Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 3 (AET)  – Wednesday 23 August 7.45pm

It has taken me an extra day to write this match report (finished it on Friday night), partly due to work restrictions and partly because I think an extra day was needed in order to realise some perspective from Wednesday night. Obviously, Newcastle United crashed out early from another cup competition.

There is no denying that on the whole it was a shambolic performance from start to finish. It is funny because I know that I should know better but once again, before the game, I had that funny feeling that this might just be our year!

Perhaps, I thought, Newcastle would be one of those teams that struggles near the bottom of the league but has a good cup run. I was very wrong, and once again, it was the performance from the team that was most disappointing.

At home to Notts Forest you expect us to be able to dominate, or at least look like the better side. The truth was that every time Forest went forward they looked like scoring. On the other hand, we never looked like doing anything, with Rolando Aarons being our only creative force during the game. Jacob Murphy may have huffed and puffed but his final product was consistently poor.

It would be foolish to panic. Losing our first three games and getting knocked out of the League Cup is not the end of the world. It is worrying, yes. However, we are only three games into the season and perspective is needed. Much more will be said after West Ham and then again, once the transfer window has shut.

When I saw the starting 11 I actually thought that this was a side that would be good enough to win the game.

I don’t think Rafa can be criticised for fielding a team deemed not good enough… they simply just didn’t play good enough.

What it did show, against a Championship team, was that this is a Newcastle team filled with Championship standard players. Gamez, Hanley, Sterry, Diame, Saivet, even Mitrovic and Murphy, are still probably Championship standard players.

Even those players who did perform, such as Barlaser and Aarons, have never shown themselves to be good enough for the Premier League (albeit Barlaser hasn’t had the opportunity at senior level).

What it did show was that Newcastle and Rafa Benitez need money, and they need it in these next few days.

The Game

Despite everything, Newcastle made a great start and scored after three minutes. Rolando Aarons set up Mitrovic who finished brilliantly. Aarons was a constant menace to the Forest defence and he could have set up a few goals if it wasn’t for some poor finishing.

While Newcastle huffed and puffed with some half chances, it was Forest who dominated the game after going 1-0 down. They could have equalised straight away with the two centre halves caught out with a ball over the top, luckily Karl Darlow rushed out to make the save.

Within the space of two quick first half minutes, Forest equalised and then took the lead through Jason Cummings – although he was aided by some atrocious defending.

Newcastle’s equaliser came through a great goal from Aarons.

The second half was a close fought contest, but in truth, United never really looked like scoring. Even after the introduction of Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden, we never looked like opening up the Forest defence.

The closest either side came to a breakthrough, was through a Forest free kick in the last minute which cannoned off the bar. Having got lucky, maybe we would kick on in extra time, but it was not to be.

We all know what happened in extra-time, Forest went 3-2 up and Newcastle never looked like replying. It took Rafa 105 minutes to introduce Joselu, which wasn’t good enough for me. Even when he did, he brought Mitrovic off and we were still left with only one up front.

As far as performances under Rafa go, it was probably as bad as it gets.

Rafa Benitez

Rafa is in a tricky place at the moment. I have said it before – but the fans must continue to be positive and show the manger unrelenting support.

Of course he can, and should, be criticised for mistakes that he makes (like refusing to play two up front no matter what the circumstances). That is football. Rafa isn’t perfect, far from it, but he is a bloody good manager, and the best we are going to get. Almost feels like a small pocket of support are taking him for granted already.

If Rafa didn’t care then he wouldn’t be here. Which is why the fact he is still here, shows that at the absolute least, we have a manager who wants to be here. It had all been plain sailing for Benitez so far under Mike Ashley, this is his first real test, so lets hope he doesn’t run.

The Fans

I was surprised to hear that it was 27,000+ in the ground. To be honest I thought that it was much less. Obviously, there were a lot of day trippers who made the most of cheap cup tickets, however, I am not sure that excuses the chorus of boos that rang around the stadium on multiple occasions.

I think if we want to go with the mentality of being positive, and having a positive impact on the team, then the boo boys really have to stop. At least until there is something that is really worth booing inside the stadium.

On and off the pitch, we must improve at the moment.

Final word

A worrying performance but Rafa won’t need us to tell him, I am sure he knows what needs to be done. We just have to wait and see if it gets done in these remaining days of August.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 3 (AET)


Newcastle: Mitrovic 3, Aarons 45+1

Forest: Cummings 29, 31 Walker 97

Possession was Forest 51% Newcastle 49%

Total shots were  Forest 16 Newcastle 29

Shots on target were Forest  7 Newcastle 7

Corners were  Forest 9 Newcastle 11

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Sterry (Lazaar 58), Mbemba, Hanley, Gamez, Aarons (Ritchie 77), Saivet, Barlaser (Hayden 70), Murphy, Diame, Mitrovic (Joselu 105)

Unused Subs:

Woodman, Lascelles, Manquillo

Crowd: 27,709 (approx 1,000 Forest)

Referee: Darren England

(To read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the match go here)

(Read Rafa Benitez’ opinion on Newcastle 2 Nottingham Forest 3 here)

(Read what Mark Warburton had to say about the game here)

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • fistsofsteel2

    Seems odd that the fans have been asked not to take bags in………when the squad is made up of so much excess baggage.

    • Leazes Ender

      If you take a steak bake in each pocket…. may be mistaken for a suicide bomber….

      Its probably to stop people avoiding the meal deal…. bag of crisps and a bottle of coke for just £6.99.

      • fistsofsteel2

        If you take a steak bake in each pocket…. may be mistaken for a suicide bomber….

        – or Newcastle’s defence.

      • Guest 2

        LOL! Good ‘un.

  • Guest 2

    Somewhat of a contradiction this, isn” it?
    Don’t panic you say – then admit the squad isn’t good enough and Rafa needs money. Money which he isn’t going to get.
    As for plain sailing for Rafa, have you already forgotten the January window? Or the fact the owner refuses to meet or talk with him?
    Not a greatly thought out article.

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      Totally agreed – we all know what the crack is right now. BUT, that is all the more reason for us to get behind the team.

      The team is under pressure by itself because it is not good enough… having even more unnecessary pressure coming from the stands just makes it worse. We can all write what we want on fanzines, forums etc. but in the stadium, why can’t people just try and get behind the team? for 90 minutes? to try and help the team get the best possible result?

      • Guest 2

        If you agree then why didn’t you write that instead?
        Maybe you had a different upbringing – but football always had criticism attached and hurled from the terraces. More than half the home support these days can’t bring themselves to open their mouths about anything – boo’s or cheers.
        Why should we cheer on regardless? That would certainly warrant us being called deluded.

  • Paul Patterson

    ‘Obviously, Newcastle United crashed out early from another cup competition.’

    ‘There is no denying that on the whole it was a shambolic performance from start to finish.’

    ‘the performance from the team that was most disappointing.’

    ‘The truth was that every time Forest went forward they looked like scoring.’

    ‘we never looked like doing anything’

    ‘some atrocious defending’

    ‘As far as performances under Rafa go, it was probably as bad as it gets.’

    –And you question the reaction of the fans?
    “University education, you can’t beat it”- Edmund Blackadder.

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      you can’t boo every bad performance… which we seem to do right now?

      • Jezza

        Of course you can. It always used to be an integral part of the match day experience before Sky Sports came along and made football trendy and all the new breed of spectators (as opposed to supporters) jumped on the bandwagon to buy their 40 quid tickets and sit in an all seater stadium with an atmosphere like a library.

      • Guest 2

        Ask Ashley. The customer is always right.

  • goggsy

    If that was booing and unrest among supporters then I’m jimmy Saville. Much like the players and manager unfortunately no one really cares.

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      the club didn’t throw the game. i don’t know about you, but i have been at games Leicester away, Brighton away… where the club have actually thrown the game.

      • goggsy

        I agree they threw them too. Brighton was the clearest indication as a where football was heading.Of course we did,we could have won a game but we took not getting any injuries. What would make the manager happier,beating forest 6 nowt and injuring Gale or Merino or Clark? Or getting beat and not having any injuries?

        • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

          I honestly think that team was good enough to win the game. Before the game i had no issues with the team that was put out.

          From my knowledge, not many others did too? It was the performance that was rubbish.

          Footballers are going to play bad sometimes.

          • goggsy

            Are you kidding. Saviet and Barlasor in the middle of the park? That’s where the game was lost. Hanley has no future at the club,Lazar has no future at the club.they were told to play because scouts were watching them. That is not trying to win a game. If you think otherwise fair enough but I certainly won’t be agreeing with you. Not trying to win brings sport into disrepute and for me is totally unacceptable.

          • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

            I thought Barlaser played well to be honest. I think the team was good enough to win the game.

            We will agree to disagree!

  • Steve Pearce

    I’d actually forgotten that load of shyte until you spewed up this pointless load of pap, What were you doing – sleeping off your hangover and waking up last night? Far better to stop insulting those of us that can’t afford to go to a league game and had a night out at the game with their families. We were NOT booing and I don’t like being patronised by someone who obviously feels that the “day trippers” have no right to be at the game!

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      I don’t feel that way at all… if it wasn’t for “day trippers” there would only be 10,000 in the ground and football without fans is nothing.

      However, whats the point in coming along to game if you’re just going to boo or shout at players? Even in the short space around me, all people did from minute 1 was shout and criticise.

      • Leazes Ender

        Not ‘day trippers’….. look at the photos of the crowds….. they’re dads and kids who can’t afford season tickets for the whole family despite level seven.

        • Guest 2

          Aye and who ever used to go to the match with their missus or girlfriend?
          Have the women of the Toon suddenly became overly interested in football, 4-2-3-1 and the offside rule – or is there another far simpler and more common sense reason…

          • Leazes Ender

            Lets not go there.

          • Grahame Johnson

            Guest 2 for the last 5 seasons I’ve sat in block u gallowgate there are a good few lasses who are season ticket holders and I’ve seen plenty of lasses at games, they behave in a varied way like male fans do and are a varied bunch regards age the lass who has my spare today will have a toon top on, sings,shouts etc and is a proud mag

      • Steve Pearce

        That is the natural reaction that real people have when the team they support are playing badly.So go back to whatever rich cloud you floated down from and let the rest of we “day trippers” express natural human emotions – and please don’t bother replying to this.

      • hetonmag

        Fully agree with you mate it has a negative effect, I’m old school and seen some rubbish down the years but I have never once booed but people pay their money it’s their choice.

    • Wor Lass

      That`s fair comment, Steve. I remember KK going ballistic with the team at half time in a cup game (can`t remember the opponents or result) BECAUSE the team was playing so badly in front of a crowd largely made up of “day trippers”. His point was that this was the only game these people had been able to see that season and they deserved 100% commitment.

  • Leazes Ender

    If they were roundly ‘booed’ onto the pitch and during the game and after the game, it would force change….. letting Ashley pass off his suicide squad as a premiership team has to be confronted not condoned.

    • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

      It wouldn’t. If you are only going to along to boo then I would suggest not going at all.

      The best way to talk is with your feet… in 2010 Dortmund fans wanted to protest ticket prices against their local rivals Schalke. They didn’t go along with banners or boo. When they wanted to change, they let their feet and money do the talking.

      They didn’t go.

      I strong feel that the only way of making change is if you don’t go. That is the only thing that will affect Ashley and his regime.

      • Leazes Ender

        Sunderland fans have emulated it to no avail….

        • Albert Stubbins

          not 8,000- dads or parents had to pay about £300 and kids under 18 paid 68 quid (well their parents did). There’s always a catch with Ashley.

      • Guest 2

        Even funnier response. Have you read the comments in here from so called supporters during the Ashley years?
        Any mention of a campaign, walk-out, or similar and they immediately reach for an abacus and tell us how grateful we should be.
        As keeps being highlighted – when true fans walk away, the seats are filled by silent cheap ticket takers.

      • Steve Smith

        The only change it would effect would be cheaper season tickets or a gimmicky match day experience to fill the seats with anyone.

  • HappyToons

    Golly, the atmosphere against Spurs was worse than I can recall so there must be 50k day trippers just in toon for the shopping with their missus and the match is secondary after ‘Costa’. It is probably the kids and the wives doing the booing and moaning that they have been dragged to the match!