Newcastle moved to within one point of fourth-place Tottenham in the Premier League table with a last-gasp win at Nottingham Forest.
Eddie Howe’s side fell behind early on but held their heads on Friday night’s raucous pitch at the City Ground, condemning Steve Cooper’s men to their first home defeat since September.
The visitors should have broken the deadlock with just over five minutes on the clock. Kieran Trippier managed to free Jacob Murphy from the right flank, running in behind Renan Lodi and attracting the attention of Moussa Niakhate. His cross picked out Joe Willock just outside the six yard box, who fired with the impressive figure of Ryan Yates breathing down his neck.
Minutes later Newcastle went even closer. A cleverly worked free-kick saw Trippier pass the ball under the wall to Alexander Isaac, whose close-range shot was deflected onto the bar by Lodi and held up by Keylor Navas.
At the other end, Forest’s first sight of a goal came when Brennan Johnson leapt down the right wing and fired a quick shot at Nick Pope, who did well to read the flight of the ball and catch the effort.
Despite both sides being inferior at the start, Forest took the lead in the first half. Pope’s hospital pass from Sven Boatman was intercepted by back Emmanuel Denis, who was forced to run wide with the ball, but did well to parry the ball past the advancing goalkeeper and Trippier over the line.
The Magpies quickened the woodwork for a second time in the first half when Sean Longstaff’s 20-yard strike clipped Felipe’s ankle, startling Navas but ricocheting gracefully back off the bar and to safety.
On the eve of the break, Newcastle found a leveller. Forest was caught snoozing with several players on the pitch, allowing Willock to run backwards and cross for Isaac, who produced a superb improvised finish with his shin, his effort bouncing off the far post. Went.
Howe’s men came close to taking the lead soon after the restart. A deep cross from Trippier was met by substitute Elliott Anderson, and his wicked volley was headed over by Navas.
Navis didn’t deny the youngster in his second attempt. Forest failed to clear their lines and Isaac was able to dig a cross towards the back post, with Anderson heading home above Serge Aurier. However, after a lengthy VAR investigation, Longstaff was adjudged to be offside when Isaac’s initial ball was played in, and he was activated when he received unsuccessful clearances from Felipe and Niakhet.
With the clock ticking down, Isaac had a shot blocked off the line by Aurier as Newcastle went in search of a late winner.
Such a forward forward for the first time ever saw the Magpies open themselves up a bit at the back, with Johnson racing onto Boatman and forcing Pope to make a save on the break.
Six minutes into stoppage time, Newcastle were awarded a penalty when Niakhate elbowed out while attempting to defend a cross, hitting the ball with his hand. Isaac stepped up and picked out the top corner to send the traveling Geordies into bedlam.
It proved to be the final piece of goal-mouthing action, with Forest now taking to the pitch this weekend with many of their Premier League rivals looking nervously over their shoulders.
GK: Keylor Navas – 7/10 – Excellent save to keep Forest in the game.
RB: Serge Aurier – 6/10 – Saint-Maximin kept his cool but was given a difficult task by Anderson.
CB: Felipe – 4/10 – There is a lot of mess with his aggressive style.
CB: Moussa Niakhte – 1/10 – Ultimately heavily punished for his overly eager lunges and forays into midfield, giving away a harsh penalty at the last.
LB: Renan Lodhi – 4/10 – He was consistently caught out by Newcastle, who were happy to run into space, so he vacated behind Forest’s backline.
CM: Ryan Yates – 5/10 – Didn’t offer much stability in midfield. Brought out with a shoulder injury.
Chief Minister: Jonjo Shelvey – 5/10 – Forest lacked creativity but were helped by Shelvey’s impressive range of passing.
RM: Brennan Johnson – 6/10 – Looked threatening when he had the ball, but you can’t help but feel he should have played on the left to go in naturally.
AM: Morgan Gibbs-White – 5/10 – Made some decent films from time to time but failed to provide sustained creativity.
LM: Emmanuel Denis – 8/10 – He is always alive, wherever He appears. Get rewarded for your effort with a goal.
CF: Andre Ayew – 4/10 – Seen as a 33 year old who hasn’t played much at the top level in the last half a decade. Slow and cumbersome, often breaks attacks on its own.
Remo Freller (58′ for Yates) – 5/10
Sam Surridge (79′ for age) – N/A
Neko Williams (79′ for Dennis) – N/A
Gustavo Scarra (90′ for Shelvey) – N/A
Steve Cooper – 5/10 – Forest was downright bad yet found a way to stay in the game, which has been a theme throughout this season, so it looks like this is more than a fluke.
GK: Nick Pope – 4/10 – He wasn’t as impressive as he should have been for one of the tallest players in the league.
RB: Kieran Trippier – 7/10 – Enjoyed the forward move from former Atletico Madrid teammate Lodi. Usually the man to start the Newcastle attack.
CB: Fabian Schaar – 6/10 – Wasn’t really bothered by the massive blunt forest onslaught.
CB: Sven Bottmann – 3/10 – Denys was completely ignored when trying to play the ball back to Pope, which led to the opening goal. Constantly clumsy.
LB: Dan Byrne – 5/10 – Tipped inside-out by Johnson, though luckily not in the dangerous areas for Byrne.
Chief Minister: Bruno Guimarães – 7/10 – Coolest head in an offensive midfield battle.
CM: Sean Longstaff – 5/10 – Popped up in dangerous areas but without much danger (and if you were being harsh, proved to be a net negative due to Anderson’s disallowed goal).
CM: Joe Willock – 7/10 – As Longstaff got himself to the right parts of the pitch and found a chink in Forrest’s armour.
RW: Jacob Murphy – 5/10 – Newcastle missed out on the directness that Miguel Almiron could bring. Instead, Murphy played on the sidelines of the game and contributed little.
CF: Alexander Isaac – 9/10 – An all-action performance. Brutally scored a superb goal before being denied an assist of similar quality, but ultimately had the last laugh from 12 yards.
LW: Alain Saint-Maximin – 5/10 – Aurier succumbed and withdrew at the break.
Elliott Anderson (46′ for Saint-Maximin) – 7/10 – His ingenuity and tactical flexibility made him difficult for Forest to pin down.
Matt Ritchie (84′ for Murphy) – N/A
Eddie Howe – 7/10 – Newcastle were the better side but they probably should have made the prospect more clear cut given how fragile it is Forest saw.