It wasn’t difficult to pick Friday night’s man of the match, saving two penalties was always going to give Karl Darlow that accolade, even if he eventually ended up on the losing side.
Of course this only applies to Newcastle fans and neutrals, as no doubt Forest fans would have been stuck between serial cheater Henri Lansbury and Steve Martin for the award of top man…
Karl Darlow was at fault for the equaliser as he came for a ball he had no chance of getting but I think we can forgive him that, as when you are down to nine men you sometimes have to take calculated risks you wouldn’t normally consider.
When Newcastle lost two Championship matches at the start of the season, they then went on and won the next five, so Rafa Benitez will be looking for a similar reaction this time.
Darlow says that the team ‘need to pick ourselves up and go again’, starting with Birmingham on Saturday.
The two scruffy goals United conceded at Nottingham Forest, have made a right mess of an almost flawless away record. Nine previous away Championship matches had seen seven wins and a draw at Villa, with only the one defeat on the opening day against Fulham.
Only three goals conceded in those nine matches and Friday night was the first time Newcastle had conceded twice in any away game, not bad for almost four months of football.
It might be a lower level but there does appear some truth in Karl Darlow’s assertion that there is a ‘steel and determination’ to the current team, that wasn’t there last season.
“It was just one of those where I’ve guessed and I’ve guessed right on both of them (penalties).
“Unfortunately we’ve lost the game, so it’s not a game I’m going to look back on and say, ‘Oh, I saved two penalties in the game,’ because we have lost the game.
“The result is the most important thing and we need to pick ourselves up and go again next Saturday.
“There is a steel and determination about us away from home where we’ve been solid and worked hard when we’ve needed to.
“We have got good victories away from home that we might not have done last season.
“I know it’s a different league but it’s still tough to hold on when they’re throwing in throw-ins and corners at you.
“So to show the desire and determination with nine men going right to the death of the game is something positive to take from it…but unfortunately we’ve lost.
“The dressing room is different to last season though and there is character in there.
“Definitely (no need to panic), the run that we went on has put us in the great position where we are.
“It has been a tough week as we have had three games in the space of six days, so it was always going to be a hard week.
“We’re tired but we’ve got a free week now, so we know we can really prepare towards getting a result next weekend now.
“We’re all frustrated, obviously we went 1-0 up and everyone gathered together because we wanted to get a positive result, whether that be a point, down to nine men that is a credible result.
“We all know you can’t lose two players in a Championship game and expect to get anything.”