Burton 1 Newcastle 2  –  Saturday 17 December 3pm

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

Nat Seaton:

“3 points!!! Get in.

“What a great Christmas present – top of the league!

“Don’t want to say I’m disappointed with 6 points from my two away trips this week but it hasn’t been the best footie we’ve played this season.

“Can’t wait for the two home games over the holidays.

“Happy times indeed!”

Jack Lacey-Hatton:

“That could be one of the most important wins of the season.

“Brilliant from the boys to win even without Gouffran on the pitch!

“Top at christmas, we would have all taken that after the first two games wouldn’t we?”

Leazes Park Ender:

“Top for Christmas then – but it’s being top when the light nights return that is the key. April and May are critical.

“For now we can look back on a week wen he haven’t been scintillating but good enough to see off two sides near the bottom who are battling hard.

“Burton were always going to make it tricky buy Gayle and Diame have come up with the goods, the latter in fine form and the former bagging his 17th of the campaign.

“Now for the Xmas programme and the Boxing Day tussle with Sheff Wed.

“Much said about some of our defending today so Rafa has something to work on over the week.”

Jamie Smith:

“I feel a bit petty for bemoaning all the late winners from play-off contenders but it didn’t matter as United delivered an essential win.

“I can only imagine the hordes of mackems, Villa fans and whoever else has taken it upon themselves to detest us, sat on tenterhooks, utterly desperate for an embarrassing defeat for United today.

“Unlucky trolls, it didn’t happen and we move on to two hugely important home games in which to stretch our lead. Onwards!”

Ben Cooper:

“Ground out rather than sparkling, one or two uncharacteristic defensive mistakes made this a bit harder than it should have been.

“Still, the record will show that we won and while that isn’t all I want to see, it is a lot of what I want to see.

“Was a bit like playing Stevenage or Yeading this, with their subbuteo stadium, but that just makes it more of an avoided banana skin.

“I wasn’t really bothered about our players going to the African Cup of Nations in a couple of weeks time but Diame and Atsu are going to leave a bit of a hole in this form, especially if Shelvey gets despatched to a 5 week diversity course.

“Perhaps we will need a new signing come the 1st of January after all.”

James Rutherford:

“Another great win.

“Thought this could be a banana skin, especially after the game had been hyped up at the start of the season.

“Don’t know who this lad is that’s wearing no15 but he’s been a great replacement for Diame.”

Paul Lyon:

“Another great win away at potentially tricky opposition.

“Had to be resilient after being pegged back and being under the cosh towards the end.

“Thought Reading were going to drop points, which would have been a bonus, hopefully Birmingham can do us a favour and make the 3 points all the more valuable.

“Top at Christmas regardless, champion.”

Toon Bano:

“This season is going exactly as I expected under Rafa.

“Grind out wins, nothing spectacular, with the odd home game disappointment.

“Top at Christmas. Howay!”

Jamie Swan

“Banana skin number two in the space of a few days averted.

“These two games were like enormous inflatable supermarket sweep style bananas that in times gone by Newcastle would have been drawn to like a drunken moth to a fruit machine.

“Back B.R (before Rafa) we wouldn’t have just slipped up and got beat, we’d go the full monty and end up with trousers falling down, revealing a collective bare arse live on the telly.

“That was times gone by, when NUFC were feebletons on the road. That was under witless managers with gutless troops in the black and white shirts. NO MORE!

“Under Rafa, we are the best team in England on the road. Resolute, clever and dangerous.

“The papers (and Mackems) were sharpening their crayons ready to wheel out the old ‘Bernabeu to Burton’ bollocks – just waiting for the old NUFC to rear it’s ugly head again.

“Not likely. It was another tough game and fair play to Burton who gave it a good second half blast.  I don’t care who we play or where. A win is a win and yet another massive three points mean ‘WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE’

“Have a great Christmas!”

Here are the stats from BBC Sport:

Burton 1 Newcastle 2

Goals – 

Burton: Dyer 20

Newcastle: Gayle 15, Diame 34

Possession was Burton 57% Newcastle 43%

Total shots were Burton 15 Newcastle 9

Shots on target were Burton 3 Newcastle 4

Corners were Burton 7 Newcastle 5

Newcastle starting 11:

Darlow, Yedlin, Clark, Lascelles, Dummett, Hayden, Shelvey, Ritchie (Gouffran 85), Atsu, Diame, Gayle

Unused Subs:

Sels, Mbemba, Mitrovic, Lazaar, Anita, Perez

Referee: Lee Probert

Crowd: 6,665 (Newcastle 1,730)