Matchweek 19
All times shown are your local time
Tue 26 Dec 2023
Kick Off:
St. James' Park, Newcastle
Att: 52,207
Ref: Chris Kavanagh
45 +1
  • HT
  • FT



    Chris Wood made a devastating return to St James’ Park, scoring a hat-trick against his former club to give Nuno Espirito Santo his first win as Nottingham Forest head coach and inflict on Newcastle United a fourth defeat in five Premier League matches.

    Newcastle initially took the lead as Alexander Isak won and converted a penalty, but Wood levelled at the end of the first half and then netted again in the 53rd and 60th minutes, stunning Newcastle fans who had watched him score just once in 18 top-flight matches in St James’ Park as a Newcastle player.

    Wood is only the second Forest player to score a Premier League hat-trick, after Kevin Campbell in 1996, while he is the first player to score a top-flight treble on Boxing Day for six years, and the seventh overall.

    Forest’s victory, in Nuno’s second match in charge, takes them five points clear of the relegation zone.

    How the match unfolded

    Newcastle made two changes from Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Luton Town, with Sven Botman replacing the injured Jamaal Lascelles and Alexander Isak being given the nod up top instead of Callum Wilson.

    Nuno Espirto Santo, in his second match in charge, reshuffled his team and made six changes from the 3-2 loss against AFC Bournemouth three days ago. 

    Newcastle were fortunate not to fall behind early when Morgan Gibbs-White won the ball back inside their penalty box before shooting just wide of Martin Dubravka’s left post.

    But the home side were by far the dominant side and in the 20th minute Alexander Isak received a pass from Lewis Miley, spun Ola Aina and won his side a penalty before stepping up and placing it in the bottom-right corner three minutes later.

    Forest were still a threat though and should have levelled proceedings when Anthony Elanga opted to shoot after being played in when Chris Wood was unmarked and would have had the simple task of putting the ball into the net had Elanga squared teh pass to him.

    Elanga didn’t make the same mistake again though and after receiving a pass from Gibbs-White, he played the ball across the box and Wood was on hand to score against his former club.

    Minutes later, Newcastle came very close to retaking their lead when Turner spilled Isak’s header, but he recovered in time to palm the ball away from Miguel Almiron.

    The end-to-end action would continue in the second half and within 30 seconds after the break, Gibbs-White headed a glorious chance wide.

    And incredibly Nottingham Forest took the lead as Wood scored a sensational goal in front of the Gallowgate End. Newcastle lost possession in the final third and Elanga received a pass before playing in Wood in the left channel, he still had a lot of work to do before scoring but the Forest striker did superbly to sit Dan Burn down before clipping the ball into the right corner of the net.

    The afternoon would then get better for Wood, who claimed the match ball after receiving a long-range pass from Murillo and then keeping himself onside before rounding Dubravka.

    The 32-year-old became only the fourth player to score a hat-trick against a former club after Andy Cole against Newcastle, Marcus Bent against Blackburn Rovers and Josh King against Everton. 

    Newcastle were still a threat though and Turner produced a fine save to deny Isak from close range.

    However they couldn’t add a second goal as Forest held strong to claim a vital victory in their hopes of securing Premier League safety.

    Nuno’s side move up to 16th in the table with 17 points. Another defeat for Newcastle leaves them in seventh, seven points off fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur.

    Newcastle report | Forest report

    Match officials

    Referee: Chris Kavanagh. Assistants: Simon Bennett, Dan Robathan. Fourth official: Darren Bond. VAR: Jarred Gillett. Assistant VAR: Darren Cann.

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    Club Reports

    Match officials

    Referee: Chris Kavanagh

    Fourth Official: Darren Bond

    VAR: Jarred Gillett

    Assistant VAR: Darren Cann

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