Newcastle 4 Rotherham 0  –  Saturday 21 January 2017 3pm

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

Jamie Smith:

“Top v bottom should only have ever been one result so it’s worthy staying grounded, especially with Brighton’s game in hand due this week.

“Having said that, there have been real signs of a recovery in this week’s two games.

“Shelvey’s return to the team and Ritchie’s return to form, huge factors in us looking at our impressive best, especially second half today. Also Perez’ best game for ages.

“Hopefully can capitalise with two more home games next, as our rivals have difficult fixtures, and this is without any reinforcements added yet!”

Paul Lyon:

“Dominated large parts of the game and made it count, the goal just before half time vital.

“Really pleased we were able to score four without our main goal scorer on the pitch.

“Thought the goals we scored were pretty decent too.

“Another 3 points towards promotion.

“Must also add, Darlow’s save in the first half was as good as a goal, fantastic recovery!

“Rotherham fans were good craic coming out of the ground, some of it gallows humour but all good natured”

Nat Seaton:

“A convincing win after an unconvincing start.

“When you look at the bench you’d think Rafa would want to strengthen, so fingers crossed that we see some activity.

“Back top of the league though, you’ve got to be satisfied with that!”

Ben Cooper:

“Even before the first goal the tactic of Rotherham playing one up front, had become 11 men behind the ball 40 yards from their goal.

“Although they had a couple of chances and we weren’t playing well, it was only a matter of time.

“We could have had any number of goals in the second half and it was nice to keep a clean sheet, though we looked a bit fragile at the back at times.

“11 wins to go!

“Welcome back Sammy Ameobi. Now back to Bolton with you!”

Kevin Christie:

“Solid win, professional performance.

“Pleased to see that we kept our heads despite growing frustration towards the end of the first half – another massive goal from Murphy. Really delighted for him.

“Alarming how much Perez has regressed. Just too lightweight. Has seemed off the pace all season – slow in both his actions and in his thinking. Baffling really.

“Ritchie as No 10 is starting to look like an obvious solution – confident after a recent goal glut, gutsy, creative, good passer….need I go on?

“Great use of subs today too. Important to rest Murph, Yedlin and Gouffy with the squad already stretched and games now coming thick and fast.

“Nice to get a clean sheet and be able to take our foot off the gas for the last 20 minutes but it could have been very different if not for Darlow’s excellent save (admittedly, after his mistake!) and Murphy’s composure.

“Momentum growing, keeping the pressure on Brighton. Onwards and upwards! Howay the lads!”

Leazes Park Ender:

“This game was a must win and we we’ve managed it with aplomb.

“That Darlow save was undoubtedly a big moment and we’ve gone on and run in four nice goals.

“Some results elsewhere have gone our way, so it’s been a good day for all concerned with the NUFC cause.

“Nice to see Ayoze Perez getting some form back after his mid-season slump. He was great, as was Ritchie and Shelvey, who has come back just at the right time. The ban gave him a nice little rest!

“We’re toe to toe with Brighton and Hove Albion. It’s a case who is going to blink first. They win, we respond.

“For now, it’s all about pushing on and scrambling for the points. Credit to Rotherham, good set of fans, and they battled hard.”

Toon Bano:

“Nice easy victory.

“You have to think if Rafa had shown more faith in Murphy we may be well clear at the top.”

George Stainsby

“For a team with a missing 20 goal striker, this result should help with the psychological battle. More, please.”

Jamie Swan

“Strange game.

“First half to forget, missed three goals at the urinal and talking rubbish.

“Panto when Ameobi came on, top of the league!”

Scott:

“Another game ticked off. 

“One game closer to premier league again.

“Beer will taste sweeter again tonight.

“Thanks for sticking by us Rafa.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 4 Rotherham 0

Goals:

Newcastle: Murphy 45+3, Ritchie 49, 77 Perez 59

Possession was Rotherham 32% Newcastle 68%

Total shots were Rotherham 11 Newcastle 24

Shots on target were Rotherham 4 Newcastle 6

Corners were Rotherham 6 Newcastle 9

Referee: Jeremy Simpson

Crowd: 52,208

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin (Sterry 80), Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Hayden, Shelvey, Ritchie, Gouffran (Ameobi 64), Perez, Murphy (Lazaar 75)

Subs:

Sels, Barlaser, Hanley, Haidara