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Matt Ritchie secures win over Derby to send Newcastle top of the table

Matt Ritchie’s deflected goal lifted Newcastle United back to the top of the Championship but, with Derby County’s Tom Ince missing an extraordinary late sitter and Darren Bent seeing a last-gasp header cleared off the line, Steve McClaren’s return to Tyneside very nearly proved unexpectedly rewarding.

It meant that a difficult week, in which Rafael Benítez made his displeasure at not being allowed to sign a single player in January plain, ended on a note of relief.

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