Soccer-Newcastle return to Championship summit after controversial victory


LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) - Newcastle returned to the top of the Championship and moved a step closer to an immediate return to the Premier League with a controversial 1-0 victory against Burton Albion on Wednesday.

Newcastle thought they had opened the scoring when Matt Ritchie converted a penalty but referee Keith Stroud blew his whistle having spotted an apparent encroachment before the spot kick was taken.

In bizarre circumstances, however, he disallowed the goal rather than order a re-take -- much to the bewilderment of Newcastle and manager Rafa Benitez.

Ritchie finally did open the scoring with a thumping strike in the 68th minute which means, with six games remaining, Newcastle have 84 points -- one more than second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion.

Huddersfield Town climbed to third, nine points behind Brighton, with a comfortable 3-0 win against Norwich City thanks to goals from Elias Kachunga, Aaron Mooy and Nahki Wells.

Reading are a point adrift in fourth while Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday sit fifth and sixth with 69 and 66 points respectively. (Reporting By Tom Hayward, editing by Neil Robinson)

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