Striker Alexander Isak netted a brace, including a last-gasp penalty, as Newcastle United ended Nottingham Forest’s nine-match unbeaten Premier League streak at home with a 2-1 win on Friday.
Eddie Howe’s team moved up to 47 points and now trail fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur by just a point and with a game in hand. The Magpies head into the international break with their aim of Champions League qualification now within touching distance.
“Whenever you come back it is a satisfying feeling and to score that late is another boost,” Howe said. “I think today was always going to be difficult but I think we deserved it.”
Emmanuel Dennis put Forest ahead in the 26th minute as they looked to extend their unbeaten run at City Ground, where they had not lost since September.
An under pressure Sven Botman tried to send a soft pass back to keeper Nick Pope but Dennis was lurking in the area ready to pounce. He beat Pope to the ball and chipped it into the net for his second Premier League goal of the season.
Isak restored parity just before halftime after Joe Willock’s cross dropped behind him and he twisted his body to volley the ball off his shin and in off the far post. He put a finger to his mouth to silence the Forest fans.
“We know it is a hard ground to come and take three points and we got off to a bad start but the team showed good character,” said Isak, who has six goals in 10 games.
“I think we showed great character and kept pushing . . . we kept controlling the game and had chances. We believe and we know that we have it in our own hands and have a good chance.” Elliot Anderson thought he had put the Magpies ahead in the 64th minute but the goal was disallowed following a VAR review due to a player being offside in the build-up.
Newcastle looked like they would have to settle for a draw before the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Moussa Niakhate’s hand ball.
Nottingham boss Steve Cooper said giving up a late goal is the worst way to lose.
“Especially having fought in the game. We came up against a really good team and we knew it would be like that, possibly,” he said.
The result left Forest 14th in the standings, two points about the relegation zone.
“When you are in the position we are in, every point is vital,” Forest midfielder Jonjo Shelvey told Sky Sports.
“The way lads dug in deep, we deserved something from the game. But it wasn’t meant to be. We dust ourselves down and go again.”