Even the most optimistic of Newcastle fans cannot have hoped for a 6-0 win on their return to Premier League action at St James’ Park. The fact it came against the team that consigned them to the drop two years makes this amazing result even sweeter, as their superiority was total by the end of a breathless 90 minutes.
Villa actually started better, passing with confidence against a tentative home team that was perhaps affected by nerves. Newcastle’s defence was playing with a dangerous high line and it was no surprise when Ashley Young romped clear on 10 minutes.
The England winger was upended by Steve Harper, but a dreadful John Carew penalty that flew yards over indicated a change in momentum that Villa never recovered from. Joey Barton struck a 20-yard screamer two minutes later and the floodgates were soon to open.
Villa looked more threatening in possession, but two more home goals on 31 and 34 minutes all but settled the result. Kevin Nolan nodded home an Andy Carroll knockdown before the irrepressible Carroll capitalised on a Richard Dunne error from a corner.
The second half was one-way traffic. Carroll calmly slotted a left-footed volley after 67 minutes and the Geordie hero completed his hat-trick in injury time with a third controlled finish with his left foot. Nolan had scored his second on 87 minutes when Villa again floundered at a corner, summing up a hapless defensive display from the away team.
Kevin MacDonald will now perhaps neither want or expect the full-time job to come his way at Villa, but Chris Hughton, a former caretaker boss himself, only has positives to reflect on.
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