0 - 2
St. James Park, Newcastle
|Bart-Williams||Shearer (11 & 88 Mins)|
|Gray(62 mins)||Barton (25 mins)|
|Hjelde||Dalglish (59 mins)|
of The Eye
As usual Alan Shearer's rich vein of goalscoring form came to a head against a gun - shy Forest side. The England captain grabbed both goals to leave the Magpies in perfect shape for Thursday's tricky European Cup Winners' Cup tie away to Partizan Belgrade.
Forest, who have now lost three of their last four League games, will be wondering how they left Tyneside empty-handed after wasting a string of chances, especially in a frantic 15-minute spell at the end of the first-half.
It appeared that Forest were destined to play the offside game as Newcastle were caught 6 times in the first 10 minutes without much in the way of a replt despite fileding a 4-4-2 formation with debut neil Shipperley and jean-Claude Darcheville forming the spearhead. Shearer had already fallen victim to two tight offside decisions when Forest's defence were caught ball-watching for the opener. Shay Given had to race 15 yards outside his area to hack clear from the onrushing Jean-Claude Darcheville and as the visitors' defence allowed the ball to sail over them, Shearer sprinted through. He rounded Dave Beasant and was able to slot the ball into an empty net from six yards as Forest defenders failed to get back in time.
Shearer then made sure of the win two minutes from time when he was tripped up by Alan Rogers after racing on to a through-ball from Paul Dalglish -- the son of Newcastle's former boss playing only his second game. The defender was booked by referee David Elleray for the challenge and after picking himself up, Shearer drilled the ball beyond Beasant.
The two-goal winning margin looks comfortable enough but after beating Southampton 4-0 and Coventry 5-1 on the past two Saturdays, this was a much stiffer examination of Newcastle -- and it was a test they could so easily have failed. Their free-scoring performances over the past fortnight had revived memories of the exciting brand of football played during Kevin Keegan's time in charge on Tyneside. But Keegan's era was also synonymous with lax defending and Forest, starting with two men up front for the first time in the League this season, were given more than their fair share of chances.
Craig Armstrong headed narrowly over after meeting Steve Chettle's high ball, while Steve Stone hit the face of the crossbar with what looked like a mishit cross from the right. Given got down well to Darcheville's low shot but Laurent Charvet saved his keeper when he hacked Mathieu Louis-Jean's header off the line. Given also had to tip Nigel Quashie's drive over and he did well to beat away Chettle's volley after it had flown through a crowd of players.
Shearer had already put Newcastle in front when Forest started to get into the game but Newcastle had enough opportunities to double their advantage. Temuri Ketsbaia missed Shearer's low cross 10 yards out and the lively Nolberto Solano saw his shot blocked by Beasant. The Forest keeper, who was once on Newcastle's books, did well to hold Shearer's header after the striker had found himself in space 12 yards from goal.
The Redsfound it far more difficult to open their opponents up after half-time and what chances there were fell to Newcastle on the break.
Beasant got down to his left to tip Shearer's effort wide and Charvet's barnstorming run from deep inside his own half was almost rewarded with a goal but his fierce shot flew just over. The Forest keeper had to grab Rob Lee's drive at the second attempt but Andy Gray let Newcastle off the hook when he shot tamely at Given after debutant Neil Shipperley had released him. Substitute Gray also wastefully fired over after the hosts were caught out by Stone and Marlon Harewood before Shearer's late strike settled matters .
Once again the gang that couldn't shoot straight will have to examine their shortcomings on the practice ground if the Reds are to make any further progress in the goalscoring department!
© Nottingham Forest 1998