Newcastle 4 Birmingham 0  – Saturday 10 December 3pm

We asked a number of our regular writers to give us a brief instant reaction after the final whistle:

Paul Lyon:

“What can you say? It doesn’t really get much more comfortable than that.

“Excellent performances all over the pitch against a Birmingham team that offers very little in terms of attacking threat.

“Great to get back on track with a win and further firm up the belief we’re gonna win the league!

“Howay me bonny lads!!!”

Leazes Park Ender:

“It’s a cliché but I really hope that is normal service resumed. A resounding win against a limited opponent.

“Plaudits will rightly go to Gayle for those hat-trick heroics – he’s a cracking player.

“For me, Mo Diamé was star man. An all action display from the Senegal schemer after an ambling effort at Forest.

“The whole midfield were able to go through the gears today, rescinding that Shelvey red card a nice bonus, and he was excellent.

“I continue to be impressed by Ciaran Clark. Solid, strong, no nonsesne and he can bring the ball out and pass it crisply. Almost at Xmas and he’s still keeping Mbemba at bay.

“A better referee today too. He had a few moments but his overall handling of the match was way better than last week’s clown. Even so, I saw moments today when Benitez was doing his nut with the fourth official.

“A special mention also for that Gouffran goal. What a wonderful set-piece move from the training ground. Total football!”

Jamie Smith:

“Someone was due to feel the brunt of last week’s frustrations and it bodes well for our cup hopes that our third round opponents copped for the damage.

“Same scorers as the crucial Norwich win and hopefully we can replicate the outstanding run that sparked off.

“If we gather a few wins in the coming weeks, we can shop for the Premier League in January.”

Scott:

“Back top of league.

“3 points, solid performance, clean  sheet.

“Well deserved and onto the next.”

Nat Seaton:

“That’s more like it!

“A great afternoon, some good goals and attacking play; albeit against a poor Birmingham team.

“A much needed win and smiles on faces, happy again.”

George Stainsby:

“Bounce back? Okey dokey. Will do.”

Toon Bano:

“We have a few key players like Shelvey, Lascelles and Gouffran…yes, Gouffran – but no one is as key as Gayle.”

Jamie Swan

“All too easy this game. Knew we would win after the Forest debacle, but this was a stroll from minute one.

“Not being arrogant, it was a non-contest.

“So much so that about 10,000 teenagers start flashing their phones like an effing concert which had me shaking my head, but hey – I must be an old gadgie at 37.

“Another hat-trick for Gayle, easy pickings.

“Birmingham sent a good crowd up, and they were ironically cheering corners by the end such were their paltry scraps.

“Their brigade included a ridiculous hooligan on high bridge smoking an enormous cigar and wearing leather murder gloves like the baddie out of Colombo.

“Made me laugh, but not as much as their defending.

“WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE.”

Here are the stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 4 Birmingham 0

Goals – 

Newcastle: Gayle 18, 24, 77 Gouffran 47

Possession was Birmingham 38% Newcastle 62%

Total shots were Birmingham 5 Newcastle 20

Shots on target were Birmingham 2 Newcastle 10

Corners were Birmingham 1 Newcastle 7

Newcastle starting 11:

Darlow, Anita, Clark, Lascelles, Dummett, Hayden (Lazaar 82), Shelvey, Ritchie, Gouffran (Atsu 72), Diame, Gayle (Mitrovic 79)

Unused Subs:

Sels, Mbemba, Yedlin, Tiote

Referee: Andy Davies

Crowd: 52,145 (Birmingham 3,184)

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