1-0, Perez, 6'. 1-1, Hugill, 14'. 2-1, Atsu, 45'. 3-1, Ritchie, 64'. 4-1, Perez, 66'.
Newcastle United 4-1 Preston North End: Magpies confirm Premier League return in style

Newcastle United 4-1 Preston North End: Magpies confirm Premier League return in style

Newcastle finally ensured they would be playing top flight football again next season, running out comfortable winners against ten-man Preston.

Aaron Stokes
Newcastle UnitedElliot, Anita, Clark, Lascelles, Dummett, Hayden, Shelvey (off 76), Ritchie, Atsu (off 68'), Perez (off 81'), Mitrovic. Subs: Darlow, Yedlin, Mbemba, Diame, Colback (on 76), Gouffran (on 68'), Murphy (on 81').
Preston North EndMaxwell, Browning, Huntington, Boyle, Spurr, Gallagher, Browne, Johnson, McGeady (off 70'), Barkhuizen and Hugill. Subs: Lindegaard, Vermijl Horgan (on 70'), Pringle, Beckford, May and Robinson.
REFEREEAndrew Madley (ENG) Booked: Browning, 27', Shelvey, 56', Ritchie, 81'. Sent off: Gallagher, 64'.
INCIDENTSChampionship fixture between Newcastle United and Preston North End at St. James' Park.

Newcastle United ensured their return to the top flight with a 4-1 win over Preston North End

Ayoze Perez opened the scoring in the early stages, before Jordan Hugill levelled the tie minutes later. 

Christian Atsu slotted home on the stroke of half time to put United back ahead. 

Matt Ritchie scored from the penalty spot after Paul Gallagher handled the ball on the line, while Perez added a fourth moments later. 

The win sees Newcastle ensure their promotion back to the Premier League, just 348 days after being relegated. 

North End quick to cancel out opener

Newcastle started the game the stronger of the two sides, and after only six minutes they had the lead.

Aleksandar Mitrovic forced Chris Maxwell into a good save and from the resulting corner Jamaal Lascelles rose highest to head the ball on to Perez, who tapped home from two yards.

Preston attempted to hit straight back. Daniel Johnson broke the offside trap but Rob Elliot was on hand to deny the midfielder.

Just two minutes later, the score was level. Mitrovic went down in the area appealing for a penalty to no avail. Preston sprung a quick counter attack, which Hugill finished off with a deft flick past a flailing Elliot. 

After the game went through a quiet spell, the visitors almost took the lead when Tom Barkhuizen was released over the top by Maxwell. But the striker's effort was well wide of the target. 

Atsu wakes up sleeping home fans

After the fast paced start to the game, proceedings calmed down towards the end of the half. Both teams continued with their respected tactics. Newcastle attempted to keep the ball and work it into the box, while Preston were looking to counter attack at every opportunity. 

After neither side had mustered an effort for a long amount of time, Newcastle regained the lead. Isaac Hayden won back possession in the middle of the park before playing in Mitrovic, who squared for Atsu to slot home.

Gallagher sent off, Newcastle take control

In similar fashion to the first half, Newcastle nearly scored within minutes of kick-off. Perez pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area but couldn't stab the ball past Maxwell.

Preston continued to try and catch United out. Barkhuizen, who was North End's most dangerous option, was played in down the left side with a ball over the top but his searching cross found no teammates in yellow. 

The game then burst into life as Newcastle searched for their third. After Perez's effort was saved from close range, captain Gallagher used both hands to stop a follow up effort. The skipper was shown his marching orders and Ritchie smashed home the resulting spot-kick. 

And the advantage was soon to be three goals. An in-swinging corner wasn't cleared by the away side and after hitting the post, the ball simply bounced off Perez over the line.

Back in the big time

As full time grew closer, it was one way traffic as Preston camped in their own half, allowing Newcastle all of the possession. 

Perez was fouled outside the area, allowing Newcastle a wonderful opportunity to grab their fifth. Ritchie took the effort early, which lead to a booking for the Scotsman. Mitrovic curled the next attempt over the top. 

The Serb was determined to get on the scoresheet but saw his next effort blocked, before he headed over from 12 yards in added time. 

The victory means Newcastle cannot now be caught by their promotion rivals and will be back in the Premier League next season.