Newcastle United fans have seen a lot of cup exits over the years – and this was right up there with the worst of them.
Rafa Benitez’s side were deservedly dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Nottingham Forest for the second season running tonight.
Aitor Karanka’s side won 3-1 – and United, denied a late, late penalty, could have few complaints.
Newcastle, backed by more than 3,000 fans, were awful. They didn’t even have a shot on target until substitute Salomon Rondon’s injury-time strike.
They created very little on a forgettable night at the City Ground. The team should have been strong enough to book a place in the third round of the competition, but it put in a weak performance against the Championship club.
The second-round tie followed revelations of a training ground disagreement between Jamaal Lascelles and Benitez – and a confrontation between United’s captain and Matt Ritchie – ahead of last weekend’s Premier League game against Chelsea.
Lascelles and Ritchie, not involved against Forest because of injury, were both missed at the City Ground.
United could have done with their fight.
Benitez made seven changes at the City Ground and handed full debuts to summer signing Yoshinori Muto and 20-year-old Sean Longstaff. There was also a recall for loanee Kenedy, who had been ineligible to play at the weekend.
The away end was nearly full when Ciaran Clark led his team-mates out. Newcastle, however, found themselves behind with just 90 seconds on the clock.
Former United striker Daryl Murphy got ahead of Fabian Schar, still adjusting to English football following his summer move from Deportivo La Coruna, to head a Sam Byram cross past ex-Forest goalkeeper Karl Darlow.
Murphy – who had helped United win promotion the season before last – didn’t celebrate the strike in front of the travelling fans at the City Ground.
Forest went on to dominate the half. Karanka’s side repeatedly attacked down Newcastle’s left side, and their fans taunted Darlow, who had saved two penalties on his last appearance at the stadium.
Joe Lolley skipped several tackles on a long run towards goal, but was finally stopped on the edge of Darlow’s box.
One small positive for Newcastle was the performance of Longstaff, who quickly settled into the game. The midfielder, playing alongside Ki Sung-yueng, used the ball intelligently and found space in the middle of the pitch.
By the half-hour mark, United had steadied themselves a little, but they couldn’t test Luke Steele in the Forest goal. Muto covered a lot of ground, but he wasn’t getting chances. And nor was Joselu.
Muto, attacking the far post, couldn’t get to a Joselu header from a corner late in the half. Forest – who lost Byram to injury before the break – again took the game to Newcastle after the restart. Federico Fernandez did well to block a shot from Murphy. Michael Hefele headed wide from the resulting corner.
It just wasn’t happening for United, who had Darlow to thank for a 62nd-minute save which kept out a shot from Joao Carvalho.
Rondon got Newcastle back on terms in the 92nd minute, but Matty Cash and Gil Dias struck even deeper into added time.
Ayoze Perez, denied an injury-time penalty, was pulled away from referee Jeremy Simpson after the final whistle.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Steele, Byram (Darikwa, 39), Hefele, Fox, Robinson, Bridcutt, Watson, Lolley (Osborn, 58), Carvalho (Cash, 82), Dias, Murphy. Subs not used: Pantilimon, Figueiredo, Goncalves, Appiah.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Sterry, Schar, Fernandez (Perez, 68), Clark; Atsu, Ki, Longstaff, Kenedy; Muto (Murphy, 77), Joselu (Rondon, 82). Subs not used: Elliot, Yedlin, Dummett, Diame.
Goals: Murphy 2, Rondon 90+2, Cash 90+4, Dias 90+7
Bookings: Dias 67, Joselu 75, Hefele 75, Longstaff 80
Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)