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Newcastle United 2-0 Nottingham Forest: Magpies overcome visitors’ stubborn resistance

Fabian Schar celebrates after scoring for Newcastle against Nottingham Forest
Fabian Schar’s second-half effort was similar to the one he scored against Burnley in the Premier League in 2019

A Fabian Schar wonder goal and Callum Wilson’s deft finish broke newly promoted Nottingham Forest’s stubborn resistance as Newcastle opened their Premier League campaign with a deserved victory at St James’ Park.

Centre-back Schar collected a loose ball on the edge of the box before sending a blistering effort into the net via the inside of the near post – a goal not dissimilar to the Switzerland international’s strike against Burnley in February 2019.

Wilson put the result beyond doubt 12 minutes from time, directing a first-time flick over Dean Henderson and into the far corner from Joelinton’s cross.

The pressure on the visitors’ goal was relentless from the first minute, but for all Newcastle’s territorial dominance they struggled to seriously test Forest goalkeeper Henderson in the first half.

Joelinton went closest to a breakthrough for the home side before half-time, dragging his shot wide from close range following a striding run from midfield.

Steve Cooper’s side failed to register a shot on target but were denied an unlikely opener by Schar in the first half, the Magpies defender producing an outstanding block to deny Jesse Lingard inside the Newcastle area.

The result stretches Forest’s losing league run at St James’ Park to seven matches.

Magpies’ patience pays off

As was the case back in January, Newcastle’s summer recruitment has focused primarily on reinforcing defensive areas, with Sven Botman, Nick Pope and Matt Targett – who enjoyed a successful loan spell at St James’ Park last season – joining Eddie Howe’s side.

The concern among some Newcastle fans is that they remain thin on the ground at the other end of the pitch – Chris Wood has scored just once from open play for the club, while Wilson has missed 31 of the Magpies’ 77 Premier League games through injury since signing from Bournemouth in September 2020.

While Newcastle thoroughly deserved the three points on Saturday, the hosts’ somewhat toothless first-half performance highlighted why Howe is so keen to bolster his attacking options before the transfer window closes on 1 September.

Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton and Bruno Guimaraes all tried their luck from distance but either shot too close to Henderson or – in Guimaraes’ case – failed to hit the target altogether.

The tireless Joe Willock forced Henderson into a low save as Newcastle continued to apply pressure in the second half, before Saint-Maximin was thwarted again by the Forest goalkeeper from close range.

The longer the game went on, the more it seemed the Magpies would require a moment of inspiration to break down Forest – and Schar duly obliged with a goal of the highest quality shortly before the hour mark.

Wilson had a quiet afternoon but, like all good strikers, he took his chance with aplomb when it arrived and has now scored in the opening game in four of the past five Premier League seasons.

While Nottingham Forest failed to register a shot on target, there was much to admire about the visitors’ attitude and work-ethic at St James’ Park as they frustrated the home team for long spells.

If they can maintain that resilience throughout the campaign, they stand a good chance of keeping their heads above water this term.

Player of the match

Bruno GuimarãesBruno Guimarães

Newcastle United

  1. Squad number39Player nameBruno Guimarães

  2. Squad number5Player nameSchär

  3. Squad number4Player nameBotman

  4. Squad number9Player nameWilson

  5. Squad number7Player nameJoelinton

  6. Squad number10Player nameSaint-Maximin

  7. Squad number2Player nameTrippier

  8. Squad number24Player nameAlmirón

  9. Squad number33Player nameDan Burn

  10. Squad number21Player nameFraser

  11. Squad number36Player nameS Longstaff

  12. Squad number28Player nameJoe Willock

  13. Squad number13Player nameMatt Targett

  14. Squad number22Player nameNick Pope

  15. Squad number23Player nameMurphy

  16. Squad number20Player nameWood

Nottingham Forest

  1. Squad number7Player nameN Williams

  2. Squad number1Player nameHenderson

  3. Squad number26Player nameMcKenna

  4. Squad number20Player nameJohnson

  5. Squad number4Player nameWorrall

  6. Squad number19Player nameNiakhaté

  7. Squad number14Player nameO’Brien

  8. Squad number16Player nameSurridge

  9. Squad number8Player nameColback

  10. Squad number15Player nameToffolo

  11. Squad number5Player nameMangala

  12. Squad number9Player nameAwoniyi

  13. Squad number17Player nameMighten

  14. Squad number11Player nameLingard

Line-ups

Newcastle

Formation 4-3-3

  • 22Pope
  • 2Trippier
  • 5Schär
  • 33Burn
  • 13Targett
  • 28WillockSubstituted forS Longstaffat 80′minutes
  • 39Guimarães Rodriguez MouraSubstituted forBotmanat 90+3′minutes
  • 7Joelinton
  • 24AlmirónSubstituted forFraserat 81′minutes
  • 9WilsonSubstituted forWoodat 90′minutes
  • 10Saint-MaximinSubstituted forMurphyat 90′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Dúbravka
  • 3Dummett
  • 4Botman
  • 11Ritchie
  • 20Wood
  • 21Fraser
  • 23Murphy
  • 32Anderson
  • 36S Longstaff

Nottm Forest

Formation 5-3-2

  • 1Henderson
  • 7N WilliamsBooked at 23mins
  • 4WorrallBooked at 15mins
  • 19NiakhatéSubstituted forMightenat 83′minutes
  • 26McKenna
  • 15Toffolo
  • 14O’BrienBooked at 56minsSubstituted forMangalaat 75′minutes
  • 8Colback
  • 11Lingard
  • 20Johnson
  • 16SurridgeSubstituted forAwoniyiat 63′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Biancone
  • 5Mangala
  • 6Mbe Soh
  • 9Awoniyi
  • 13Hennessey
  • 17Mighten
  • 18Ribeiro Dias
  • 33Taylor
  • 41Hammond

Referee:
Simon Hooper

Attendance:
52,245

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