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

Darlow 5 – Looked hesitant, and although he made a few saves, it wasn’t a confident display from a keeper fighting for his place. Slow off his line twice, the second time led to the second goal.

Sterry 3 – I feel harsh saying it but he was all over the place tonight. Caught out of position defensively, lacked confidence on the ball, and didn’t look comfortable at all out there.

Mbemba 4– Felt sorry for him tonight playing next to Hanley, who was abysmal. Although that doesn’t excuse his performance and the fact that Newcastle were constantly caught out over the top.

Hanley 2 – One of the worst defensive displays you’ll see from an NUFC player at SJP, and as many fans know, that is saying something given the likes of Marcelino, Boumsong and Bramble in recent times.

Gamez 4 – Doesn’t really look like he can run, or defend, or do much at all to be honest. Took a blatant dive to try and win a penalty in the second half which I always hate to see. Delivery into the box was consistently poor.

Barlaser 9 – Looked comfortable on the ball. Although he could be questioned with his positioning when not in position, he was constantly an outlet for the defence.  Couldn’t speak any higher of his performance when in possession. Unfairly brought off after 70 minutes.

Diame 5 – Same old, same old. Didn’t do much. Didn’t look comfortable on the ball, lethargic. You don’t need me to go on, you know, the usual.

Saivet 5 – Given a chance tonight to show what he could do but didn’t look Championship standard, up against a sub-par Championship side.

Murphy 5 – Quiet! Didn’t get on the ball enough. A few chances went begging, with Murphy opting for the ‘close your eyes and blast it as hard as you can policy’ in front of goal. With Aarons outshining him on the other side, our new £12 million man may have dropped down to 4th in the winger pecking order for the time being.

Aarons 10 – To be honest, I’m a little tired of saying this, after another less competitive game against lower league opposition. He was the best player on the pitch by a million miles tonight. Strong, quick, tricky in tight situations. He set up the first goal, made a couple more chances and scored an absolute screamer. Must be given a chance in a big game that means something… starting Saturday.

Mitrovic 7 – Took his goal well but struggled to get into the game after the second minute. Not for the want of trying though. If he is going to play then we must play to his strengths. Not one high cross was put into the box in the first-half, I find that remarkable.


Lazaar 6 – Didn’t do anything.

Hayden 6 – Didn’t do anything.

Ritchie 6 – Didn’t do anything.

Joselu 5 – Don’t even think he touched the ball in the last 15 minutes.

One criticism I have of Benitez is his perpetual insistence on only playing one centre forward no matter what the circumstances are. I think it is being stubborn for the sake of it and I don’t like it.

I can’t get my head around throwing balls into the box in the last 15 minutes while the only guy who can head the ball in the net is sitting on the bench (or playing number 9 for the other team).

Even so, very disappointing to hear boos at the end of the game.

A terrible performance, but fans must remain positive only three games into the season. Perspective is very much needed. I suspect most of those boos came from the ‘day trippers’.

Hopefully, atmosphere-wise, normal service will be resumed on Saturday.

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

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn

(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])

  • Mrkgw

    Other than the select few, those found to have underperformed should be sacked. That would clear the decks.

  • mentalman

    it was a shame for Mbemba and Sterry especially sterry having to play in a defense with Hanley and Gamez in it. Mbemba’s performance was very similar to when he used to play alongside colo, he obviously needs a decent partner in defense and we all know his aerial ability is the weakest part of his game.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Hardly shocking news is it, state normal for the cup. the whole clubs in a mess through lack of investment & if we lose on Saturday i think it`ll be Adios Amigos
    from Rafa

    • Jimblag23

      I’m getting to the point where I don’t care anymore.
      The speculation is so boring now and he’s not going to get backed anytime soon.
      Just hurry up and employ Pardew. 😢😂 (I don’t know whether to laugh or cry)

    • Peaky Magpie

      Yes,the satnav is set to SJP by The Grim Reaper,if not gone Saturday definitely by the international break.Geordie John will be parachuted in as caretaker on the national minimum wage.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Joselu will join the ranks of the Riviere`s at the cloob cheap & nasty buys who`s on top wages & we won`t be able to offload

    • Mrkgw

      I’m neither feeling particularly optimistic about the Joselu arrival. On evidence of the last couple of games, he looks mediocre.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        The Northumbrian Flag will be flying at half mast at Leazes Castle

        • Mrkgw


    • Jezza

      Yes we’ve spent the whole summer trying without success to get shot of Riviere and now we’ve gone and bought somebody else’s Riviere.

  • Leicester Mag

    I agree with comments regards fixation with one up front great if you have Henry/Shearer ie a world class CF we don’t. It just surrenders possession something we are good at doing anyway. Not sure Rafa is entirely without fault in what is a mess

    • mentalman

      He’s doing the best with players who are apparently being bought behind his back

  • 1957

    A much changed team for me was a chance to play with two out and out forwards both Mitrovic and Jose Luis needed time on the pitch, but I got no more than I expected from a Benitez team, one of them and SloMo.

    How many more chances will Diame get, I thought Saivet was better last night, I know he was a Benitez buy but…

    If they wanted decent money for Hanley, putting him on the pitch last night was a mistake, he was shocking. Given his transfer fee the worst buy of August 2016 with almost no resale value.

  • Rev

    So why dont we play Aarons then or play to Mitros strengths? And why would Everton and Leicester be looking at one of our players ? Doesnt seem to matter if its Pardew or Rafa to me …the same team is picked with the same result then who do you oint the finger at if its mot the manager? We can’thave 30 duck eggs on the books surely!

    • Jezza

      “We can’thave 30 duck eggs on the books surely!”

      Ashley has spent 10 years systematically weakening our playing squad for profit and this is the end result.

      • Rev

        Not so sure, we have bought a few decent players too but the system we play week in week out seems to be making us easy to pick off. When did you last say i dont know how we didnt score four or five?

        • mentalman

          Didn’t you know its ashley and charnley who identify and then pick the players the club buys and they pick the team and the tactics.

          We will rarely score 4 or 5 because whoever you think is picking the team and tactics are playing 1 up front with strikers who can’t play up front on their own, we play a system with a no10 but don’t have one and our wide midfielders don’t put crosses in to the box

        • Jezza

          We may have bought a few decent ones along the way but they have all been sold on for profit. What we are left with now is a hollow shell of a first team squad devoid of a single outstanding player. It is telling that not one club has been linked with any of our top players this summer never mind the dregs we can’t get shot off. We have not got a single player on our books who would fetch £15 million, even in today’s inflated transfer market or who would get a move to a better team. That is where 10 years of Ashley’s profit at all costs approach has left us.

  • Rich Lawson

    Hopeless selection,best chance for silverware gone.Instead of Fun88 on the shirts it should just have said FOR SALE ?

  • Popnbgd

    I don’t like to criticize people but Rafa has to play with 2 strikers upfront if he wish to stay in premier league….NCU is playing a way to defensive…Mitrovic has to play…