Wood hat-trick helps Forest to superb win at Newcastle

Chris Wood of Nottingham Forest celebrates with team mate Morgan Gibbs-White after scoring their sides third goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest at St. James Park on December 26, 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Chris Wood's hat-trick was more goals than he managed in 18 Premier League appearances for Newcastle at St James' Park
Chris Wood scored a hat-trick on his return to St James' Park as Nottingham Forest ended a seven-game winless run with a stunning Premier League victory at Newcastle.

The result moves Forest up to 16th in the table and five points clear of the bottom three prior to Tuesday's other fixtures.

Alexander Isak had seemingly put Eddie Howe's side in control when he stroked home a penalty midway through the first half after going down under a challenge from Ola Aina.

But Newcastle only sporadically threatened in attack and always looked vulnerable to a rejigged Forest side set up to counter-attack at pace.

Morgan Gibbs-White dragged an early effort wide for the visitors, while Anthony Elanga missed two excellent opportunities before combining with the former England Under-21 midfielder to allow Wood to tap in a deserved equaliser against his old employers before the break.

Wood, who was Howe's second signing on Tyneside, added to his tally shortly after the interval, racing on to Elanga's pass and shimmying past home defender Dan Burn to lift the ball over goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

He capped a fine display with another composed finish after Murillo's through ball sent him clear of an absent Newcastle defence.

Elanga and Gibbs-White both had chances to inflict further damage on the hosts, who remain seventh in the table after their fourth defeat in five Premier League games.

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