Newcastle United 2-0 Nottingham Forest (Premier League) 06.08.22
After a long summer of anticipation and excitement as well as many ins and outs following dramatic playoff promotion in May, Nottingham Forest were underwhelmingly and comprehensively beaten in their first Premier League match of the season, their first top flight outing in 23 years, all be it by a strong Newcastle United side who having been there, seen it, done it, at the level, on numerous occasions, did finally breach the resilient Reds defence with two second half goals to take all three points.
Forest were without the injured Ryan Yates as Head Coach Steve Cooper gave league debuts to no less than six starters, the only real surprise in selection with Sam Surridge getting the nod over £17m new man Taiwo Awoniyi in attack, whilst Jack Colback got a midfield slot against his old club.
Newcastle themselves giving a debut to Nick Pope in their goal, however the former Burnley man had one of his most quiet afternoons between the sticks in the Premier League. Forest failing to register a shot on target during the whole ninety minutes.
An impressive first half from the home side might not have lead to a goal, but it certainly set the wheels in motion on what was to follow. Saint-Maximin looking the most threatening until Joelinton danced his way through the Reds defence to shoot wide, Henderson saving one or two comfortably to keep Forest in with a shout at the break, but in the second half a fantastic long range effort by Swiss centre back Fabian Schar gave the Geordies a more than deserved 58th minute lead.
Forest responded to that stunning goal well and might have levelled when Neco Williams crossed from the right to Sam Surridge who stretched his neck to head down and over the bar, Newcastle proving more clinical up the other end with just twelve minutes remaining, their lead bettered from one to two on 78 when Joelinton fed Callum Wilson who prodded ahead of the defender Niakhate’s challenge with the former Bournemouth man netting his first of the campaign.
Bar Surridge at one down, Forest failing to register any real attempt of note on a difficult day in the North East, an afternoon against quality opposition who largely outplayed their visitors, an occasion where the reds met their match and more, a reality check to being back in the Premier League, the world’s toughest domestic football division there is.
Next up the Reds will look to bounce back with a home match on Sunday 14th August against West Ham United. Steve Cooper will be hoping his side can take something from the game to get some much needed points on the board, a lot of the training this week ahead to prepare for a welcome return to top tier football and a sell out crowd at the City Ground. You never know, there might be the odd incoming before then too.
Newcastle United: Pope, Trippier, Schär, Burn, Targett, Guimarães (Botman 90), Willock (Longstaff 80), Joelinton, Almíron (Fraser 80), Wilson (Wood 89), Saint-Maximin (Murphy 89).
Nottingham Forest: Henderson, Worrall, Niakhaté (Mighten 83), McKenna, Williams, Colback, O’Brien (Mangala 75), Toffolo, Lingard, Johnson, Surridge (Awoniyi 63).
Venue: St James’ Park (52,245)
*Main image @NFFC Lewis O’Brien in action on his debut.