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Newcastle United Gain Premier League Promotion with 4-1 Win over Preston

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2017

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 24:  Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Preston North End at St James' Park on April 24, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Newcastle United booked their spot in next year's Premier League with a 4-1 win over Preston North End on Monday. The win assured the Magpies of a top-two finish in this year's Championship and that they'll avoid the play-offs. Brighton & Hove Albion have already secured promotion.

B/R Football welcomed the Magpies back:

B/R Football @brfootball

Welcome back to the Premier League, Newcastle United 🙌 https://t.co/pDGvLke7Gg

Ayoze Perez opened the scoring early on and added a second goal, while Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie also got in on the fun. Preston finished the match with 10 players.

Here's a look at the table:

Championship Standings
PosTeamPLWDLGFGAGDPts
1Brighton4428887338+3592
2Newcastle United44277108040+4088
3Reading44247136362+179
4Sheffield Wednesday44239125843+1578
5Huddersfield43246135553+278
6Fulham442113108255+2776
7Leeds44227155743+1473
8Norwich44199167866+1266
9Brentford44189177361+1263
10Derby441712155048+263
11Preston441613156361+261
12Aston Villa441613154646061
13Cardiff441611175759-259
14Barnsley441512176363057
15Wolverhampton Wanderers431510185254-255
16Ipswich441316154854-655
17Bristol City44149215965-651
18Burton441312194658-1251
19Queens Park Rangers44148225062-1250
20Nottingham Forest44139225970-1148
21Birmingham441114194264-2247
22Blackburn441015194964-1545
23Wigan441011233955-1641
24Rotherham4456333896-5821
WhoScored.com

As expected, Newcastle came out firing, with the fans at St. James' Park creating a phenomenal atmosphere. It took the hosts just seven minutes to take the lead, with Perez tapping home the opener.

But fans who thought the visitors would fold had only a few minutes to celebrate before Jordan Hugill equalised after a wonderful counter. The team's Twitter account showed their ecstatic reaction:

Preston North End FC @pnefc

12' PNE break through Hugill and Barkhuizen before the latter swings it back into Hugill who flicks the ball home! Get in! 1-1 #pnefc

Preston stopper Chris Maxwell had a few nervy moments on some of Newcastle's crosses, but he also made a fantastic save to deny Aleksandar Mitrovic a goal after 20 minutes. Hugill and Tom Barkhuizen had their chances as well, as the visitors grew into the half.

But shortly before half-time, a perfect counter resulted in Mitrovic playing in Atsu with a fantastic pass, and the speedster didn't hesitate. Per football writer Kristan Heneage, it was Newcastle at their best:

Kristan Heneage @KHeneage

See, that's where Newcastle are at their best -- counter-attacking. Sit off them and they just rack up pass completion numbers.

Preston were too sloppy at the back to have any chance of challenging Newcastle in the second half, and the visitors were lucky Maxwell was on hand to deny Perez another goal. It hardly mattered, as Paul Gallagher handled the ball on the line in an effort to stop a certain goal, giving away a penalty and earning himself a red card.

Dave Seddon of the Lancashire Evening Post didn't lose his sense of humour:

Dave Seddon @Sedds_lep

It was a great save from Gallagher to be fair.....

Ritchie converted the penalty to give his team a two-goal lead they were unlikely to surrender with the one-man advantage.

Just a couple of minutes later, Perez found the net for a second time, although he probably didn't know it, as the ball took a lucky bounce off the Spaniard after Jonjo Shelvey's corner struck the post.

Per B/R Football, the battle was over:

B/R Football @brfootball

FACT: Newcastle United are heading back to the Premier League... https://t.co/E6hEbp5u4C

Newcastle spent just one season outside the Premier League, and their return to the highest level of English football was a welcome sight for the historic club.

There's plenty of work to do for the Magpies, however. The team invested heavily during the summer, but the bulk of the purchases were made specifically with promotion in mind. In order to avoid another relegation battle, manager Rafael Benitez will need to get his new additions spot on.

The rest of the Championship's top clubs will fight it out for spots in the play-offs, with one more Premier League ticket on the line.

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