Rafa Benitez leads Newcastle back to the Premier League

Newcastle United secured an immediate return to the Premier League with a convincing home victory over Preston.

Christian Atsu put the Magpies 2-1 up at half-time after Jordan Hugill had cancelled out an Ayoze Perez opener.

Players Celebrate promotion in the dressing room
Players Celebrate promotion in the dressing room

On a tense evening at St James’ Park, Newcastle nerves were settled when Preston’s Paul Gallagher was sent off for handling on the line and Matt Ritchie scored the resulting penalty.

Perez got his second from close range to send Newcastle up with Brighton.

Rafael Benitez’s side had taken only one point from their previous three matches, but their late-season wobble was not punished by their closest rivals.

Defeats for Reading and Huddersfield on Saturday left Newcastle needing one more win to guarantee a top-two finish and against Preston, they got more than they needed to earn promotion.