2009/10 NEWCASTLE 2 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 0
Ameobi for Carroll (48)
Barton for Lovenkrands (90+3)
Subs not used:
Attendance: 45,987 including 2,800 travelling supporters.
There had been hopes pre-match that this game would see the first 50K crowd of the season at SJP, but a variety of factors conspired against this: the rescheduling for TV, poor weather deterring pay on the night fans and the respective recent fortunes of both sides making this slightly less of a decisive fixture.
Vocal backing to the team was as good as at any home game this season, with decent noise coming from the Gallowgate in the second half to urge United on. That's only happened infrequently this season, partly due to the ease with which many home games have been won and also the relocation of some previous behind the goal shouters up to the Level Seven corner.
Pre-match a large World Cup 2018 bid flag was passed from the Strawberry Corner along the East Stand, but failed to unfurl properly and lacked impact - insert your own line about that being a fitting metaphor...
Half time: United 0 Forest 0
71 mins Having arrived from the bench early in the second half, Shola Ameobi marked his return from injury by taking a pass from Kevin Nolan on the edge of the Forest area and turning to crack home a left-footed grass cutter at the Leazes End that went in off the far post for his ninth of the season and first of 2010. 1-0
91 mins Ameobi turned provider, playing a one-two with Jose Enrique and back-heeling the ball into the path of the defender, who broke his scoring duck by shooting home via the 'keeper before being submerged under a sea of bodies, with Nolan arriving last to splash down with a credible impression of Big Daddy. Jose belatedly emerged shirtless and was shown a yellow card after he trotted back to his own half 2-0
United Manager Chris Hughton said:
"It's that close. We are where we are and we thoroughly deserve to be where we are and if it happens on Saturday, then no one will be more delighted than me, but the most important thing is we have to win first.
"Because of the timing - we are so close to the end of the season - and it's against a side who have pushed us for a large chunk of this season, it's a big win for us.
"It was a very important win at this stage of the season and we were desperate for these three points against a team who have been pushing us so hard all season.
"But we won't be taking any champagne down to Peterborough. The training ground will be a happy place this week but when you start to count your chickens in this game you usually end up losing - and we have to guard against that.
"It's an away game on Saturday which we have to make sure we prepare correctly for. If we are able to take a spare chunk of what we had tonight into that game then we have got a good chance of coming away with a victory."
Jose Enrique commented:
“That is the best three points of the season. We are not there yet, but almost. The goal was very special – it is for my wife. I am very happy. Jonas put some grass on my teeth! And I asked him what he was doing, I had six people on my back. I couldn’t believe it.”
"He has had a long career as a coach but this is the first time he has had the opportunity to be the boss and I think he has proved what a good one he is. Before, he was always a number two or number three but now he is in charge 100 per cent and I don’t have to say how good he is because the league table tells you that. For me, my personal opinion is that this is my third season at Newcastle and he is the best manager I have had here.
“I cannot believe how hard he works. He seems to spend 24 hours every day at the club. He is so dedicated to the job and gives his all. He is thinking about the games all the time, watches the videos and is so thorough in his preparations. The players respect him so much. The other managers were famous names, but it is not always about that. He is the man to take charge of us in the Premier League.”
Forest boss Billy Davies said:
"I'd like to congratulate Chris, his staff and players and everybody at this football club. I'd like to wish them all the very best in their challenge in the Premier League.
"All season they've been very resilient - they've showed a lot of good experience and they've done very well and obviously we would like to congratulate them. There's no doubt they have been very worthy winners in my opinion.
"That doesn't mean I'm giving up on promotion because I think with six games left we are still in a real fight for second place with West Brom, but I firmly believe Newcastle will finish the job.
"They have the players, the experience, the momentum and the infrastructure in place. They know how to win when they are not at their best. My young players haven't got the experience and the know-how to do that yet - but we are still in there fighting."