Doncaster 0 Newcastle United 1
TOON striker Andy Carroll will make the headlines for the right reasons after his goal gave Newcastle United a 1-0 win away at Doncaster.
Carroll was embroiled in controversy after being allegedly involved in a bust up with fellow player Steven Taylor which left the defender with a broken jaw.
But the young hit-man made sure people will be talking about his performance at the Keepmoat stadium after bagging the winning goal.
Carroll started the game and he was wearing big gloves in the warm-up.
Nicky Butt also started, Tamas Kadar partnered Coloccini in the heart of defence and Ryan Taylor was in at right-back with Danny Simpson slotting into the left-back position.
Joey Barton was on the bench along with Enrique who had a tight hamstring.
Carroll's name was cheered by the 3,200 away fans when it was read over the tannoy at the start of the game.
It was a rowdy atmosphere at the Keepmoat with both sets of fans giving it full throttle in the early stages.
United created their first chance within two minutes when Guthrie rolled it to Routledge on the right and his cross found Carroll who headed it across goal, but Sullivan claimed with both hands.
Carroll then played in Jonas down the right but Shelton Martis hacked it clear.
The Toon Army were in great voice early on and a rousing rendition of "We're Newcastle and we're going to win the league" filled the Donny air.
Routledge then pierced the Doncaster defence and it eventually rolled to Carroll, but he scooped it high over the top with his left foot from 18 yards.
Nevertheless it was a decent start from the black and whites.
Donny tried to fashion an opening on 10 minutes as ex-Sunderland player John Oster worked his way down the left channel before seeing his shot blocked by Ryan Taylor.
Then after that Taylor lost the ball on 13 minutes and Oster nutmegged Guthrie and slipped in danger man Billy Sharp on the left.
However, an inch perfect tackle from Coloccini prevented Sharp from getting his shot in.
United then won a free-kick moments later and after Taylor's set-piece from the right had evaded everybody, Coloccini managed to salvage a corner.
Guthrie whipped it in and Carroll headed just over.
But it took a minor deflection from a Donny player and handed United their second flag kick.
Guthrie this time could only watch as Sullivan claimed it with safe hands at the back post.
A poor clearance from Sullivan fell into the path of Carroll on 15 minutes but he wasted the chance after being crowded out by Donny defenders.
Chances after that few and far between, and at half-time it was 0-0.
Newcastle started the second half still looking to find a breakthrough.
Harper's long punt was aimed at Nolan on 48 minutes but it bounced over him and out for a Donny goal kick.
It was a scrappy start to the second period but Hughton was making himself heard as he prowled the technical area.
But the Toon fans were celebrating on 59 minutes when Routledge threaded the pass through and Carroll went round Sullivan to bag his 16th of the season.
Newcastle could have doubled their lead when Guthrie crossed for Nolan but O'Connor somehow got a crucial block in inside the six-yard box on 69 minutes.
Doncaster still looked dangerous and were causing Newcastle problems in the final third.
Newcastle looked to introduce Joey Barton as the game headed into the final quarter.
The crowd was announced as 14,850. Then Barton replaced Guthrie on 75 minutes.
And there was a chant of "There's only one Joey Barton" from the travelling Geordie fans.
Despite a nervy four minutes of added time at the end of the game, United managed to hold on and go five points clear at the top.
I was at the match, and you can replay my live blog below.