“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for NUFC and we’re feeling good,” read a giant banner unfurled at Gallowgate End before kickoff.
Nottingham Forest’s resistance in the first half will test the optimism of Newcastle’s legions of supporters believing in this message, but well before the tea party, a superb goal by Fabian Scher and another fine finish by Callum Wilson ensure that this is definitely not the case. case of temptation of fate.
Forest returned to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years, and with Steve Cooper making his debut on six of his 12-year deals, the cheerleaders arrived in holiday spirits.
Their team spent the first half spoiling Newcastle’s supposed party with a fairly powerful last defence, with captain Joe Worrall leading the resistance from his position in the back three.
Whether it was Newcastle’s nerves, quality and intensity, or both, teammates were often very poor when it came to holding the ball, but without that, they often did an excellent job of limiting the home team’s penalty area space. maneuver.
The tone was set in the opening minutes when Tyneside native Jack Kolbak, once a Newcastle midfielder, chased the accelerating Bruno Guimarães a few yards early, to the Brazilian’s obvious shock, and eventually slid forward to neatly clear the ball from his toes. .
Kolbak played well in central midfield, using his talent and street knowledge to hold off Forest, who conceded six corners in the first 20 minutes alone. Despite a near-constant flurry of home attacks at times, often led by Kieran Trippier’s excellent attacks from right-back, Forest’s loanee Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson could do surprisingly little.
Despite Cooper’s players continuing to lose the ball, Henderson made the only real save in the first half when he deflected a regular shot from Joelinton. Howe Jolinton’s transformation from non-scoring center forward to dynamic No. 8 last season proved to be a minor masterstroke, and his wisdom was once again highlighted as the now box-to-box Brazilian blasted past multiple markers before eventually eventually struck past a promising position.
With Miguel Almiron once again failing to cap off many great runs and Worrall’s hard-working Wilson, it was easy to see why Howe was so eager to sign an additional striker.
Although Allan Saint-Maximin tormented new right-back Forest Neko Williams at first, the former Liverpool defender has slowly built a relationship with the Frenchman. Indeed, it was the deprivation of Saint-Maximin of possession by Lewis O’Brien that gave the guests the only real chance in the first half.
When O’Brien eventually found Jesse Lingard in a dangerous position, St James’ Park held their breath, but Cher made a vital block to ensure Nick Pope made his Newcastle debut after being preferred Martin Dubravka in goal after his move from Burnley. was well protected.
Despite former Lille centre-back Sven Botman signing a £35 million summer deal, Howe opted to start with Sher and Dan Byrne at the core of his defence, leaving Boatman on the bench.
Cher proved his worth by finally breaking the deadlock after Forest only partially cleared another corner. As the ball landed on the Swiss defender about 25 yards away, few expected Cher to test Henderson’s reflexes, but after making a couple of stabilizing touches, he landed an unstoppable right foot that hit the top corner, leaving the keeper helpless.
With Guimarães reaffirming its cult status at Tyneside with a series of stellar touches and through passes, Newcastle remained very strong, but the moment Sam Surridge avoided Trippier this time and met a Williams cross, only to lavishly headbutt him into the ground. , emphasized why Howe was so eager for his team to score again.
Wilson duly submitted, deftly evading his marker to land a cross from Jolinton with the outside of his right foot before bending the ball out of Henderson’s reach.