Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Carroll helps Toon rout Villa

Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll announced his arrival as a genuine Barclays Premier League striker as Newcastle hammered Aston Villa 6-0.

The 21-year-old Geordie plundered a hat-trick to build upon the lead given to his side by Joey Barton's 12th-minute piledriver and Kevin Nolan's effort 13 minutes before the break, Nolan adding his second before Carroll completed his treble at the death.

Villa might have taken the lead themselves, but John Carew squandered a 10th-minute penalty and they simply fell apart as the Magpies made the most of their let-off.

In the 10th minute Magpies keeper Steve Harper was stunned to see referee Martin Atkinson pointing to the spot after Ashley Young had gone down as he attempted to round him. Few inside St James' Park expected anything other than Carew to ram the resulting spot-kick into the back of the net, but the striker blasted his effort high over the bar.

Just how costly the miss would prove became abundantly clear before half-time as the Magpies made the most of their great escape. There were just two more minutes on the clock when Barton picked up the ball 30 yards out, made a little ground and steadied himself before smashing a dipping right-foot shot over Brad Friedel's despairing dive.

Jose Enrique then got forward down the left and delivered an inviting cross to the back post for Carroll to head back towards Nolan. The midfielder's initial effort was parried by Friedel, but Nolan responded swiftly to head the rebound home from four yards.

Carroll did not have to wait long for his chance and when it arrived two minutes later, he was not found wanting. Richard Dunne failed to clear Mike Williamson's header back across goal from a Barton corner and the ball dropped perfectly for the striker to thump a left-foot drive home.

The Magpies would have been further ahead with 62 minutes gone had Friedel not made a vital save from Wayne Routledge after Carroll and Nolan had combined superbly on halfway to play him in.

The respite was only temporary, however, and when Williamson helped the ball over the top into the penalty area five minutes later, Carroll lashed his second home from close range.

The whistle could not come soon enough for the visitors, but it did so only after Nolan had toe-poked home a fifth and Carroll had completed his hat-trick from substitute Xisco's pass on a remarkable afternoon on Tyneside.

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