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Season 2023-24
Nottingham Forest (h) Premier League


Date: Tuesday 26th December 2023, 12.30pm
Live on Sky Sports

St. James' Park

Conditions: Discordant


Nottingham Forest


1 - 3





23 mins Having teed up Alexander Isak for the opener here against Chelsea, Lewis Miley looked to have repeated the feat with a smart pass to the striker. Isak drew the foul from Aina in the box and was rewarded with a spot kick that he coolly dispatched under the diving Turner. 1-0

45+1 mins Miguel Almiron's profligacy in the visitor's penalty area was to cost his side dear: Morgan Gibbs-White breaking upfield and feeding Anthony Elanga, whose low centre from the Forest right allowed Chris Wood to knock home from close-range at the Leazes End. 1-1

Half time: Newcastle 1 Forest 1

50 mins
Forest attacked through
Elanga, who threw himself to the floor in the centre circle as he made contact with fellow Swede Isak. He'd got his pass away to Wood towards the left and he turned Burn before dinking Martin Dubravka as Trippier and Botman made up ground in vain. 1-2

63 mins
Same space, same player, same outcome, Murillo with the assist for Wood this time. Vain hopes that the scorer was offside were dashed by a VAR check confirming that Trippier had played him onside as he shadowed Elanga towards the Forest right. 1-3

Full time:
Newcastle 1 Forest 3

We Said

Eddie Howe said:

"Regardless of our opponent, first and foremost we have to get our performance right. I don't think we were far away but the result tells a different story.

"Now we get a chance to train probably for the first time in months so let's hope that makes a difference to how we look. It will be nice to build up to games, rather than just resting between games. Possibly we have suffered from the inability to train.

"There's so much to look at from that game from our own perspective. Some good, first-half we were the better team. Second-half was tough for us on transitions and we didn't deal with them very well. (We) Conceded some poor goals from our view point.

"The goal on half-time has had a bigger impact on us than it should have done. In that first-half we were probably looking to make it 2-0 and then from an action where we could do that we go on to concede and then it becomes difficult and swings on that one key moment.

"There's a whole combination of different things that are hurting us at the moment, but we've got a strong group and we'll have to be strong in these moments because it's not easy. We'll look to bounce back."

Kieran Trippier

"It's been a challenge for the team going from not playing in Europe playing three-game weeks some players are new to that.

'Sometimes when you don't mean it like myself - my standards have dropped - I'm old enough and experienced to talk about my own performances and know they're nowhere near as good as the standards I've set recently.

"I don't shy about it, I've had a lot of setbacks in my career and this is another one where I need to keep going and believing and I've always got that belief to bounce back."

They Said


Nuno Espirito Santo said:

"The credit needs to go to the boys. We haven’t been here a long time, but credit to them for their work. Congratulations to the players and to our supporters. They were amazing again and they help us so much. 

"Let’s enjoy this moment, but let’s not stop here. We know we have to rest now and there is a quick turnaround.

"I think we had a lot of chances - we were able to break the first moment of Newcastle’s press, they press very hard It requires the players to be brave and have the ball and find the right spaces, and they did that.

“We had very good spells of possession, but we defended very well too, we were aggressive in the box unlike last week. This improvement is the way we need to proceed and move forward.

It changes everything: going into the dressing room just before half-time after scoring a goal, the mood changes. The boys believe it, we had a good talk at half-time and said we want to go again in the second half. 

At the beginning of the second half, we have a fantastic chance through Morgan which gave us belief.

"The way he (Chris Wood) scored the goals was amazing. How he finished the second goal was beautiful and it’s something that I will enjoy seeing over and over again. Congratulations to Chris, but for Chris to score goals, the players have to work very hard behind him.”

Chris Wood:

"It is nice coming back to Newcastle, I really enjoyed my time here, it is a great bunch of lads and staff. We needed three points and it was fantastic for the side to get it. This is a tough place to come, the boys did extremely well."


Newcastle suffered their fourth PL home loss of 2023, Nottingham Forest joining Liverpool (twice) and Arsenal in taking maximum points on Tyneside. 20 PL games during the calendar year saw the Magpies win 14 times, lose four and draw the other two.

Beginning the day having conceded a PL low of four goals in nine home games, that figure became seven in ten - one more than Arsenal and Aston Villa, although they have both played just nine. 

NUFC 19 games in, PL era (arranged by points total)

1995/96 45 points, 1st
2001/02 39 points, 1st
2022/23 38 points, 3rd
38 points, 3rd
33 points, 8th
2002/03 32 points, 6th
1993/94 32 points, 4th
31 points, 6th
30 points, 7th
2023/24 29 points, 8th
2000/01 27 points, 7th
2014/15 26 points, 9th
2007/08 26 points, 11th
26 points, 7th
26 points, 10th
2019/20 25 points, 10th
25 points, 11th
2005/06 25 points, 11th
24 points, 12th
2010/11 22 points, 13th
2008/09 22 points, 12th
22 points, 14th
2012/13 20 points, 15th
1999/00 20 points, 15th
2020/21 19 points, 16th
18 points, 15th
2018/19 17 points, 15th
2015/16 17 points, 18th
2021/22 11 points 19th

Newcastle last won their year-ending top-flight game in 2014, a 3-2 victory over Everton at SJP. (They beat Forest 3-1 here in the last game of 2016 during the Championship season).

NUFC's year ending PL results - last 20:

2023/24 Nottingham Forest (h) lost 1-3
2022/23 Leeds United (h) drew 0-0
Manchester United (h) drew 1-1
2020/21 Liverpool (h) drew 0-0
2019/20 Everton (h) lost 1-2
2018/19 Watford (a) drew 1-1
2017/18 Brighton (h) drew 0-0
2015/16 West Bromwich Albion (a) lost 0-1
2014/15 Everton (h) won 3-2
2013/14 Arsenal (h) lost 0-1
2012/13 Arsenal (a) lost 3-7
2011/12 Liverpool (a) lost 1-3
2010/11 Spurs (a) lost 0-2
2008/09 Liverpool (h) lost 1-5
2007/08 Chelsea (a) lost 1-2
2006/07 Everton (a) lost 0-3
2005/06 Spurs (a) lost 0-2
2004/05 Arsenal (h) lost 0-1
2003/04 Blackburn Rovers (h) lost 0-1
2002/03 Spurs (h) won 2-1
2001/02 Chelsea (h) lost 1-2

NUFC Boxing Day Record - last 20:

2023/24 Nottingham Forest (h) lost 1-3
Leicester City (a) won 3-0
2020/21 Manchester City (a) lost 0-2
2019/20 Manchester United (a) lost 1-4
2018/19 Liverpool (a) lost 0-4
2016/17 Sheffield Wednesday (h) lost 0-1
2015/16 Everton (h) lost 0-1
2014/15 Manchester United (a) lost 1-3
2013/14 Stoke City (h) won 5-1
2012/13 Manchester United (a) lost 3-4
2011/12 Bolton Wanderers (a) won 2-0
2010/11 Manchester City (h) lost 1-3
2009/10 Sheffield Wednesday (a) drew 2-2
2008/09 Wigan Athletic (a) lost 1-2
2007/08 Wigan Athletic (a) lost 0-1
2006/07 Bolton Wanderers (a) lost 1-2
2005/06 Liverpool (a) lost 0-2
2004/05 Blackburn Rovers (a) drew 2-2
2003/04 Leicester City (a) drew 1-1
Bolton Wanderers (a) lost 3-4

Tricky Trees in Toon - last 20:

2023/24 lost 1-3 Isak (pen)
2022/23 won 2-0 Schar, Wilson
2017/18 lost 2-3 Mitrovic, Aarons (LC)
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 Ferdinand (FAC) 
1995/96 won 3-1 Lee 2, Ginola
1994/95 won 2-1 Fox, Lee
1990/91 drew 2-2 Quinn, McGhee (FAC)
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 Waddle (FAC) 
1984/85 drew 1-1 Wharton
1977/78 lost 0-2
1974/75 won 3-0 Macdonald, Burns, Keeley (LC) 
1973/74 won 4-3  Tudor, McDermott, Craig, Moncur (FAC) (ordered to be replayed)

Alexander Isak
scored his eighth PL goal of the season, one more than Callum Wilson with seven. Both totals include two successful penalties. The Swede has 10 club goals in all competitions this season including one in the Champions League and one in the League Cup. He leads Wilson by two. 

Were Isak to net in the FA Cup, he'd be the first Magpie to have scored in four competitions during one season since Alan Shearer in 2005/06. His 18 PL goals for United take him ahead of current colleague Joelinton and old boy Yohan Cabaye. Isak's next target is Laurent Robert's total of 22.

Sean Longstaff and Joelinton managed to avoid the bookings that would have seen them landed with one match bans, as did the absent Jamaal Lascelles. 

Nuno Espirito Santo took his place in the away dugout for the fifth time as manager and is still to preside over a defeat at SJP. He's recorded one win and two draws with Wolves, one victory for Spurs and one success with Forest.

Chris Wood registered the sixth PL hat-trick by an opponent at SJP after Dwight Yorke (Aston Villa), Michael Owen (Liverpool), Paul Scholes (Manchester United), Somen Tchoyi (West Bromwich Albion) and Ferran Torres (Manchester City).

The ex-Mag emulated Andy Cole's "feat" of registering a PL hat-trick against his former club. Cole scored four times for Manchester United against us at Old Trafford in August 1999. Wood becomes the first ex-Magpie to net against us since....Andros Townsend last Saturday....

The Kiwi is the first Forest player ever to notch a hat-trick against Newcastle in 114 meetings.


Boxing Day saw Newcastle unexpectedly but deservedly conclude their 2023 fixture programme on a low note, as their ongoing travel sickness infected more homely surroundings.  

The super-spreader was a face familiar to Eddie Howe and his side; ex-Magpie Chris Wood returning to his old home to claim an improbable treble, 12 months to the day that he was on target for United.

Having conceded just four goals in their opening nine games here, the home defence was breached three times in barely 20 minutes - left leaden-footed on each occasion by lightning Forest breaks.

It had all looked so different when Isak converted the spot-kick he earned midway through the first period, Ola Aina clipping his foot as he tried to turn on to a fine pass from Lewis Miley.

Elanga should have played in the unmarked Wood to level in the 34th minute, but preferred to shoot and allowed Martin Dubravka to make a comfortable stop. That warning sign was unheeded.

At the other end the black and whites enjoyed spells of possession around the Forest box but failed to capitalise on that superiority - and were to be caught out spectacularly in first half added time.

Winning possession from Danilo on the edge of the Forest area, Miguel Almiron looked a certain scorer but inexplicably tried to square the ball rather than get a shot away. 

The hosts were then promptly punished as Morgan Gibbs-White and Anthony Elanga dashed upfield, Wood making his way to the back post where he easily tapped home - prompting memories of a similar close-range equaliser in second half added time for Leeds back in 2017.

Incredibly, the Kiwi would haunt his old side further after the break; a pair of solo strikes giving Nuno Espirito Santo a first victory as Forest boss and extending his own unbeaten managerial run here to five games. By this point Wood was evoking recollections of Steve Bull in 1991..... 

Wood's second came eight minutes after the interval, outwitting Dan Burn before clipping the ball past Dubravka for a fine finish. With an hour gone Wood was put clear by Murillo and lashing home; VAR confirming he was onside and his side were en route to a first top-flight win here since 1988.

With Callum Wilson on to aid Isak in attack and Valentino Livramento to replacing struggling Dan Burn, Joelinton and Lewis Hall were then introduced - the latter seeing Trippier move to centre half. Despite those changes however, United couldn't force the second goal that would have raised hopes of a revival and roused a slumbering home crowd.

At the end of our tenth game in thirty days we looked a shadow of the side that dispatched Chelsea at the start of that debilitating run, bereft of both thought and energy. Aside from the penalty we never looked like scoring; visiting 'keeper Matt Turner barely tested despite a regular stream of aimless crosses into his area and Fabian Schar's off-target free kick (meaning that "Schar shank redemption" headline remains unused). 

A less congested January now lies ahead, but bringing with it a confirmed quartet of contests with their own particular challenges; trips to Anfield, wearside and Aston with a visit from Champions Manchester City in between all equally daunting in our current fettle.

It's not just on the field that our immediate destiny will be shaped next month; transfer window activity and the return of desperately-needed ingenuity in midfield areas are absolutely pivotal.

And while opinion is divided over how much of our malaise is attributable to Dubravka, his return has statistically coincided with our collective loss of form. Of all the injuries we've suffered this season, Nick Pope's feels like by far the costliest. Were it not for the stupidity of a Fulham player in getting himself sent off, we could be looking at eight successive defeats since that decisive moment. 

Howe spoke about being punished by Forest's transition but his own side's downward shift from feared force to easy target is of equal concern. Where intensity was once our identity, it's currently incoherence. Where do we go from here? The M62, with anything but hope in our hearts.


Page last updated 29 December, 2023