NEWCASTLE UNITED 2
NOTTINGHAM FOREST 0
Monday, March 29, 2010
Kick off 7.45pm
Craig Hope reports from St.James' Park …
NEWCASTLE United moved a step closer to the Premier League as goals from Shola Ameobi and a maiden Magpie strike for Jose Enrique all but extinguished the promotion hopes of third-placed Nottingham Forest.
The Geordies struck twice in the second half on a rain-soaked night at Gallowgate to move 13 points clear of their visitors who now have just six games left to play.
The breakthrough came on 71 minutes when Ameobi marked his return from injury with a fine goal; spinning clear of his marker on the edge of the area before firing low into the back of the net via the base of the post.
But the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Enrique as he made sure of the points with a close-range finish in stoppage time with what his first goal in 88 appearances for United.
Full-time: An almighty cheer greets Alan Wiley's whistle!
90+1min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (2-0): From the corner United work short and Ameobi frees Jose Enrique with a clever back heel. The Spaniard bursts into the area and skips inside a red shirt before firing right-footed through the arms of Lee Camp with his first for the club - what a time to get it! Enrique then finds himself at the bottom of a ten-man Magpie celebration! He is also booked for removing his shirt - not that that will matter to the Toon hero!
90min -Gareth McCleary is booked for a foul on Gutierrez after the Argentine had burned clear of the Forest man 25 yards out. Guthrie dispatches toward the top corner but a flying Camp is equal to it and Forest smuggle away for a corner.
87min - Shola's cheeky back heel wins a corner off the shins of Gunter. Guthrie's centre is only half cleared as far as Routledge but his first-time smash is charged down by a red shirt and the visitors manage to force clear.
85min - McCleary, foolishly, tries to outstrip Enrique down the left - the Spaniard emerges with the ball.
82min - An intricate United build up culminates in Gutierrez seeing a right-footed bender headed over by Wilson. Forest clear from Guthrie's out-swinger.
79min - Kevin Nolan is denied a goal as, from Routledge's centre, he slams left-footed towards the bottom corner only for an instinctive Camp to produce an arm and divert wide. United make a mess of a short corner.
78min - Kel vin Wilson is booked for a late boot on Danny Simpson which leaves the Toon man in a heap.
77min - Dexter Blackstock makes way for David McGoldrick for Forest.
75min - Wayne Routledge wins possession before stinging the palms of Camp with a vicious 20-yard drive - United are in buoyant mood right now.
74min - A chorus of the Blaydon Races is ringing out aroun Gallowgate.
71min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-0): And Shola Ameobi marks his return with a goal! Receiving a low, forward slip from Kevin Nolan, the Geordie spins to fashion a yard for the shot before smashing home left-footed via the base of the post from just inside the area.
69min - Again Williamson comes to the rescue as he halts a promising Forest attack with a well-timed toe to stub out the danger after Anderson had pulled back for Blackstock inside the area.
66min - Williamson atones for that air-kick with a perfectly executed sliding challenge to rob Blackstock 35 yards - great tackle.
64min - Mike Williamson swipes at fresh air when Majewski's pacey centre skids up off the greasy surface but the ball zips away to safety - that was a let-off for United.
61min - That pressure is lifted when Ameobi receives 30 yards from goal before gliding by Morgan only to be taken out by the muscular defender who duly enters the book. Guthrie lines up the free-kick but whips over from 20 yards.
60min - United are on the back foot at present and Harper is forced to pluck from a red shirt inside his six-yard area after Enrique had tried to ambitiously chest back to his stopper from an Anderson centre.
57min - Gutierrez wriggles clear of two red shirts and scampers upfield from halfway. The Argentine overruns the ball but it almost inadvertently carries through to Peter Lovenkrands, on the edge of the area, only for Morgan to step up and intercept.
54min - It's been a rather more sedate start to this second period compared to the frenetic nature of the first half.
49min - AndyCarroll is forced to succumb to that earlier ankle knock and is replaced by Shola Ameobi.
46min - Nathan Tyson fails to make the most of a free header from Anderson's centre as he nods tamely on goal when unmarked eight yards out.
Still, the rain teams from the heavens above St.James' Park as Forest get us started for the second period attacking the Gallowgate End.
Half-time: It's been entertaining but remains goalless.
45+1min - Enrique skids a low, 25-yard shot narrowly wide - the effort had the Geordies out of their seats.
44min - A goalmouth scramble ensures when Gutierrez's cross, headed on goal by Carroll, clips the heel of an unsuspecting Lovenkrands just two yards out. Camp pounces but the ball squirms free and, despite the best efforts of Nolan and Lovenkrands, the Forest keeper manages to retrieve.
41min - Gutierrez, twisting one way and then the other, drives at Perch and wins a corner when his cross is charged down by the defender. Guthrie hooks in-swinging but it's Morgan who dives to clear with his head from all of a foot off the ground.
36min - Kevin Nolan slides a full five yards on his backside to block Guy Moussi's 25-yard strike and the skipper's efforts draw a large cheer from the home crowd.
32min - Blackstock spurns Forest's best opening of the half as he completely scuffs a volley from Majewski's centre - he had the whole goal to aim at from 12 yards out.
30min - Routledge surges through the centre of the park but, with room for a shot 20 yards out, spoons his effort and Forest clear - this is all United.
28min - Enrique raps a shot off the calf of Perch from 25 yards and the ball spins away for a corner, Guthrie's penalty-spot drop is headed well clear by Wilson.
24min - Routledge slips Lovenkrands clear but, with the angle tight, the Dane's first-time stab is blocked by Morgan with the ball spinning into the danger zone. Carroll collects and, with desperate Forest shirts diving at his feet, he attempts to fashion half a yard for a shot with a string of feints. Eventually he releases left-footed but the ball cannons into the boot of a grounded Wilson and The Reds scramble clear.
20min - There's a break for Andy Carroll to receive treatment and the big Geordie gets a good reception when he picks himself up from an ankle knock to continue - he's still move rather gingerely, though.
18min - Alan Wiley is well placed to wave away Majewski's appeals for penalty as the Pole weaves his way into the area before going down under pressure from Williamson - you have to say the Forest man was looking for it.
12min - The best chance so far falls the way of Andy Carroll when Wayne Routledge floats a hanging ball to the far post. The delivery has too much weight for the backpedalling Morgan and the Geordie striker is able to peel away and direct a first-time volley on goal. It's a cracking strike but Lee Camp is equal to it at his near post and beats away for a corner. Guthrie's cross fails to beat the first man and Forest clear.
6min - Kevin Nolan is robbed by Cohen on the right and he digs out a cross from the by-line. Majewski connects on the penalty spot but his header loops high onto the roof of Steve Harper's net - Forest have started the brighter of the two sides here.
3min - Dexter Blackstock is the first man caught out by the slick conditions as his attempted pass to the supporting Majekwsi skids away for a goal-kick - a better ball and the Pole was in a good position.
34secs - A casual Coloccini is almost caught napping by Cohen, 25 yards out, but the Argentine becomes aware of his presence in the nick of time and pokes back to the safety of Steve Harper.
United get us started attacking the Gallowgate End.
The greasy conditions are sure to play a part and this sweeping rain is showing no signs of letting up.
The rain continues to fall here on Tyneside as the two sides enter a sodden St.James' Park.
Williamson, cleared to play with a protective cast having broken a bone in his hand earlier this month, returns to the centre of the defence as replacement for Tamas Kadar.
Enrique, who remained on the bench during last week's 1-0 win at Doncaster, is brought in at left-back with Ryan Taylor making way.
And Lovenkrands, back from a two-week calf absence, replaces Nicky Butt as United are restored to a 4-4-2 formation.
Alan Smith will need another week before returning from his ankle knock.
NUFC: Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Jose Enrique, Wayne Routledge, Kevin Nolan (c), Danny Guthrie, Jonas Gutierrez, Peter Lovenkrands, Andy Carroll
Subs: Tim Krul, Tamas Kadar, Joey Barton, Leon Best, Nicky Butt, Ryan Taylor, Shola Ameobi
NFFC: Lee Camp, James Perch, Wes Morgan, Kelvin Wilson, Chris Gunter, Paul Anderson, Guy Moussi, Radoslaw Majewski, Chris Cohen, Nathan Tyson, Dexter Blackstock
Subs: Luke Chambers, Lewis McGugan, Dele Adebola, Robert Earnshaw, Gareth McCleary, David McGoldrick, Paul Smith
Referee: Alan Wiley
Attendance: 45, 987