Newcastle moved within striking distance of fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League table with a last-gasp victory over Nottingham Forest.
Eddie Howe’s side fell behind early, but kept their heads in the bustling City Grounds on Friday night, condemning Steve Cooper’s men to their first home defeat since September.
The visitors should have broken the deadlock with just five minutes on the clock. Kieran Trippier managed to release Jacob Murphy down the right, ran in behind Renan Lodi and caught the eye of Musa Nyakati. His cross picked off Joe Willock just outside the six-yard box, who fired with the imposing figure of Ryan Yates breathing down his neck.
Newcastle went even closer minutes later. The clever free kick saw Trippier pass the ball under the wall to Alexander Isak, whose shot from close range was hit off the crossbar by Lodi and caught by Keylor Navas.
At the other end, Forest’s first look at goal came when Brennan Johnson shone down the right wing and deflected a shot to Nick Pope, who read the flight of the ball well and caught the effort.
Despite being the inferior of the two teams early on, Forest took the lead midway through the first half. Sven Putmann’s hospital pass to Pope was intercepted by Emmanuel Dennis, who shot the ball wide but well crafted the ball over the onrushing keeper and Trippier slipped down the line.
The Magpies shook the woodwork for the second time in the first half when Sean Longstaff’s 20-yard kick hit Felipe’s ankle, stunning Navas but bounced gracefully off the bar and out to a safety.
On the eve of the break, Newcastle found a leveler. Forest was caught napping with several players on the field, allowing Willock to run in behind and cross for Issak, who made a great offhand touch with his leg, his effort bouncing off the post.
Howe’s men came close to taking the lead soon after the restart. A deep cross from Trippier was received by substitute Elliott Anderson, and his vicious shot was saved by Navas.
Young Navas did not refuse on his second attempt. Forest failed to clear their lines and Isaacs crossed towards the back post, with Anderson rising above Serge Aurier to head home. However, after a lengthy VAR check, Longstaff was ruled offside when Isaac’s initial volley was played across the ball, and became active when he recovered a failed volley from Felipe and Nyakati.
With time ticking down, Isaac’s shot was knocked off the line by Aurier as Newcastle looked desperately for a late winner.
This enthusiasm going forward for the first time saw the Magpies open themselves up a bit at the back, with Johnson running at Botman and Bob forcing a tackle on the break.
At the start of six minutes of stoppage time, Newcastle were awarded a penalty when Nyakati threw an elbow, trying to defend a cross, and the ball hit his arm. Isaac rose and chose the upper corner to send the traveling geodes to Harga.
That proved to be the last bit of goal-mouth action, with Forest now looking nervously over their shoulders as several of their Premier League rivals take to the pitch later this weekend.
GK: Keylor Navas – 7/10 – Keep the jungle in the game with a series of good saves.
Right back: Serge Aurier – 6/10 – Saint-Maximin kept calm but Anderson was given a more difficult task.
Center back: Philip – 4/10 – Totally messy with his aggressive style.
Central defense: Musa Niakhat – 1/10 – Ultimately, he was punished a lot for his overzealous rushes and forays into midfield, and earned himself a ridiculous penalty at the end.
Left back: Renan Lodi – 4/10 – He was caught consistently by Newcastle, who were happy to run into the space he often hid behind Forest’s backline.
CM: Ryan Yates – 5/10 – Didn’t offer much stability in midfield. He came out with a shoulder injury.
CM: Jonjo Shelvey – 5/10 – Forest lacked creativity but was much boosted by Shelvey’s impressive collection of passes.
RM: Brennan Johnson – 6/10 – He looked like a threat when he had the ball, but you can’t help but feel he should have played on the left to drift in more naturally instead.
AM: Morgan Gibbs-White – 5/10 – Produced some nice flicks now and then but failed to deliver sustained creativity.
Left midfielder: Emmanuel Dennis – 8/10 – Always active wherever he appears across the front line. His endeavors are rewarded with a goal.
CF: Andre Ayew – 4/10 – He looked like a 33-year-old who hadn’t played much at the top level in half a decade. Slow and cumbersome, he often breaks attacks himself.
Remo Freuler (58′ for Yates) – 5/10
Sam Surridge (79′ for Ayew) – N/A
Neco Williams (79 mins for Dennis) – N/A
Gustavo Skara (90 minutes to Shelvey) – N/A
Steve Cooper – 5/10 – Forest has been poor throughout but has found a way to stay in the game, which has been a feature throughout this season so it seems to be more than a coincidence.
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GK: Nick Pope – 4/10 – It wasn’t as imposing as it should have been for one of the league’s tallest players.
Right-back: Kieran Trippier – 7/10 – I enjoyed running behind his former Atletico Madrid teammate Lodi. Usually the man to start Newcastle attacks.
Centre-back: Fabian Schar – 6/10 – He wasn’t really bothered by the immediate attack to a great extent.
Center back: Sven Putman – 3/10 – He completely ignored Dennis when trying to pass the ball back to Bob, which led to the opening goal. constantly clumsy.
Left-back: Dan Byrne – 5/10 – Twisted inside out by Johnson, though thankfully Burn isn’t in dangerous areas.
CM: Bruno Guimaraes – 7/10 – The quietest head in an aggressive midfield battle.
CM: Sean Longstaff – 5/10 – It showed up in dangerous territory but without much of a threat (and if I’m being ruthless, it proved a net negative due to Anderson’s disallowed goal).
CM: Joe Willock – 7/10 – Like Longstaff he got into suitable parts of the field and found holes in Forrest’s armour.
Right wing: Jacob Murphy – 5/10 – Newcastle missed out on the outright Miguel Almiron could achieve. Instead, Murphy played on the sidelines and contributed little.
CF: Alexander Isaac – 9/10 – Comprehensive performance. He scored a great goal before being cruelly denied an assist of similar quality, but eventually got a laugh from 12 yards out.
Left-back: Alain Saint-Maximin – 5/10 – Aurier choked him and withdrew at the break.
Elliot Anderson (46 min for Saint-Maximin) – 7/10 – His tactical dexterity and flexibility made it difficult for Forrest to pin him.
Matt Ritchie (84 min for Murphy) – N/A
Eddie Howe – 7/10 – Newcastle were the better team, but perhaps they should have taken more obvious chances given how fragile they are forest seem.