Two injury-time goals saw Nottingham Forest through to the Third Round of the League Cup after beating Newcastle United 3-1. Antony Hatton was at the City Ground for the action
Another fantastic cup tie on Trent side saw Forest beat off Premier League opposition for the second year running after a solid display against Newcastle. Granted Rafa Benitez’s team weren’t at full strength but Forest did the job accordingly.
Within a minute of kick-off, loan man Sam Byram beat his man and flashed in a wonderful cross for Daryl Murphy to head past former Forest man Karl Darlow in the Newcastle goal. And with Newcastle stunned, Forest were on their way.
Liam Bridcutt returned for Forest for the first time this season and he looked full of confidence and had a solid game — a reminder to Aitor Karanka that he still has passion for the club and a role to play. Michael Hefele was outstanding leading the back line alongside Danny Fox, and Murphy proved when fit and confident he is extremely effective for us.
The game remained pretty even throughout, with both sides creating half-chances, before Solomon Rondon’s late Newcastle equaliser. But, as seen before this season, Forest battled to the end and got their reward, first through Matty Cash and then Gil Dias; whose beautiful chip in the last minutes of injury time sent the fans into raptures.
Karanka commented after the game: “Today has been clear that when we play our football, we are a very good team. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t like the excuses, but I could feel what was happening in the games in the league were normal. Today we showed that without the pressure of the league we are a very good team and now we have to learn to be ourselves and take that pressure off.”
“When we go into the games in the league I felt that the players felt that pressure, and today was good to know that when we play our style we are a very good team.”
Injuries to Byram and Joe Lolley are concerning — particularly given their recent performances — but hopefully they’re nothing but knocks and will only be short-term losses. Joe Worrall looks set to leave the club on loan to Rangers, and with news Karanka will again utilise the loan market we could be in for some good news before 5pm.
In truth, Forest look stronger game by game, on and off the pitch. In previous seasons we would almost certainly have lost these tight games we’re getting points from. It’s an exciting time to be a Red, that’s for sure, and after being drawn against Stoke in the next round Forest definitely have a chance to progress further in this cup.