Andy Carroll netted a brace as Newcastle United cruised to a 3-0 win against Scunthorpe United at St James' Park.
MORE STORIES Matchcast: Newcastle v Scunthorpe Championship table In a match the Magpies dominated from start to finish, Carroll grabbed his 13th goal of the season on 10 minutes with a powerful header and Peter Lovenkrands doubled the the home side's advantage with a clinical finish midway through the first half. Carroll added a third with a delicate finish soon after the restart to seal the win and send the Magpies four points clear at the top of the Championship. Newcastle are unbeaten at home in the league and Lovenkrands almost opened the scoring after seven minutes after cutting inside and forcing Iron keeper Joe Murphy to parry. But the Magpies had to wait just three minutes before taking the lead. Carroll showed good movement to get free of Scunthorpe's attentions and powered a header into the net from Danny Guthrie's corner. Kevin Nolan was then denied a goal by an offside flag two minutes later and Lovenkrands thumped the Scunthorpe bar after Murphy spilled a shot. Newcastle were all over their hapless opponents and Carroll again came close with an effort that Murphy punched away. The Iron were a shadow of the side that defeated the Magpies 2-1 in October and Murphy was again called into action to deny Lovenkrands. Scunthorpe could only count two wayward Michael O'Connor free-kicks in the first 45 minutes and it was no surprise when the Magpies extended their lead 10 minutes after the restart. Guthrie played a superb 60-yard diagonal ball to Carroll and the Newcastle man drew Murphy before chipping the ball into the net for his 14th of the season. Scunthorpe sub Sam Togwell was the first Iron to test Steve Harper when he forced the keeper into a smothering save, but it was soon business as usual as Carroll headed wide from an awkward position. Jonas Gutierrez was guilty of a wayward shot, followed by one from Scunthorpe's Grant McCann, before Jose Enrique hit the side-netting from an acute angle. Gutierrez did get the ball into the net on 70 minutes, but the offside flag prevented any masked celebrations and Iron sub Donal McDermott was then off target with one of the visitors' rare sights of goal. Nile Ranger came on for the hosts and when he failed to get on the end of a loose ball following Gutierrez's strike on 87 minutes, the Magpies had to settle for the three goals. The win means Newcastle are now 12 points clear of the play-off places and have one foot firmly placed in the Premier League, while the Irons go into a desperate six-pointer against Plymouth on Saturday.