A brace from Lewis Grabban and a late strike from Ryan Yates secured Nottingham Forest a vital 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town at The City Ground.
A goal either side of half-time from Grabban, which took his tally for the season to 19, put daylight between Forest and their struggling visitors and Yates put the icing on the cake with a near-post finish five minutes from time.Juninho Bacuna was shown a straight red card late on for a dangerous lunge on Nuno Da Costa before Karlan Grant scored a penalty in the final minute of six minutes of stoppage time after Joe Worrall shoved Fraizer Campbell to the floor inside the box. The win moves Forest seven points clear of the pack chasing the play off places and seven points behind the automatic promotion places.
The Reds should have been in front inside four minutes. Joe Lolley went on a strong run down the right-hand channel and pulled the ball back into the penalty area for Sammy Ameobi but having picked his spot, the winger crashed his effort against the base of the post.
Brice Samba was called into action on 15 minutes as he was forced to push behind a curling free-kick from Alex Pritchard from the edge of the penalty area before two resulting corners from Huddersfield caused problems with Forest at full-stretch to clear the danger.
The visitors were enjoying the better of the exchanges midway through the first half. A clever free-kick routine saw Karlan Grant drill an effort towards goal from inside the box but Ameobi did well to turn it the ball over the crossbar from inside his own six-yard box. They had a strong shout for a penalty when Ben Watson tripped Pritchard but the referee saw nothing doing.
Two minutes before the interval and Forest had the breakthrough. A deep corner from the right drifted all the way out to Centre Back Joe Worrall in the left-hand channel, he delivered an excellent ball back into the penalty area and an unmarked Grabban produced an excellent thunderous first-time volley to beat Jonas Lossl at his near post.
Just 50 seconds into the second half, Forest doubled their advantage. Ameobi slipped a ball through behind the Huddersfield back four and Grabban let it run in front of him before he slid a low strike under the body of Lossl into the back of The Terriers’ net. As Huddersfield were pushing for a goal at one end, Forest were looking to extend their lead at the other and they sealed the points with five minutes to play. Yates got across his man at the near post and was in an excellent position to stick a foot out and send Lolley’s corner into the net from close range.
Huddersfield saw their afternoon brought to a disappointing end courtesy of Bacuna’s late red card. Referee David Webb had already awarded Huddersfield a free-kick before Bacuna hacked Nuno Da Costa down with a poor challenge on the halfway line and it was enough for Webb to show the former FC Groningen man a straight red.
The visitors did grab a consolation goal in the final minute of stoppage time after Worrall shoved Campbell to the ground inside the penalty area. Grant stepped up to thump the ball beyond Samba into the corner of the net to give them a late goal to take back to West Yorkshire.
Nottingham Forest head coach Sabri Lamouchi was pleased with the victory over Huddersfield but felt there was room for improvement in the performance.
“It was a good result but I am not so happy with the performance because we can play much better. I know that but I am probably impatient with the players because after three months, the most important was to win today and congratulations to the boys.
“To play at The City Ground when usually the fans are always behind us, to play in an empty stadium in this atmosphere is so strange. So congratulations to the boys, the great performance was to win. I am not happy for the goal we conceded or the way we played sometimes, but I am happy because it is a fantastic gift for me from the players after exactly one year here. “It was important to win for the confidence and for the next game in three days. On Wednesday we play again and then against Derby. Now we start the final rush and we are in the race.It is a tough schedule, tough for us but for all the teams. Now we start the money time.”
Read a full review of championship matches this weekend here: https://247-football.com/2020/06/29/championship-review-warnock-starts-with-win-leeds-go-marching-on/