Newcastle United vs Nottingham Forest. Premier League.
St James' Park, NewcastleAttendance52,245.
Free highlights and match report as Newcastle get off the mark with a convincing 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest; Fabian Schar's stunning strike saw the Magpies ahead; Callum Wilson's clever finish added a second; Forest had no shots on target at St James' Park
Monday 8 August 2022 08:38, UK
Superb second-half goals from Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson saw Newcastle ease past Nottingham Forest 2-0 in their Premier League opener, but Eddie Howe wants his side to be more ruthless in front of goal.
The Magpies really should have won by more after a dominant but frustrating first half. Newcastle registered 14 shots - six on target - and had seven corners, but were guilty of being wasteful in front of goal.
Joelinton should have buried at least two of his first-half chances, dragging one wide and seeing another well saved by Nottingham Forest loanee Dean Henderson. Along with fellow debutant Moussa Niakhate, the pair were key in keeping Forest from an opening weekend mauling at St James' Park.
"I know we need to be better," Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said after the game. "I'm always going to push the players for more and I said that at half-time. We delivered a very good display up until the last action.
"The good thing was we had created chances, some great moves and great moments. There were really positive signs for what can be this season.
"But we need to be more ruthless."
It took something special to break the Nottingham Forest defence. Scott McKenna's clearance fell to Schar, who drove into the space ahead of him with no pressure from the opposing defence, before thundering a shot past Henderson.
Soon after, Wilson's smart finish made it 2-0. Joelinton picked out the striker inside the area, as he majestically lifted the ball over the goalkeeper's head at the near post, continuing his trend of scoring early on in the season.
It was ultimately a comfortable three points for Newcastle, who will have ambitions of a European push this season. Nottingham Forest failed to register a shot on target in their first Premier League match since 1999 with a tough start to life back in England's top flight.
It was one-way traffic in the first half, all heading towards Nottingham Forest's goal. Inside four minutes, Allan Saint-Maximin was already testing Joe Worrall down the right flank, eventually finding Joe Willock in midfield. However, the latter's effort was seen behind for a corner.
Newcastle continued to see set-pieces come and go throughout the first half - registering seven corners - with Joelinton seeing a strong shot stopped by Dean Henderson in the 20th minute. The Newcastle man easily turned past former Magpie Jack Colback in midfield, but his fierce strike from range was pushed away by the Forest goalkeeper.
Joelinton should have buried Newcastle's best chance of the half 11 minutes later. He made a driving run to the top of the area, but his shot dragged just past the target as the Magpies continued to waste chances.
Nottingham Forest showed a glimpse of what made them Sky Bet Championship play-off winners last season towards the end of the half. Lewis O'Brien picked out Jesse Lingard inside the area, but Schar was there to block the forward's effort. Neco Williams tried to power home the rebound, but it flashed wide.
Just after, Henderson was again called into action to deny Miguel Almiron at the near post. Bruno Guimaraes found him with a sublime pass, but the angle was not enough to beat the goalkeeper.
The second half was a slightly quieter affair, although Newcastle were still dominant, finally making the breakthrough with Schar's smashing strike just before the hour.
Nottingham Forest almost scored their first Premier League goal of the 2022/23 campaign soon after as Williams delivered a lovely ball into the area. Sam Surridge was there, but he directed his header into the turf before it bounced wide.
Newcastle netted their deserved second not long after as they cruised to victory in front of a typically raucous St James' Park, getting off the mark in style.
|Bonus points||Schar (3pts), Targett (2pts), Trippier (1pt)|
Picked up where he left off last season and ran the midfield from start to finish. He is starting to form a great partnership with Miguel Almiron down the wings, which can only develop further. He had the most touches (95), passes completed (62/72) and dribbles completed (4). A truly magical player.
Newcastle: Pope (6), Trippier (7), Targett (7), Schar (7), Burn (7), Guimaraes (8), Willock (7), Almiron (7), Saint-Maximin (7), Wilson (7), Joelinton (8).
Subs used: Longstaff (n/a), Fraser (n/a), Murphy (n/a), Wood (n/a), Botman (n/a).
Nottingham Forest: Henderson (7), Williams (6), Niakhate (7), McKenna (6), Worrall (6), Toffolo (5), O'Brien (5), Colback (6), Lingard (5), Johnson (5), Surridge (5).
Subs: Awoniyi (5), Mangala (5), Mighten (n/a).
Man of the match: Bruno Guimaraes.
Sky Sports' Lewis Jones:
Wilson has a history of scoring goals early on in a campaign. In the last nine seasons when he has been fit enough to start a season (eight out of nine), Wilson has scored on average five goals in the first eight matchdays of that season.
Overall it works out at an average goals scored per 90 minutes of 0.6 in the first eight matchdays of a season. That compares to a 0.3 average in games over the course of the rest of the season. His body seems to peak after the pre-season period.
After the game, he told Sky Sports: "It was a cheeky finish. There were so many times the ball came across at the near post and I was either too far away or too far in front. That time, I managed to get a connection. You stab at it as a striker at the near post and thankfully, it looped over the goalie.
"I back myself, there's no doubt about that. For me, it's about hitting the ground running and it was a good opportunity to score a goal. Disappointed I didn't score more and it's getting that consistency now and hopefully climb up the league."
Everything points to him and Newcastle starting with a bang.
Newcastle manager Eddie Howe:
"I'm feeling very positive after watching that. The players were excellent, we delivered what we wanted to. Full credit to them physically for the effort it took to win that match. It was a huge shift from the player. It was a performance of real promise from us today.
"I know we need to be better. I'm always going to push the players for more and I said that at half-time. We delivered a very good display up until the last action. The good thing was we had created chances, some great moves and great moments. There were really positive signs for what can be this season.
"But we need to be more ruthless because we know how difficult this league is and how a game can swing in a moment. We got there in the end today and the scoreline is great for us today, but it was quite tight.
"The performance was missing the icing on the cake and Fabian bought that with the strike. When he was lining up to hit it, I was questioning his decision and then I saw it hit the net and I was delighted he made that call. He's capable of the unexpected, he's an unconventional centre-half, he's technically so good. It was a great strike.
"What a finish from Callum. I've only seen it once live, I don't know how he managed to get the spin on the ball and the angle to take it in. but that's what he's capable of. He lives for scoring goals, he was very good during pre-season and he's taken that form into this game today."
Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper:
"We were second best, there's no doubt about that. Newcastle looked like a good team today. At times, we coped with it OK in terms of the possession they had and the territory, but we didn't play well enough with the ball. You could see that with the two goals.
"In the end, we turned the ball over a little cheaply, not completely believing in how we want to play. That's given them even more momentum than they already had.
"There were some good bits of our defensive play, certainly in and around the box. They had loads of the ball and got into some really good areas, but we stayed compact, progressive in our defending, going up to the ball and showing them into areas.
"But what wasn't at the level today was when we won the ball, there were too many turnovers and we didn't play quick enough and didn't give ourselves a chance to get any momentum in the game.
"That was the striking thing today. Many will ask what was the difference with playing our first Premier League game and for me, it was the intensity of the press from Newcastle and how we need to move the ball quicker. They're the things we have to learn from today.
"We haven't played great today with the ball, but I believe in these players and the way we play. We've won a lot of games, admittedly in a different league last year, but we need to believe in it and take it into these games. Nothing has been decided today.
"Of course, we need to make more additions and keep growing the team and believing in what we do. But we're not looking too far ahead. we've felt our first game in the Premier League, we need to reflect and learn from it quickly, but we stick to the plan. We'll get back to the training ground and look forward to the next game."
Newcastle head to Brighton on Saturday August 13 with a 3pm kick-off before hosting champions Manchester City the following week.
Nottingham Forest's first home match in the Premier League since 1999 will be live on Sky Sports when they take on West Ham. Kick-off is at 2pm on Sunday August 14.