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(Reuters) - Newcastle United moved back to the top of the English Championship (second-tier) with a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa at St James' Park on Monday that heaped more pressure on the ailing former European champions.
Yoan Gouffran opened the scoring from close range just before halftime and another scramble in the area ended with Henri Lansbury giving away an own goal as the ball rebounded against him off the post he was defending and into the net.
The result saw Rafa Benitez's side climb back to the summit on 69 points, leapfrogging Brighton & Hove Albion, who are one point adrift after winning 2-0 at Barnsley on Saturday.
The only cloud for Newcastle, now unbeaten in seven league games, was the loss of the Championship's top scorer Dwight Gayle, who had to limp off injured after just over half an hour.
For Villa, the news always seems bad these days with striker Scott Hogan carried off on a stretcher near the end of their 10th successive match in all competitions without a win.
Steve Bruce's team are 17th, six points above the drop zone, after failing to register a victory in 2017 and increasingly look in danger of being sucked into the relegation melee.
Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Ken Ferris