Newcastle extend Championship lead with victory at Huddersfield

Britain Soccer Football - Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United - Sky Bet Championship - The John Smith's Stadium - 4/3/17 Newcastle United's Matt Ritchie celebrates scoring their first goal with Daryl Murphy Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Craig Brough Livepic

LONDON (Reuters) - Newcastle United extended their lead at the top of the Championship to five points with a hard-fought 3-1 victory against fellow promotion hopefuls Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

In a battle of the Championship's two in-form sides, Newcastle led through Matt Ritchie's 10th-minute penalty and, though Huddersfield dominated, Daryl Murphy finished from a tight angle to double their advantage.

Huddersfield's Aaron Mooy converted a penalty with 18 minutes remaining but, with the hosts pushing hard for an equaliser, substitute Dwight Gayle scored his 21st goal of the season -- extending Newcastle's unbeaten league record to 10 matches.

Second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion could have briefly leapfrogged Newcastle earlier on Saturday but suffered a shock 3-0 defeat against struggling Nottingham Forest -- their second successive Championship loss.

Brighton are six points above Huddersfield in third who in turn lead fourth-placed Leeds United, 3-1 victors against Birmingham City on Friday night, by a point.

Reading sealed a 2-1 win against relegation-threatened Wolves and sit two points and one place above sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday who thumped Norwich 5-1 with Jordan Rhodes scoring a brace.

Elsewhere Fulham eased to a 3-1 win against Preston, Aston Villa were 2-0 winners at bottom-of-the-table Rotherham and Derby County beat Barnsley 2-1.

Blackburn Rovers beat Wigan Athletic 1-0, Ipswich and Brentford drew 1-1, Bristol City and Burton Albion finished goalless and Queens Park Rangers were 2-1 victors against Cardiff.

(Reporting By Tom Hayward, editing by Ne8il Robinson)