Nottingham Forest 0-1 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 14th Apr 2018 16:02
Grant Ward’s 38th minute goal has given the Blues a 1-0 lead over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground at half-time in caretaker-boss Bryan Klug’s first game in charge.
Striker Ben Morris, 18, was handed his full debut, having previously made two sub appearances in the Championship in addition another game from the bench in the Carabao Cup match at Crystal Palace in August, and up front with Martyn Waghorn.
Klug stuck with the back three in which the Blues have lined up in recent weeks with Jordan Spence on the right, Cameron Carter-Vickers in the centre and Jonas Knudsen on the left.
Ward was at right wing-back, a role in which Klug used to play him during their days together in the Tottenham academy, with Barry Cotter, who impressed on his debut on Tuesday, dropping to the bench. Myles Kenlock was at left wing-back.
In central midfield, stand-in skipper Cole Skuse played behind Luke Hyam and Tristan Nydam. Bersant Celina missed out as he is unwell.
Forest, who went in to the match without a goal in their last six games, included ex-Town loanee Jack Colback in an unchanged starting XI but Daryl Murphy is still sidelined with a calf injury.
After a quiet opening the home side were gifted a golden opportunity to go in front in the 11th minute when Ward gave the ball away to Ben Osborn on the edge of the box when under no pressure. Osborn took it into the area but was prevented from scoring Forest’s first goal in 564 minutes of football by the advancing Bartosz Bialkowski.
Chances continued to be rare at both ends but with Forest having most of the ball until Joe Lolley hit a low 19th minute effort from distance which Bialkowski palmed wide to his right.
The home side began to put the Blues under increased pressure. Adlene Guedioura was unable to make proper contact with a cross from the left on 24, then Ben Brereton struck a powerful shot from distance which Bialkowski pushed behind. From the resultant corner, Ben Watson nodded only just wide at the far post.
At the other end Town hadn’t seriously threatened, but in the 38th minute they went in front.
Kenlock slammed over a cross from the left and Ward diverted the first goal of the four-game Klug era past Costel Pantilimon at the far post, perhaps without knowing too much about it.
The goal gave the Blues more confident going forward and in the single minute of injury time Spence brought the ball forward from deep and fed Waghorn running into the box on the right. Town’s top scorer’s deep cross reached Nydam beyond the far post and the England U19 international’s cross deflected off a Forest player and hit the top of the bar.
Shortly afterwards, the referee ended the half, prompting boos from a home support who had gone 597 minutes without seeing their side score.
However, that drought really should have ended when zero-to-hero Ward presented Osborn with a gilt-edged chance early on, while Bialkowski had been the busier of the two keepers, even if the Polish international had hardly been peppered with shots.
Town had defended in the resolute manner which became their stock in trade under Mick McCarthy and took their one chance when it came, although Ward may not have known a huge about it as Kenlock’s cross struck him in the face and beat Pantilimon.
Forest: Pantilimon, Figuereido, Guedioura, Osborn, Fox, Tomlin, Brereton, Colback, Lolley, Darikwa, Watson (c). Subs: Kapino, Lichaj, Mancienne, Bridcutt, Cash, Dowell, Vellios.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Carter-Vickers, Knudsen, Ward, Skuse (c), Hyam, Nydam, Kenlock, Morris, Waghorn. Subs: M Crowe, Connolly, Sears, Gleeson, Carayol, Folami, Cotter. Referee: Darren England (South Yorkshire).
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