LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Newcastle United’s Dwight Gayle scored his 20th league goal of the season as the Magpies soared back to the top of the Championship table with a 2-1 win at Brentford on Saturday.
Gayle became the first Newcastle player to reach the 20-goal mark in a league campaign since Alan Shearer in 2003-04 but after he suffered an injury it was his replacement Daryl Murphy who emerged as their hero.
Newcastle had gone ahead through a dazzling first-half Gayle goal before he had to go off with a hamstring problem that manager Rafa Benitez hopes will not prove too serious.
After being pegged back by a Lasse Vibe equaliser, Murphy headed his first league goal for Newcastle in the 79th minute.
Newcastle’s delight was coupled with the news that pacesetters Brighton & Hove Albion had surrendered top spot after going down 2-0 at Preston North End.
Newcastle have 55 points from 26 matches, a point clear of the Seagulls who have a game in hand, with third-placed Leeds United, who beat visiting Derby County 1-0 on Friday, now just six points adrift of Brighton.
In an all-Yorkshire promotion battle, sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday beat Huddersfield Town, who are fifth, 2-0 after the Terriers had Jack Payne sent off in the 70th minute.
Wedensday now have 45 points, a point behind Huddersfield and fourth-placed Reading, who lost 1-0 at home to Queens Park Rangers on Thursday but have a game in hand. (Reporting by Ian Chadband)