Wed 27 Dec 2023, 12:59 by Ash Harrison

Nottingham Forest (H) player ratings: We made Chris Wood look like the best striker in world football

Nottingham Forest (H) player ratings: We made Chris Wood look like the best striker in world football
Serena Taylor/Newcastle United
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Following Andros Townsend's winner for Luton on Saturday, the scriptwriters were at it again as Chris Wood scored a hat-trick on his first return to St James' Park in the red of Nottingham Forest.

The big Kiwi could've had four had his teammates not been so selfish, as Nuno Espírito Santo's men cut through our exhausted lines time and time again like a hot knife through non-refrigerated butter.

We thought Luton Town on Saturday was the nadir of a superb 2023, but we were very wrong, as the Tricky Trees ran out deserved winners following an explosive second half against their tired hosts.

Not many of Eddie Howe's players will look back fondly on their performances in this game, with the back four enduring an absolute nightmare and making Wood look sharper than a freshly unboxed Stanley knife.

Here we go, then, for the final time this year. Let's see who can score above a 'four'.

Only Isak and Miley emerged from this with any credit at all

Stu Forster/Getty Images
How the hell did we conspire to allow Chris Wood to score a 14-minute hat-trick?

Martin Dúbravka – 4

Dubs just isn't there in the big moments when his teammates need him most. There's a chasm between the Slovakian and Nick Pope, which is becoming all the more apparent as each game goes by. We really hope we're in the market for a new goalkeeper in January.

Kieran Trippier (c) – 3

Why on Earth does a player of Trippier's experience not just bring Gibbs-White down properly on the break for the first goal? And why on Earth is a player of Trippier's experience playing the opposition striker onside from a routine long ball over the top? Shocking again.

Fabian Schär – 4

We thought he would look back to his best with Botman restored alongside him in the absence of Lascelles, but he was badly exposed time and time again by Forest's lightning-quick attackers (and Wood). His passing was as good as it has been for a while, at least.

Sven Botman – 4

This looked like an ideal fixture for him to return in, but he was found wanting far too often in terms of his positioning and recovery pace. Like Schär, he was at least good in possession, helping us to control the ball for much of the first half, but neither of them defended well.

Dan Burn – 2

Forest targeted Burn via Elanga from the first whistle and he buckled under the pressure, putting in one of his poorest displays in the shirt. His positional defending for Wood's first was awful and the way he was skinned for the second was an absolute embarrassment.

Lewis Miley – 7

Having been a shining light in the opening 45 minutes—one major flub aside that gifted Gibbs-White a really good chance—he just seemed to run out of legs after the break. Still, we'll always have that tremendous reverse pass for Isak's penalty to remember.

Bruno Guimarães – 6

He got through a mountain of work in the middle of the pitch but was ultimately overran and largely to blame for the back four being exposed so regularly. There were plenty of nice touches and passes to admire, but he lost his head at 1-3, which he does all too often.

Sean Longstaff – 3

He had a small hand in winning the penalty and made one very nice pass for Gordon in the first half, but it's a crime for a midfielder of his ilk to emerge from a game without making a tackle or winning a duel. He had no shots and made no chances for others to shoot, either.

Miguel Almirón – 2

We've never known a professional footballer fail in big moments as much as Miggy and today was his masterpiece in that regard. For all that was wrong with the team's display, if he was remotely productive then the outcome would have been very different. (Editor's note - I'd have given him a 1 just for that shot on goal at the wrong end)

Alexander Isak – 7 ⭐️

This was the fittest he's looked for some time and he was well worth his goal, but a couple of other big chances came his way that he really should've done better with. He should've done a proper job of fouling Elanga for their second, too, but overall he was a positive.

Anthony Gordon – 5

His performances are continuing to wane, unfortunately, and will probably continue to do so until he's able to have a rest. He should've done much better with the chance Miley created for him in the first half and on a few other occasions when one-on-one with his full-back.

Our substitutes had no positive impact on the proceedings

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We're longing for the day when Anderson, Barnes, Murphy, and Willock are options

Callum Wilson – 4

Although he didn't come into a good situation, we needed a lot more from our number nine here. The couple of half-chances that came his way weren't directed on target and he was barely a factor from open play.

Tino Livramento – 4

He was almost as culpable as Trippier for Forest's third, being caught napping a couple of yards behind Botman and Schär, and looked worryingly leggy at points. Could he perhaps be carrying an injury?

Joelinton – 5

We'd hoped to see Joelinton starting on the left wing here, but he mustn't have been fit enough to do so. He charged around a bit in his 20 minutes of action but never looked like helping us turn things around.

Lewis Hall – 4

We all had another rare Lewis Hall sighting, but all it did was serve to show why he hasn't been given more minutes during one of the worst injury crises seen at Gallowgate since the days of Deadly Derek.

Next up for the Magpies is Liverpool away

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We're still not over last season's robbery when the lads were booed off by the Kop

It's Anfield for us on New Year's Day (Monday), with an 8 p.m. GMT kick-off on Sky Sports.

If ever there was a game for us to get a bit of luck, it's this one.

Howay the lads!

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