Match ends, Newcastle United 2, Nottingham Forest 0.
A Fabian Schar wonder goal and Callum Wilson's deft finish broke newly promoted Nottingham Forest's stubborn resistance as Newcastle opened their Premier League campaign with a deserved victory at St James' Park.
Centre-back Schar collected a loose ball on the edge of the box before sending a blistering effort into the net via the inside of the near post - a goal not dissimilar to the Switzerland international's strike against Burnley in February 2019.
Wilson put the result beyond doubt 12 minutes from time, directing a first-time flick over Dean Henderson and into the far corner from Joelinton's cross.
The pressure on the visitors' goal was relentless from the first minute, but for all Newcastle's territorial dominance they struggled to seriously test Forest goalkeeper Henderson in the first half.
Joelinton went closest to a breakthrough for the home side before half-time, dragging his shot wide from close range following a striding run from midfield.
Steve Cooper's side failed to register a shot on target but were denied an unlikely opener by Schar in the first half, the Magpies defender producing an outstanding block to deny Jesse Lingard inside the Newcastle area.
The result stretches Forest's losing league run at St James' Park to seven matches.
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Magpies' patience pays off
As was the case back in January, Newcastle's summer recruitment has focused primarily on reinforcing defensive areas, with Sven Botman, Nick Pope and Matt Targett - who enjoyed a successful loan spell at St James' Park last season - joining Eddie Howe's side.
The concern among some Newcastle fans is that they remain thin on the ground at the other end of the pitch - Chris Wood has scored just once from open play for the club, while Wilson has missed 31 of the Magpies' 77 Premier League games through injury since signing from Bournemouth in September 2020.
While Newcastle thoroughly deserved the three points on Saturday, the hosts' somewhat toothless first-half performance highlighted why Howe is so keen to bolster his attacking options before the transfer window closes on 1 September.
Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton and Bruno Guimaraes all tried their luck from distance but either shot too close to Henderson or - in Guimaraes' case - failed to hit the target altogether.
The tireless Joe Willock forced Henderson into a low save as Newcastle continued to apply pressure in the second half, before Saint-Maximin was thwarted by Scott McKenna's last-ditch challenge.
The longer the game went on, the more it seemed the Magpies would require a moment of inspiration to break down Forest - and Schar duly obliged with a goal of the highest quality shortly before the hour mark.
Wilson had a quiet afternoon but, like all good strikers, he took his chance with aplomb when it arrived and has now scored in the opening game in four of the past five Premier League seasons.
The former Bournemouth striker could have added a third late on but only managed to steer Sean Longstaff's low cross into the side netting from a tight angle.
While Forest failed to register a shot on target, there was much to admire about the visitors' attitude and work ethic at St James' Park as they frustrated the home team for long spells.
If they can maintain that resilience throughout the campaign, they stand a good chance of keeping their heads above water this term.
- 28WillockSubstituted forS Longstaffat 80'minutes
- 39Guimarães Rodriguez MouraSubstituted forBotmanat 90+3'minutes
- 24AlmirónSubstituted forFraserat 81'minutes
- 9WilsonSubstituted forWoodat 89'minutes
- 10Saint-MaximinSubstituted forMurphyat 90'minutes
- 36S Longstaff
- 4WorrallBooked at 15mins
- 19NiakhatéSubstituted forMightenat 83'minutes
- 7N WilliamsBooked at 23mins
- 14O'BrienBooked at 56minsSubstituted forMangalaat 75'minutes
- 16SurridgeSubstituted forAwoniyiat 63'minutes
- 6Mbe Soh
- 18Ribeiro Dias
- Simon Hooper
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Newcastle United 2, Nottingham Forest 0.
Substitution, Newcastle United. Sven Botman replaces Bruno Guimarães.
Foul by Chris Wood (Newcastle United).
Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Fabian Schär (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest).
Substitution, Newcastle United. Jacob Murphy replaces Allan Saint-Maximin.
Substitution, Newcastle United. Chris Wood replaces Callum Wilson.
Foul by Matt Targett (Newcastle United).
Alex Mighten (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Callum Wilson (Newcastle United) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Sean Longstaff.
Attempt missed. Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ryan Fraser.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Alex Mighten replaces Moussa Niakhaté.
Substitution, Newcastle United. Ryan Fraser replaces Miguel Almirón.
Substitution, Newcastle United. Sean Longstaff replaces Joe Willock.
Matt Targett (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest).
Goal! Newcastle United 2, Nottingham Forest 0. Callum Wilson (Newcastle United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Joelinton.
Attempt saved. Miguel Almirón (Newcastle United) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Bruno Guimarães.
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