By Ed Emeanua
Newcastle (4-1-2-3) Dubravka; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Bruno Guimaraes; Miley, Longstaff; Almiron, Isak, Gordon.
Substitutes: Karius, Dummett, Joelinton, Wilson, Ritchie, Krafth, Hall, Livramento, Murphy
Nottingham Forest (possible 4-2-3-1) Turner; Montiel, Murillo, Niakhate, Aina; Danilo, Sangare; Elanga, Gibbs-White, Hudson-Odoi; Wood.
Substitutes: Odysseas, Nuno, Worrall, Mangala, Williams, Kouyate, Dominguez, Yates, Origi.
Referee Chris Kavanagh.
Nuno Espirito Santo has waved his magic wand again to change his side’s fast eroding Premier League status and Nottingham Forest to a 3-1 Boxing day take down of Newcastle United at St James’ Park.
Chris Woods notched a hattrick helping Forest come from behind after an early Isak penalty goal to hand the visiting team an away and setback Newcastle struggles for another top four finish in the Premier League this term.
Nuno made six changes to the Nottingham Forest side. Ola Aina, Moussa Niakhate, Gonzalo Montiel, Danilo, Ibrahim Sangare and Callum Hudson-Odoi all came in for Willy Boly (suspended after his awkward red card against Bournemouth), Harry Toffolo, Neco Williams, Ryan Yates, Orel Mangala and Divock Origi.
Sven Botman made his first start since September, replacing the injured Jamaal Lascelles in defence for Newcastle. Alexander Isak came in place of Callum Wilson in the only other change from Saturday’s defeat at Luton. Joelinton was made to return to the bench for this one.
Miley played a neat through pass towards Isak, who pulls away from Aina and goes down, allowing the referee with minimal ponder for a couple of seconds to award what looked like a soft penalty kick to the home team. Alexander Isak made the most of the opportunity and also stepped up to score from the spot.
Isak goes down under the challenge from Aina. Photograph: Richard Lee/REX/Shutterstock
Alexander Isak tucks away the kick. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters
Then on 45+1 minutes, Chris Wood scored against his former club to draw Forest level. His strike came on the break after Almiron, who had robbed Danilo of the ball on the edge of the Forest area, passed when he should have shot at goal.
The ball was cut out and Forest were off to a counter attacking foray at the other end. In the end, Gibbs-White slid an angled pass to Elanga, whose low cross on the stretch gave Wood an open goal run to score. Forest went in at the half-time 1-1 level thanks to Wood’s equalizer injury time against his former club.
On 53rd minute of the game, Wood edged Forest ahead with a majestic finish. Niakhate brought the ball out from the back line and fed it to Elanga, who looked like he was taken out as he ran forward and pinged it to Wood. Excellent work by the forward to power forward and finish.
Wood returned with another masterful finish on 60th minute. He sped through on a simple searing pass from Murillo, having been played onside by Kieran Trippier, dummied Martin Dubravka before side stepping the Newcastle goalkeeper to score his third goal of the game.
Forest then held on to hand Nuno his first win as manager of the side.