The first of the Boxing Day kickoffs was scheduled for St James’ Park on Tuesday, with Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United welcoming Nottingham Forest at lunchtime. Winless in seven games ahead of their trip north, the visitors would be seeking to stun an out-of-form Magpies side.
NEW: Dubravka; Burn, Botman, Schär, Trippier; Longstaff, Guimarães, Miley; Gordon, Isak, Almirón
NFO: Turner; Aina, Murillo, Niakhaté, Montiel; Sangaré, Danilo; Hudson-Odoi, Gibbs-White, Elanga; Wood
Winning just one of six matches since their victory against Manchester United on December 2nd, an out-of-form Newcastle United looked to have put themselves on course for three points when Alexander Isak slotted home from the penalty spot in the first half after a foul from Ola Aina.Embed from Getty Images
But it would come from a rare foray forwards for the Magpies, who were forced to defend resolutely against an impressive – and rather relentless – wave of attacks from an inspired Nottingham Forest side.
Having already squandered two opportunities to restore parity, Anthony Elanga registered the assist for Chris Wood’s leveller in first-half stoppage time, with the ex-Newcastle forward tapping home for a well-earned equaliser.
Wood added a second goal to his tally less than ten minutes after play resumed, once again combining with Elanga as the Swedish international sent a long ball forwards to him to latch onto, dancing around defenders before placing his effort over Martin Dubravka and into the back of the net.Embed from Getty Images
On the hour mark, Wood would seal the three points and pick up the match ball after slotting home a calm finish from Murillo’s through ball – putting Forest five points clear of the relegation zone ahead of the later Boxing Day kickoffs.