Dexter knocks Magpies off perch

Nottingham Forest 1 Newcastle United 0: Newcastle get shock but Forest's manager says North-east club should appoint Hughton full-time
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The Independent Football

Newcastle slipped to only their second defeat of the season, surrendering top spot in the Championship on goals scored, but they did leave town with Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies backing calls for their temporary management team to be appointed permanently.

Forest climbed to seventh after successfully defending Dexter Blackstock's goal late in the first half but Davies was as keen to sing the praises of Newcastle's Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood as to talk about his own team's progress.

"I think the job should go to the men in charge at the moment. They have come through a difficult time brilliantly and for me they thoroughly deserve to get the job," Davies said.

Hughton, however, does not expect his position to change any time soon. "It is nice of Billy to say that and with the start we have made I would think we are in with a chance (of keeping the job)," he said. "But the manager's situation will not be resolved until the bigger issue of the ownership is settled. There is only one question to be answered. Is there going to be a takeover or is there not? When that happens I will be informed. I'm used to the situation. In my position all your efforts go into what these lads can do on the field to win football matches."

Davies had watched his team dominate the first half. But Newcastle recovered as Forest struggled to maintain their high tempo and were denied an equaliser when Kevin Nolan's 70th-minute strike was ruled out for offside.

Forest, on the way to a fourth straight win, carved out half-a-dozen clear chances even before Blackstock finished off a quick-fire attack by running through on Radoslav Majewski's pass to roll the ball past Stephen Harper. Polish international Majewski's touches were integral to many of Forest's slick moves and it was from his corner that Blackstock had powered a header against the foot of a post after 13 minutes, having been defied with an earlier header only by Harper's fingertips.

Majewski, who had one fierce effort blocked, then controlled a long pass brilliantly on the left touchline before cutting inside to draw another Harper save on the half-hour. Nathan Tyson hooked another fine strike narrowly wide before Blackstock headed Chris Gunter's cross over the bar.

But Forest surrendered possession too easily in the second half, handing Newcastle the initiative. Kevin Wilson blocked former Forest striker Marlon Harewood's shot and Majewski had to head clear under his own after Blackstock mis-directed a clearance. Nolan was certain he had equalised after Alan Smith had flicked on Taylor's cross but the linesman thought otherwise.

Davies felt the second half illustrated how his side is not ready yet to be genuine Premier League prospects. "Newcastle gave a lesson in how to keep plugging away when you are a goal down," he said. "If you look at where they are, we are a million miles away. We are a maturing team but there is still a lot of work to be done before we will be ready to go up."