Chris Wood Hat-Trick sinks struggling Newcastle

Newcastle United's struggles continued as former player Chris Wood scored a hat-trick for Nottingham Forest in a 3-1 victory at St James' Park.

Newcastle United’s struggles continued as former player Chris Wood scored a hat-trick for Nottingham Forest in a 3-1 victory at St James’ Park.

The defeat adds to Newcastle’s woes, having won only one of their last seven games and facing eliminations from the Champions League and Carabao Cup.

The match started positively for the hosts on Boxing Day as Alexander Isak’s penalty gave them an early lead against a Forest side managed by Nuno Espirito Santo in his second match in charge. However, Wood, who left Newcastle in January, led the comeback with an equalizer in first-half stoppage time before adding two more well-taken goals to complete his hat-trick.

Despite the hosts taking an early lead, they struggled to contain Forest’s counter-attacks, with Wood capitalizing on defensive vulnerabilities. The defeat leaves Newcastle facing a challenging start to 2024, with fixtures against Liverpool, Sunderland, Manchester City, and Aston Villa.

Wood, who scored just once during his time with Newcastle, returned to St James’ Park and secured a memorable hat-trick in a Forest shirt. Forest, under Nuno’s management, made tactical changes and capitalized on opportunities, with Anthony Elanga and Callum Hudson-Odoi exposing Newcastle’s defensive frailties.

Forest dominated the second half, with Gibbs-White and Elanga missing chances before Wood scored his second goal with a classy finish over the goalkeeper in the 53rd minute. The hat-trick was completed when Newcastle’s offside trap failed, allowing Wood to slide the ball into the net.

Despite Newcastle’s claims for handball and penalty appeals, Forest maintained their two-goal advantage. The defeat leaves Newcastle trailing seven points outside the top four and 11 points behind league leaders Arsenal. The next four matches will be crucial for Newcastle’s hopes of returning to the Champions League and competing in the FA Cup.

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