Newcastle United 2 - 1 Sheffield United: Newcastle enjoy promotion party as they bounce back at the first attempt

TRIUMPHANT Newcastle boss Chris Hughton has challenged his players to go on and win the Coca-Cola Championship after fighting their way back into the Barclays Premier League.

The Magpies' return to the top flight was assured when Nottingham Forest failed to beat Cardiff before they kicked off at St James' Park, and they celebrated promotion with a 2-1 victory over Sheffield United.

A delighted crowd of 48,270 celebrated long after the final whistle as Hughton joined his squad on the pitch with the memories of their demise at Aston Villa on the final day of the 2008-09 campaign forgotten.

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But the manager, who began the season as caretaker amid chaos off the pitch, will not allow anyone to rest on their laurels.

He said: "I must admit right at this moment, I am not even thinking about next season. Right at this moment, we have five games left and our aim now is to win the Championship.

"The fact that we have been at the top for so long this season, it would be a real disappointment if we didn't win it.

"I have a group of lads there and they know that is the next target, the next target is to win it."

Promoted with six games to spare, the Magpies were in danger of having their party spoiled by the Blades, who took a 22nd-minute lead through Richard Cresswell's deft header which took a touch off Darius Henderson on the line.

The home side were far from at their best, but they got their chance to level when Chris Morgan, having already been warned by referee Andy Hall about his wrestling match with Andy Carroll, grappled with the striker once again in the box and saw the official point to the spot.

Former Rangers striker Peter Lovenkrands duly dispatched the penalty for his 15th goal of the season.

Just as they had done in the first half, the Blades started strongly after the break with the home side misfiring until Lovenkrands smashed a stinging shot just over on the hour.

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The Dane really should have given the Magpies the lead three minutes later after being played in by full-back Jose Enrique, but he fired wide with just Steve Simonsen to beat.

Gutierrez went agonisingly close with 20 minutes to play when he sped past Nyron Nosworthy and cut inside, only to see his shot come back off the foot of the post with Simonsen beaten.

But it was left to Kevin Nolan to win it 17 minutes from time with an acrobatic finish as he matched the Dane's tally.

Under-fire owner Mike Ashley visited the dressing room in the immediate aftermath of the final whistle as the party got under way in earnest.

Hughton said: "He was down in the changing room, but it was fairly chaotic down there.

"I managed to speak to him very, very briefly. It was just a 'congratulations'. This is what we are all in the game for.

"The moments you see in the changing room today, you don't see that often and when you are involved in it and you do see it, you have to enjoy it."

Blades manager Kevin Blackwell was full of praise for Newcastle, but aggrieved at the penalty decision. He said: "If they are going to give a penalty for that, then they had better start giving about 400 and you had better start practising your penalties.

"We were disappointed. It was harsh to say the least."

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Newcastle: Harper, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Jose Enrique, Routledge (Ryan Taylor 90), Guthrie (Barton 87), Nolan, Gutierrez, Carroll, Lovenkrands (Ameobi 83). Subs not used: Krul, Best, Butt, Kadar. Booked: Routledge.

Sheff Utd: Simonsen, Nosworthy, Seip (Bartley 89), Morgan, Taylor, Williamson (Little 71), Montgomery, Harper, Quinn, Henderson, Cresswell (Yeates 81). Subs not used: Bennett, Geary, Fortune, Lowton. Booked: Seip.

Attendance: 48,270

Referee: Andy Hall (W Midlands).