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Nottingham Forest 3 v 0 Ipswich Town
SkyBet Championship
Sunday, 7th May 2017 Kick-off 12:00
Nottingham Forest 3-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Sunday, 7th May 2017 14:03

Nottingham Forest saw themselves to Championship safety with a 3-0 final-day victory over the Blues at the City Ground. Britt Assombalonga put the home side in front via a 43rd minute penalty, skipper Chris Cohen made it 2-0 on 57 then, having missed a second spot-kick, Assombalonga added the third in the 69th minute. The defeat, the third in a row without scoring, sees Town finish 16th, their lowest league position since the ending the 1958/59 campaign in the same position in the old Second Division.

Danny Rowe and Dominic Samuel came into an otherwise unchanged Town side for the injured Tom Lawrence (ankle) and David McGoldrick (neck).

The Blues, who hadn’t won at the City Ground since December 1999, lined up in a 4-3-3 system with Samuel in the centre and Rowe on the right with Freddie Sears on the left.

Town named second-year academy scholar Flynn Downes, a central midfielder, among their subs for the first time, while centre-half Adam Webster returned to the 18 for the first time since injuring his ankle in January.

The home side went into the match fourth from bottom but ahead of Blackburn in 22nd by a goal difference of just one.

Rovers were at Brentford, while Birmingham, who play Bristol City away, are one place and two points above Forest with a significantly poorer goal difference.

The home side made an explosive start to the game, with a Jamie Ward cross from the right deflecting off Christophe Berra, who could well have been playing his final game for the Blues, in the opening seconds but just beyond Britt Assombalonga, who netted after only 17 seconds of Forest’s 2-0 win at Portman Road earlier in the season.

The East Midlanders kept up the early pressure with the Blues pinned back inside their box and with Grant Ward and skipper Luke Chambers both blocking strikes before Jamie Ward curled an effort not too far wide of Bartosz Bialkowski’s left post.

But Town, wearing their white away shirt and blue home shorts, quickly got into the game and began to control possession. On seven, Rowe cut in from the right and hit a shot through to Forest keeper Jordan Smith.

Two minutes later, Grant Ward brought the ball in from the left and hit a powerful 20-yard shot which Smith did well to save down to his left. Samuel was unable to get to the rebound.

As the game moved into its 10th minute, news that Blackburn had gone a goal in front at Brentford filtered around the City Ground as the home side again began to threaten, Bialkowski coming off his line quickly to head away in front of Assombalonga.

Forest were forced into a substitution in the 14th minute when Zach Clough took over from Mustapha Carayol, who had suffered a knock.

Two minutes later, the home side were hit by a further double blow as Blackburn doubled their lead at Griffin Park and Birmingham went in front at Bristol City.

As the game approached the half-hour mark Town enjoyed a long spell of possession but without creating an opportunity before Forest’s danger man Assombalonga was twice found inside the area, Berra crowding him out the first time and Kenlock forcing him wide the second.

Forest created what was the best chance of the half up to that point in the 34th minute when Jamie Ward crossed from the left and Eric Lichaj got ahead of Kenlock but slammed over from a few yards out with the Town backline claiming he was offside.

It was Forest’s turn to appeal to the officials a minute later when Assombalonga claimed he’d been manhandled as Berra beat him to another Ward cross from the left.

The Blues came within an inch or so of going in front in the 37th minute when Rowe’s deflected shot fell to Samuel on the edge of the box. The on-loan Reading frontman hit a well-struck shot but Smith reacted superbly to tip a ball he had no right to save on to the bar.

Six minutes later, the home side took the lead from the penalty spot. A long throw from the right was sent in from the right, Bialkowski came to punch but was beaten to it by Jamie Ward, who hooked goalwards. Jordan Spence cleared off the line but referee Andy Davies pointed to his spot as the Blues keeper had collided with Ward having missed the ball. It looked a spotkick not too many officials would have given.

Assombalonga took the kick and smashed it into the roof of the net to transform the mood at a previously downcast City Ground. It was the former Peterborough striker’s 13th goal of the season and his third against Town.

Town weren’t far away from getting on terms in the remaining minutes of the half after Rowe won a corner on the right with a strong run. Huws sent over the flag-kick and Berra won it but failed to make enough contact with his header and the ball bounced wide.

Soon after, the whistle ended the half with Forest out of the relegation zone ahead of Blackburn on goals scored.

The scoreline was a touch harsh on Town who had ridden Forest’s early spell of pressure and had then been on top for long spells and but for Smith’s remarkable save from Samuel they would have been in front.

However, they were made to pay for poor defending - the throw which led to the rather soft penalty should never have been allowed to reach Ward - and the home side left the field at the break with the atmosphere around the City Ground far more positive and significantly less nervous than it had been minutes before.

Town switched Kenlock for Josh Emmanuel ahead of the start of the second half and it was the Blues who were first to threaten when Rowe curled a shot into Smith’s arms.

The home team, however, quickly began to look the more dangerous side with Spence doing well to outmuscle Assombalonga after the striker had been found in space in the area.

Moments later, with the Blues having switched to 3-5-2 with Rowe the left wing-back and Emmanuel on the right, Jamie Ward shot over.

And in the 57th minute the City Ground was sent wild by their side’s second goal. The ball was played wide to Chris Cohen some way out on the left and the home skipper hit a shot which deflected off a Town defender and past Bialkowski’s left hand.

That goal, and Brentford pulling one back against Blackburn moments earlier, meant Forest were now very much outsiders for the drop and home fans tentatively started to get into a celebratory mood.

Match Gallery: 4 photos

In the 66th minute Forest were awarded their second penalty of the afternoon when Emmanuel bundled over Ward as he chased back with the former Sheffield United man in on goal, the Town sub picking up the game’s first yellow card.

Assombalonga again took the spot-kick but this time Bialkowski palmed his shot, which was high to his left, over the bar. Two minutes later, Town swapped Sears for Kieffer Moore.

Despite the missed penalty, Forest’s third goal of the afternoon and Assombalonga’s second of the afternoon wasn’t too much longer in coming. On 69 the striker brought the ball past his man on the left of the area and hit a powerful shot into the roof of the net from an angle.

The City Ground was by now very much in party mood with their team now playing with great freedom and creating chances regularly. On 73 Assombalonga hit a low volley straight at Bialkowski from Ward’s right-wing cross.

On 81 Assombalonga smashed a shot over from distance having cut in from the left before Berra was replaced by Webster. The 32-year-old looks set to return home to Scotland over the summer after four years with the Blues and was warmly applauded off by the Town away support.

Webster slipped into the left-sided central defensive role alongside skipper Chambers, the Blues having switched back to 4-4-2 following Forest’s third goal.

Samuel claimed he should have been awarded the game’s third penalty after a Matt Mills as the game moved into its final minutes - and he might have had a case - but referee Davies was unmoved.

Forest finished the game with 10 men after Ben Osborn was forced off with an injury all their subs having been used.

Despite the deficit, Town kept pressing in the final moments of injury time and Moore headed Ward’s cross from the left into a defender but there was to be no consolation for Town.

The match ended with a huge roar and a pitch invasion from the home support, their Championship status confirmed for another year. Blackburn went down despite their 3-1 win at Brentford, while Birmingham’s 1-0 victory at Bristol City saw them to safety.

It was a fairly typical end of season game with the Blues having shaded the first half until the contentious penalty.

But with their tails up in the second half there was only one team in it and the second goal all but sealed it with the third calming any remaining Forest nerves. Town never looked like getting anything back into the match.

The Blues' season has ended disappointingly with three defeats without scoring, completing a frustrating campaign in which Town have never looked like competing for a play-off place and briefly flirted with the relegation zone without ever really looking in any serious danger of going down.

The summer ahead seems certain to be one of much change if the Blues are to be a more competitive force next season.

Nottingham Forest: Smith, Lichaj, Mancienne, Mills, Cohen (c) (Cash 85), Assombalonga, Osborn, Carayol (Clough 14), Ward (Brereton 79), Vaughan, Worrall. Unused: Evtimov, Tshibola, Lam, Vellios, Cash.

Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Berra (Webster 81), Kenlock (Emmanuel 46), Skuse, Huws, Ward, Sears (Moore 68), Samuel, Rowe. Unused: Gerken, Pitman, Dozzell, Downes. Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire). Att 28,249.

Danny Baker Live! Good Time Charlie's Back. Ipswich Regent Theatre, Ipswich, Thursday 10th May 2018 at 19:30. Get your tickets before they sell out.

Photo: TWTD

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whosroundisitanyway added 14:05 - May 7
Out with a whimper.

Superblue95 added 14:06 - May 7
Congratulations to Marcus mick and the players for our lowest league finish in 58 years. I look forward to us outdoing that next season

guentchev added 14:06 - May 7
Great way to finish the season. Well done team....not.

jcITFC added 14:07 - May 7
Absolutely useless. It's what we deserve for going two transfer windows and not bringing in a proper striker.

We bring in Moore because ''hit hit the post against us for Yeovil in 2013'' and Leon Best who is ''no longer going to play for this club'' in a matter of being at the club 5 months?

Feel sorry for Blackburn as we gave them no hope what-so-ever of staying up. Horrid season

StringerBell added 14:07 - May 7
Insipid and completely uninspiring.
Sod off McCarthy

Sam added 14:08 - May 7
first half not bad with a ridiculous penalty which should never have been given. In the second half we threw it away. No attack at all in second half. This season was poor and I can't see why Mick is still here. Marcus, just sack him now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Smithy added 14:08 - May 7

jas0999 added 14:09 - May 7
Embarrassing and disgraceful end to an abysmal season. Evans, McCarthy and the players should be ashamed. In the end we were only four points off relegation. Without significant investment in the Summer, we could be Blackburn next term.

Unless MM is sacked, then I'll seriously have to consider cancelling my season ticket. It's just not worth it. Bart aside - who will almost certainly be sold as Evans looks to cash in yet again - I can't think of too many players in that starting eleven or those left at the club who are good enough. Samuel and Moore are arguably the worst two strikers in the league. Add Best and it sums up our woeful cheap transfer strategy. Even Rowe looks average. Not promotion chasing. He looks a £100k player from non league.

Not much else to say. This has been hugely depressing. The dark, sad times are here to stay unless there is a significant change in the summer. Over to you a Mr Evans. Buck up or sell up!

Spanishblueblood added 14:10 - May 7
One nil down at half time, Mick decides to punish Miles for a mistake and makes a defensive change.
Three nil down and Mick decides to bring on Webster for Berra, whilst Pittman remains on the bench.
Fecking incredible clueless management
Absolute disgusting, gutless performance!
Our club is dying and too many people are happy to sit on their arses and watch it happen!

bluearmy4life added 14:10 - May 7
Perfect day to sack McCarthy! Evans grow some balls and action it! P!ss poor season simply not good enough!

ianmarshall10 added 14:10 - May 7
Gutless performance thought before the game we would give them one but obviously not second half didn't turn up massive changes needed in the summer if not gonna be where Forrest are this season scrapping for survival. Gutted for Mogga!

Battyboy added 14:11 - May 7
Please go!

runningout added 14:12 - May 7
more of an overhaul than some expect required..

Spanishblueblood added 14:12 - May 7
MM supporters, you, along with the current regime, are destroying our club!

multiplescoregasms added 14:12 - May 7
Shameful. A totally gutless performance to end a totally gutless season. Where do we seriously go from here.

pinewoodblueboy added 14:12 - May 7
2nd half was utter f#####g rubbish. Spineless gutless clueless dross. Wake up Evans & smell the coffee. All this guff about careful what you wish for from the happy clappers, we,ll be in league 1 sooner than later. Change needed NOW. FOMM.

iaintaylorx added 14:13 - May 7
MICK OUT!! It is way beyond a joke now. Our second game into the season - a loss to a league two side in Stevenage - alot of fans wanted him out and it's got to the final day, but he is still here. If nothing is done with the hierachy of this club over the summer, it shows the intent of the board.

tractorboybig added 14:14 - May 7
worst position since 1959, worst manager since 1959, worst owner since 1959, worst team since 1959.......Says it all really.
Come on the d heads who are pro mm.

Elizabeth added 14:14 - May 7
Absolutely diabolical! What a woeful season ! I really hope we see a change of personnel , the sooner the better !

mg415 added 14:16 - May 7
bet you still think you are a great manager hey mick ?
enjoy an empty stadium

martin587 added 14:16 - May 7
Gutless performance.God help us next season.!!

EssexTractor added 14:18 - May 7
Supporters belief in MM approaching NIL
Players own abilities diminishing
Players belief in management disintegrating
ITFC have now hit a new modern day low
How will this be rescued ?????
And by whom???

ianmarshall10 added 14:23 - May 7
When you look at the league we have lost only 2 fewer than playoff Huddersfield drew to many this season lacked goal scoring threat since Murphy left.

Pencilpete added 14:24 - May 7
utterly pathetic, a team who has just stayed up on goal difference has beaten us twice this season at a canter without us managing a goal in the entire 180 Minutes, once again we have embarrased ourselves on national TV. We are a disgrace.

bostonusablue added 14:25 - May 7
Magilton was fired for doing a lot better than this. That pullover had better resign because we need him out of our club.

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