David Nelson Sports Photography
Did that really just happen? A free-flowing Newcastle United scored six on a glorious afternoon at St James? Park.
Four goals from Georginio Wijnaldum, and one a piece from Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic saw Newcastle romp home after Norwich gave them a couple of nervous moments in the first half.
United started on the front foot early on with Moussa Sissoko ? who has been made to look ever so slightly delusional by his Champions League related comments in recent times ? was at the forefront of all things good for Steve McClaren?s men. He was tireless and popped up all over the shop, dragging his teammates up the park on numerous occasions. Norwich were restricted to a couple of dangerous set pieces, which Rob Elliot dealt with easily, and a 30-yard Robbie Brady strike.
United took the lead on 14 minutes after more great work from Sissoko on the edge of the area played in Georginio Wijnaldum, whose low drive nestled into the bottom corner.
Then, the home side took their foot off the gas as Norwich game back into it. Their opening goal arrived six minutes later as great work by Brady and Martin Olsson saw a cross arrived at the feet of Mbokani who prodded past the hapless Elliot.
As the home support grew restless it was Sissoko who came up with the goods once again. His pinpoint cross landed on the head of Wijnaldum who scored his second of the game after 26 minutes.
Ayoze Perez then popped up to take the game away from The Canaries. A Nathan Redmond effort was blocked on the edge of the Newcastle area which set that man Sissoko off again. He delayed and delayed before playing the perfect ball the the Spaniard, he saw his first effort blocked before drilling his second into the far corner.
Newcastle then took their foot off the gas again as Daryl Janmaat went missing in action. Martin Olsson was given the freedom of the city and picked out Redmond with a deep cross; the England U21 international powered a volley past Elliot.
Newcastle had major problems down the right all afternoon. Olsson and Brady constantly doubled up on Janmaat with Sissoko failing to track back more often than not.
The Magpies probed as the first half wore on with Ayoze having a couple of sniffs at goal while Wijnaldum could have easily had his hat-trick.
Newcastle, with Vurnon Anita replacing the booked Cheick Tiote, looked very flat after the interval but looked more threatening than their opponents. Norwich had all the ball but didn?t really trouble the home side, Nathan Redmond blazed a free kick over the bar but Rob Elliot didn?t have a save to make.
United then pulled away from their opponents once again as Sissoko played a drilled ball onto the chest of Mitrovic. The Serb took the ball in his path before smashing it past Ruddy in the Norwich goal.
Newcastle then found themselves on the break again as Janmaat crossed for Wijnaldum to complete his hat-trick in a goal that was a carbon copy to his second of the afternoon.
Norwich kept on plugging away with Redmond striking the base of Elliot?s right-hand post. Although Gini would find himself centre stage again, as his fourth of the afternoon cam via a wonderful dipping drive from around 20 yards.
That?s more like it, Steve.