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Newcastle back on top of Championship

AAP logoAAP 30/12/2016

Dwight Gayle took his goal tally for the season to 19 as Newcastle bounced back to the top of the English Championship with a 3-1 victory over 10-man Nottingham Forest.

Gayle's 63rd-minute volley and a scruffy second 10 minutes from time settled a tight encounter after Nicolao Dimitru's first goal for Forest had cancelled out Matt Ritchie's early opener in front of a crowd of 52,228, the biggest of the season at St James' Park.

Forest left Tyneside aggrieved after skipper Matt Mills was sent off on the hour in controversial circumstances four weeks after Newcastle duo Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett suffered a similar fate in a 2-1 defeat at the City Ground.

The hosts' win, coupled with the postponement of leaders Brighton's home game with Cardiff, saw Rafael Benitez's side leapfrog the Seagulls to finish 2016 in pole position.

Elsewhere, a superb overhead kick by Brett Pitman gave Ipswich a 2-1 victory as Bristol City's struggles continued.

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