Chris Wood stuns former club Newcastle with hat-trick in Nottingham Forest win – 6 talking points

NEWCASTLE UNITED 1-3 NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Former Newcastle striker Chris Wood scored a hat-trick aainst his old club as Nottingham Forest gave manager Nuno his first win
Nuno Espirito Santo has his first win as Nottingham Forest manager





Newcastle were punished by Nottingham Forest after failing to capitalise on their early dominance, with former Magpies star Chris Wood scoring his first ever hat-trick for the visitors in a come-from-behind win.

Alexander Isak opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, slotting away a penalty after being felled by Ola Aina in the penalty area. Forest didn’t lie down, though, and equalised in first-half stoppage time when Wood tapped him against his former club.

Eddie Howe’s hosts failed to come out swinging in the second half, allowing their visitors to strike again through Wood. When the well-travelled striker added his and Forest’s third, it was game over.

The victory was Nuno Espirito Santo’s first as Forest boss, helping ease some lingering relegation concerns. Newcastle, meanwhile, will be desperate to put a painful December behind them.

Some sloppy Newcastle defending gave Forest’s Morgan Gibbs-White the first real chance of the game, with the playmaker firing a warning shot just past Martin Dubravka’s right-hand post. It was the hosts who took the lead from the spot, though, with visiting winger Anthony Elanga wasting a chance to feed ex-Newcastle striker Chris Wood for a tap-in.

Elanga didn’t make the same mistake late in the first half, giving Wood a tap-in, and the New Zealander ran riot after the break. The hosts struggled to deal with counters from the pacy Elanga, who also laid on the striker’s second, and Wood beat the offside trap before rounding Martin Dubravka for his third.

Newcastle tried in vain to find a way back, but Forest stood firm. Here are Sports Times GH’s talking points from an unexpected result on Tyneside.

1. Wood haunts old employers

What does this result mean for Nottingham Forest and Newcastle?
Chris Wood’s hat-trick was his first in Nottingham Forest colours

Chris Wood was one of Eddie Howe’s first Newcastle signings, but the club quickly outgrew the New Zealand international. Wood was mostly used as a substitute in the first half of last season and joined Forest on loan in January before making a permanent switch over the summer.

While his first goal at St James’ Park wasn’t the toughest, he showed he still has plenty to offer with two more in the second period. The treble was just his second in the Premier League, and the first since his Burnley days.

The 32-year-old frontman might not be an automatic first choice at the City Ground, but with Taiwo Awoniyi out injured he has been given an opening. A goal against Bournemouth last weekend was his first in two months, and now he has goals in back-to-back Premier League outings for the first time since May 2021.

2. Forest let off after failing to heed warning

Forest were given early cause for concern when Alexander Isak went down under a challenge from Murillo, with referee Chris Kavanagh not considering the challenge worthy of a penalty. Less than midway through the first half, though, they weren’t so lucky when Isak went to ground for a second time.

It was the third time Forest have conceded a league penalty this term. Matt Turner and Odysseas Vlachodimos were each beaten once, in 3-2 defeats against Manchester United and Brighton respectively, and this time it was Turner who couldn’t get a hand on Isak’s effort from 12 yards.

Newcastle had chances to build on their early advantage but never fully shut their opponents out of the game. Ultimately, though, that Aina error wouldn’t prove costly

3. Miley a rare bright spark

With Joelinton still not fit to start, teenager Lewis Miley made another start in the middle of the park. With each passing game, the youngster has looked more at home as he lines up alongside more established names, even if his bright first half ended up being overshadowed in the second period.

Lewis Miley was one of Newcastle’s better performers

It was Miley who helped create the opener, feeding Isak with a brilliant reverse pass before the striker was felled. He even had opportunities later on to add to his one league goal, only for Forest’s defenders and goalkeeper to stand firm, and came close in the second half as Newcastle fought to bring themselves back into the game.

Without injuries and Sandro Tonali’s suspension, Eddie Howe might have opted to ease the 17-year-old in a little more slowly. However, on the strength of this season’s games, he’s looked more than ready at this level.

4. Trippier’s misery goes on

Kieran Trippier has endured a tough few weeks, emphasised by his nightmare display against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup. Newcastle would have expected plenty of the ball against Forest, with opportunities for Trippier to demonstrate his attacking threat rather than his defensive worries.

It was another tough afternoon for Kieran Trippier

The England international had plenty of opportunities to threaten going forward, but his issues at the back were laid bare once more. The most obvious example came when Wood scored his third after charging through unopposed in an area where Newcastle’s right-back was conspicuous in his absence.

Fellow full-back Tino Livramento has put in some impressive performances on the left-hand side, but the youngster is just as comfortable on the right. Could it be time for him to slot in ahead of the man who captained Newcastle against Forest?

5. Nuno gets new-ish manager bounce

New manager Nuno Espirito Santo has shown the door isn’t closed for some Forest players who might have seen no future under predecessor Steve Cooper. Gonzalo Montiel made his first start since October and there were also rare starts for Callum Hudson-Odoi and Danilo, while Joe Worrall – sidelined under Cooper – was back on the bench after going two months without a minute of competitive football.

There was a nervy moment early on for Danilo, who gifted the hosts a chance they were unable to capitalise on. However, it was a more regularly-used player, left-back Aina, who conceded the penalty.

New manager bounce can get results from previously cast-out players and from those who needed inspiration after struggling under previous bosses. In this case it was the latter, but Worrall’s late return from the bench will be another highlight for the visiting fans.

6. Pressure mounting on Howe

Eddie Howe will be desperate for an upturn in results

An injury crisis has served as mitigation for Newcastle boss Eddie Howe, but struggles have continued even after he has been able to welcome players back. Defeat at Luton last time out was bad enough, but this result is one which may leave the boss really feeling the pressure.

Next up for Newcastle is a New Year’s Day trip to Anfield – hardly what Howe will want in this situation. A last-gasp defeat to Liverpool back in August was among the painful early setbacks, and revenge in the next meeting would be invaluable.

Newcastle will go into that game outside the top six, having claimed fourth place last term. One wonders what the higher-ups believe would be a reasonable outcome for the man in the dugout.

Eddie Howe facing serious questions after Newcastle’s meek surrender to Forest – SportsTimesGh

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