Newcastle United 3 Reading 0

Last updated : 15 August 2009 By Footymad Previewer
Shola Ameobi was the toast of Tyneside after hitting a superb hat-trick as Newcastle United's first home game outside the top-flight for 16 years ended in a crushing 3-0 win over a very poor Reading side.

Under-pressure owner Mike Ashley was present and sitting alongside him was Tyneside multi-millionaire Barry Moat - who has constantly been linked with buying the club.

The fans quickly made the feelings known to the Newcastle owner with chants of "If you hate Ashley stand up" and calls of "Shearer, Shearer" which brought nothing more than a huge grin across the face of Ashley.

It is expected that Joe Kinnear will return as manager next week with Luton manager and former Newcastle striker Mick Harford widely tipped to join him as his number two.

Newcastle should have gone ahead after 13 minutes when Jonas Gutierrez broke clear but lost control before breaking for Joey Barton, who had the ball taken off his toes by team-mate Andy Carroll as he was about to pull the trigger.

United skipper Alan Smith was very lucky not to see red midway through the first half.

First he was cautioned after 21 minutes for a rash challenge on Simon Church and just 60 seconds later cleaned out Jem Karacan and was very lucky only to receive a long lecture from referee Anthony Taylor.

Gutierrez, who is still looking for his first United goal, came close after 37 minutes with a shot on the turn that deflected off Liam Rosenior and was clawed over the top by Adam Federici.

But Newcastle only had to wait another minute before going in front as Jose Enrique's deep cross from the left was headed downwards by Ameobi and bounced over the despairing Federici.

Ameobi came within inches of a second on the counter-attack after 50 minutes when released by Carroll.

Cutting in from the left, he curled his effort beyond Federici and agonisingly wide.

Newcastle struck again after 61 minutes and it was a back-post headed goal from Ameobi.

But all credit must go to Kevin Nolan who chased down a lost cause to claim the ball, feed it to Barton who in turn picked out Ryan Taylor, whose cross was brilliantly put away with a flying header from Ameobi.

Only a finger-tipped save from Federici then denied Ameobi a hat-trick of headers after 69 minutes after he rose unchallenged to meet a Barton corner.

Dominating the game, Carroll just failed to make contact at the back post and Federici blocked from Nolan at the expense of a corner.

Barton took the flag-trick and Shane Long, under pressure from Steven Taylor, handled.

No one other than Ameobi was going to take the penalty and he duly completed his hat-trick by sending Federici the wrong way.

Smith and Ameobi were then both replaced but worrying Barton also went off and was clearly in discomfort, making him a major doubt for the midweek game with Sheffield Wednesday.