin who joined Fulham on loan on deadline day, were unable to test Newcastle’s rookie keeper Sels at all in the first half.
With Pearson’s words still ringing in their ears, Olsson curled a cross-cum-shot and then sent a looping header narrowly wide as Derby offered an immediate improvement after the break.
Sels beat away Bryson’s stinging drive midway through the second half – Derby’s first shot on target – before Anya’s deflected cross clipped the top of the woodwork.
But that was as good as it got for the misfiring Rams, with Newcastle holding a measure of command – much to the frustration of Pearson and the anxious home crowd.
The resolute Magpies, who lost 3-0 in their last meeting with Derby in February 2010, didn’t create many opportunities of their own – their best second-half efforts coming from Mohamed Diame, one wide of the target and one straight at Scott Carson.
Benitez appeared to have shut up shop with the introduction of Yedlin for Gouffran, but the American international popped up in the right place to wrap up the win in stoppage time.
The right-back, making his second substitute appearance since arriving from Tottenham for an undisclosed fee, will at least claim the goal after getting on the end of fellow sub Perez’s low centre.
Although Olsson may be credited with an own goal, it was merely academic as Newcastle beat fellow promotion contenders for the second game running to establish themselves in the top two.
However, there is plenty of work to do for Derby – who have been in the play-offs for the last three seasons but a third league defeat of the season means they face being cut adrift of the challengers even at this early stage if they don’t improve quickly.
Substitutes: Blackman (on for Wilson 65′), Ince (on for Anya 78′) and Bent (on for Shackell 88′)
Not used: Mitchell (GK), Pearce, Johnson, Butterfield.
Substitutes: Yedlin (on for Gouffran 73′), Perez (on for Gayle 76′) and Hayden (on for Diame 88′)
Not used: Darlow (GK), Clark, Lazaar, Mitrovic.
Booked: Shelvey (24′), Gouffran (60′), Gayle (76′)
Goals: Gouffran (20′), Yedlin (90+1′)
Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire) – 8/10
Assistant referees: James Wilson (Cheshire) and Mark Russell (Somerset)
Fourth official: James Linington (Isle of Wight)
Derby County boss Nigel Pearson: “For us, it is another frustrating day but in a different way to the Burton game. Our application was good, we took the game to our opponents but unfortunately for us conceded a goal probably when we were causing them quite a few problems. I cannot fault the application.”
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez: “It’s not me – it’s the players who does a great job. The main thing for me is to see the team working as a team but there is still room for improvement.”