Wood Fires Forest To Win

Newcastle United 3-1 Nottingham Forest (Premier League) 26.12.23

A Chris Wood hat-trick against his former club, Newcastle United gave Nottingham Forest a much deserved and highly surprising away win at St James’ Park, a first victory for new Head Coach Nuno Espirito Santo and a hugely significant three points in the fight for survival, bringing some Christmas cheer alas, for those Nottingham Forest fans who finally, after seven long weeks, got to see their team win a game of football.

Six changes were made by Nuno from the side that were beaten by Bournemouth in controversial fashion, Newcastle a little thin on the ground of late themselves in a sticky patch of form, were gifted a lead on 23 when Alexander Isak was brought down, supposedly by Murillo, even though minimal contact inside the area was made, Forest for the second match in succession failing to get the rub of the green over a Referee’s decision.

The Reds however played themselves into the game and should have levelled through Elanga who shot when he should have perhaps passed to Wood. A breakaway attempt on the stroke of half time almost had Newcastle double their lead but Elanga was sent through and this time he chose the right pass for Wood to tap home and net his second in as many matches for Forest.

That goal gave a lift to the travelling army and their support were in raptures on 53 as Elanga again sent Wood through to dink home a second, he then added a third after rounding the goalkeeper following Murillo’s pass to complete his hat trick and supply Forest with a much needed three points.

Whilst Chris Wood was sensational it wasn’t just about the New Zealand born striker who deservedly won man of the match, but strong performances across the park, from Anthony Elanga who twice assisted, from Murillo and Niakhate in the centre of defence and in captain Morgan Gibbs-White who played an all-around playmaking role.

The new Manager might have only had a few days but he’s already made an impact on his players who attacked in numbers and defended like heroes, something which has been missing in recent weeks, which has be re-instilled at St James’ and now Forest will be confident for more upset potential as they take on Manchester United on Saturday night.

Forest: Turner, Montiel (Williams 70), Niakhate, Murillo, Aina, Danilo (Kouyate 90), Sangare (Yates 70), Gibbs-White, Elanga (Worrall 90), Wood, Hudson-Odoi (Dominguez 80).

*Main image @NFFC Chris Wood celebrates after a brilliant performance at Newcastle.

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