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Season 2017-18
Nottingham Forest (h) League Cup 2nd Round


Wednesday 23rd August 2017, 7.45pm

 St. James' Park

Conditions: Inconsequential/irritating

Admission: £10 adults, £5 concessions
(£20 and £10 on match day)

Newcastle United

Nottingham Forest

2 - 3




3 mins Rolando Aarons intercepted a stray pass from Joe Worrall down the United left and skipped infield, laying the ball off to his right as he reached the Forest area. Aleksandar Mitrovic took a touch before arrowing home a right footed shot into the left side of the Leazes goal 1-0

29 mins Erich Lichaj and Zach Clough swapped passes before the latter chipped the ball into the area for the unmarked Jason Cummings to head home a cross from the right - with Newcastle captain Karl Darlow motionless in the Gallowgate goal. 1-1

31 mins Former Hibernian player Cummings anticipated a through ball from Danny Fox over the defence and strode past Hanley and Mbemba before lifting the ball over the advancing Darlow. 1-2

45+1 mins A fortunate deflection off referee Darren England in the centre circle allowed United to attack through Jacob Murphy and Mo Diame. The former was tackled but the ball fell to Diame, who accurately threaded a pass to Rolando Aarons.

The winger turned his man well before slamming a right-footed effort from the edge of the box into the top left corner for the goal of the night

Half time: Magpies 2 Forest 2

Full time: Magpies 2 Forest 2

97 mins Clough's outswinger from the South West Corner reached Jack Hobbs, who outjumped Chancel Mbemba to head the ball goalwards. Substitute Tyler Walker was first to react, glancing home from close range. 2-3

Extra time: Magpies 2 Forest 3

We Said


Rafa Benitez (as transcribed by the Chronicle):

Did you take a risk by making 10 changes to your team?

"No. I am disappointed because we couldn’t win, but after creating - I don’t know - 10 chances, maybe, clear chances?

"We were doing what we had to do in terms of attacking and pushing and going to the final third, and we have to improve in this area because that’s where you make the difference.”

Why did you make so many changes?

"Because you play two days ago and you have to play two days after. At this stage of the season, the players have to be ready for playing in the cup against a Championship team. If you cannot, then it means that something is wrong.

"I thought we could do it and watching the team, watching the number of chances that we had, I think we deserved to go through.”

Does this show that the squad is not strong enough?

"It means what I have said so many times: if you are going to go through in the cups, you need to use the squad. If you cannot, it means that you have to improve.”

Should the players be disappointed with themselves?

"Yes, for sure. Everybody was expecting that we have to beat Nottingham Forest, but at the same time, they are doing well in the league, they have some confidence, but the game was more or less as we were expecting.

"They could pass the ball, the could move the ball, but we had the chances. I don’t remember too many saves from Darlow and I remember a lot of chances that we didn’t take.”

Did that prove the squad isn’t strong enough?

"No, it proved that we have to improve in some areas.”

What was the extent of Rolando Aarons’ injury?

"I think it was cramp, so I think he’s okay.”

Can you draw any positives from the night?

"Rolando, some play from Murphy, the work-rate of Saivet, Mitrovic, even Diame, Barlaser. A lot of players were trying and you have to take that as a positive. Still, as I said before, to have more accuracy in the final third and in the box can make the difference.”

Do you have any updates on incoming transfers?

"No. I don’t have official news.”

How do you keep spirits up after three defeats?

"We knew that to going into the Premier League, a new division, a new competition, another level, you can win games or you can lose games. In this case, we lost this one. It was a game that we were expecting to win – we didn’t do it and we have to be ready for the next one.

"I have said that this team will improve and I am convinced that we will do it."

What about outgoing business, anything on that?

"We have a couple of players in conversations with different clubs, but today, still nothing. 

Is Siem De Jong (linked with Ajax) expected to leave?

"He is one of the players that is talking with another club. We are waiting."

Only 10 days ago Mike Ashley said that this club were strong enough to challenge for a cup and stay in the Premier League - it didn’t feel like that tonight?

"Yes, it’s true."

Do you feel that anyone put themselves in the shop window?

"I think so. In terms of the number of chances we created, I think so. Some players maybe played better, some players not at the same level But for some of them, we are talking about the Championship and they proved last year – we won the Championship, so they are good enough for that.”

What is the message to the fans after three defeats?

"The fans know we are not happy with that, so we will try to change things in the next game."

Can you understand why they are disappointed?

"We are disappointed.”


They Said

Mark Warburton commented:

"It was an outstanding performance by the players and I thought first half we were, in a respectful way, way ahead. At 2-1 I thought we had three or four chances to put it to bed.

"The second goal was a wonder strike. But I thought we were dominant in the first half. Saturday is obviously in our minds and once Andreas Bouchalakis had gone off at half-time, with a little stiffness, we had no midfield. We had no Chris Cohen and no David Vaughan.

"I have to make a special mention to Ben Osborn, because he was outstanding. I don’t know what distance he covered, but we asked him to play out of position and he was outstanding.

"All over the park – we saw Jack Hobbs come on, Danny Fox played 120 minutes. There were so many positives from the team. I am delighted with the effort tonight.

"It is an iconic stadium and we were playing a world class manager and squad – so we are really pleased with our night’s work.

"Everything is now geared towards Leeds on Saturday. We lost our midfield and had to ask a player who had played wide left at the weekend to play defensive midfield.

"Tyler put in a tireless shift in pre-season to get to where he is now – and that resulted in the quality performance you saw from him.

"Jason Cummings rarely misses the target. He tested the keeper in the first half and hit the bar with a free-kick. He is a goalscorer. He has had to be patient, even after only four games of the season.

"But there is no doubt that he will be a tremendous asset for Nottingham Forest. He will make an impact on the Championship.”


Forest ended United's run of 16 Second Round ties without defeat that stretched back to 1991:

Middlesbrough lost 1-2 (on agg)

1991/92 Crewe Alexandra won 5-3 (on agg)
1992/93 Middlesbrough won 3-1 (on agg)
1993/94 Notts County won 11-2 (on agg)
1994/95 Barnsley won 3-1 (on agg)
1995/96 Bristol City won 8-1 (on agg)
2000/01 Leyton Orient won 3-1 (on agg)
2001/02 Brentford (h) won 4-1
2007/08 Barnsley (h) won 2-0
2008/09 Coventry City (a) won 3-2
2009/10 Huddersfield Town (h) won 4-3
2010/11 Accrington Stanley (a) won 3-2
2011/12 Scunthorpe United (a) won 2-1
2013/14 Morecambe (a) won 2-0
2014/15 Gillingham (a) won 1-0
2015/16 Northampton Town (h) won 4-1
2016/17 Cheltenham Town (h) won 2-0
Nottingham Forest (h) lost 2-3 (aet)

Aleksandar Mitrovic netted his third goal in this competition sixteenth as a Magpie.

Rolando Aarons netted his second goal in this competition and fourth as a Magpie - making his first competitive appearance for exactly a year, injuring himself during the League Cup victory against Cheltenham Town at SJP.

The jonah that is Jesus Gamez was sighted for the eighth time as a Magpie. Since beginning his career with back to back home wins against Cheltenham in the League Cup and Brighton in the Championship, we've failed to win in any of his six subsequent appearances (Blackburn home, Oxford away, Reading away, Fulham home, Ipswich away, Forest home).

Following starts in the FA Cup last season at home to Birmingham City and away at Oxford United, Dan Barlaser made his third appearance for United and his first in the League Cup.

Jamie Sterry's second start for the Magpies came a year after the first, at home to Cheltenham Town in the same competition. He's also made a trio of substitute appearances, one in the Premier League and two in the Championship.

Returning to the fold was Henri Saivet, making his fifth competitive appearance and his second start as a Magpie. On loan at St.Etienne last season, the midfielder was last involved as an 89th minute substitute when United beat West Brom in the Premier League at SJP in February 2016.

Making his 10th - and probably final - competitive senior appearance for the club was Achraaf Lazaar. His ninth came in the 0-3 FA Cup defeat at Oxford United in January.

There were home debuts for Jacob Murphy and Joselu.

Tricky Trees in Toon - last 20:

2017/18 lost 2-3 Mitrovic, Aarons
2016/17 won 3-1 Ritchie, Gayle 2
2009/10 won 2-0 Ameobi, Enrique
1998/99 won 2-0 Shearer 2
1996/97 won 5-0 Asprilla, Ferdinand 2, Shearer, Elliott
1996/97 lost 1-2 (FAC) Ferdinand
1995/96 won 3-1 Lee 2, Ginola
1994/95 won 2-1 Fox, Lee
1990/91 drew 2-2 (FAC) Quinn, McGhee
1988/89 lost 0-1
1987/88 lost 0-1
1986/87 won 3-2 Wharton, A.Thomas, Beardsley
1985/86 lost 0-3
1984/85 lost 1-3 (FAC) Waddle
1984/85 drew 1-1 Wharton
1977/78 lost 0-2
1974/75 won 3-0 (LC) Macdonald, Burns, Keeley
1973/74 won 4-3 (FAC) Tudor, McDermott, Craig, Moncur (ordered to be replayed)
1971/72 won 2-1 Macdonald 2
1970/71 drew 1-1 McNamee

Full record v Forest:
  P W D L F A
SJP 45 26 9 10 91 48
CG 45 17 11 17 49 54
League 90 43 20 27 140 102
SJP(FA)* 9 4 3 2 19 13
CG 7 2 3 2 5 9
SJP(LC) 2 1 0 1 5 3
CG 2 1 1 0 5 4
CG(ZDS) 1 0 0 1 1 2
Cup 20 8 7 5 34 29
Tot 110 51 27 32 174 131





A Magpies side showing ten changes from that which lost at Huddersfield lost to Championship opponents at Gallowgate on Wednesday - the club's first defeat in the Second Round since 1990.

The presence of rookie pair Dan Barlaser and Jamie Sterry made it plain where our priorities lay lie, but the opportunity of a morale-boosting victory was wasted despite the best possible start.

And if this was an exercise in showcasing unwanted players, then the values of Achraaf Lazaar, Grant Hanley or Jesus Gamez will hardly have been boosted following defensively inept displays.

The first start of the season for Aleksandar Mitrovic saw him shoot home within three minutes of the first whistle, Rolando Aarons with the assist.

Mo Diame then came close to doubling the lead with an audacious effort from inside his own half but the back-pedalling Forest goalkeeper Jordan Smith was relieved to see the effort clear his crossbar.

Mark Warburton's side may have been slow out of the blocks, but soon got the measure of a creaking back four and began to make inroads through and round it.

A deserved equaliser arrived just before the half hour when Jason Cummings had plenty of time to head home a cross from the right with Newcastle captain Karl Darlow motionless. And barely two minutes later Cummings had his and Forest's second, lifting the ball over Darlow.

A fortunate deflection off referee Darren England then kept the move leading to our equaliser in first half added time alive, Diame slotting in Aarons who turned his man well and slammed a right-footed effort from the edge of the box into the top left corner.

Level at the break despite a wobble, most of the crowd probably anticipated that the hosts would warm to their task and go on to win the tie. But although United's tempo did improve slightly, their passing and shooting accuracy was little better - Jacob Murphy marking his first start with a fine strike tipped away by Smith, but guilty of two later efforts that flew harmlessly into the crowd. 

Attempting to force a winner, Rafa Benitez brought on Isaac Hayden and Matt Ritchie, but a curling effort by the latter in the 89th minute was an all-too-rare moment of excitement as United toiled against a Forest side who were anything but full strength.

2-2 then and extra time brought the opportunity of a first-ever fourth substitute (a new competition rule coming into force if a tie goes past 90 minutes). Forest were first to use theirs and ex-Magpie Daryl Murphy trotted on amid generous applause, as his current side prepared to take a corner kick.

Murphy's next act was to congratulate the scorer, as substitute Tyler Walker reached a goalbound header and glanced home from close range.

Half time of extra time saw Joselu become United's first ever fourth substitute in place of Mitrovic, but the recently-arrived striker had few opportunities to impress on his home debut.

There was one last chance to level that would have led to a penalty shootout for our second successive League Cup tie - Diame unmarked but heading Ritchie's 122nd minute corner over.

That meant that United missed out on the chance to try the new ABBA format shoot-out, but given our laughable attempt at spot kicks against Hull in 2016, that was probably a merciful release.

Our exit from the competition meant that lost interest in the ludicrous 4.25am slot for the Third Round Draw on Thursday - and given that Forest landed a trip to Chelsea, that's no bad thing.

The prospect of business in both directions over the next week or so remains, with Siem De Jong absent tonight as he nears a return to Ajax. The situation regarding Jack Colback's future at the club remains unclear though, with no sign of him tonight. 

As at Oxford in January, our fixture commitment was fulfilled, but it's hard to see what else we can take from this tie, aside from some match practice. Certainly the "make cups a priority" line spouted by the owner recently was disregarded...

Regardless of the personnel deployed, an uninspiring display did nothing to lift the prevailing mood of uncertainty, with nobody posting a performance demanding of a place in Saturday's starting XI. 

Our next opponents West Ham boosted their spirits by beating Cheltenham Town and now head to Tyneside looking for their first league points of the season.

A fourth successive defeat in all competitions for Newcastle wouldn't be fatal, but would increase the pressure on what remains a relatively inexperienced squad in Premier League terms. 


Page last updated 29 September, 2017