Nottingham Forest 2-0 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 1st Dec 2018 16:03
Two Lewis Grabban goals have given Nottingham Forest a 2-0 half-time lead over Town at the City Ground.
Blues boss Paul Lambert handed 18-year-old Jack Lankester his full debut and Teddy Bishop his first start of the season as he made four changes.
Academy product Lankester, the first player born in the 2000s to appear for the Town first team having previously made four sub appearances, started on the left of the midfield three with Bishop on the right, Trevoh Chalobah, who was among the subs, and Flynn Downes, who missed out on a place in the 18, having dropped out of the XI for the first time under Lambert.
Kayden Jackson came into the team for Jordan Roberts as the central striker with the ex-Crawley man also among the subs. Grant Ward, making his first appearance under Lambert, was on the right.
Skipper Luke Chambers was making his 300th appearance for the Blues against his old club in an unchanged back four.
Forest made three changes from the team which drew 5-5 at Villa on Wednesday with Michael Hefele in for the suspended Tobias Figueiredo, while Adlene Guedioura and Gil Dias took over from Claudio Yacob and Matty Cash, who dropped to the bench.
Ex-Blues loanee Jack Colback started, while former striker Daryl Murphy was among the subs having returned from illness.
Town made a bright start, Lankester sending Jackson away down the left but the former Accrington man’s cross was cut out.
On six Ward claimed a penalty when he looked to be tripped by Colback in the area, however neither the former Blues loanee nor referee James Linington were impressed.
But it was the home side who would take the lead with their first serious attack of the afternoon in the ninth minute.
Right-back Tendayi Darikwa struck a powerful shot from distance which Bialkowski couldn’t hold on to and former Canary Grabban followed up to net his 14th goal of the season.
Lankester, who has been with the Blues since he was six years old, created an opportunity for Jackson in the 15th minute, threading the ball through for the pacy frontman. However, he screwed his shot well wide.
Having gained their lead Forest confidently controlled the game but without forcing Bialkowski to make a save until the 23rd minute when Joe Lolley hit an effort from the right which the Pole claimed comfortably.
The Blues began to get back into the game and in the 25th minute they should have equalised.
Bishop brought the ball away from his man on halfway and took it forward before feeding Ward to his right. The former Spurs youngster whipped over a cross which Jackson flicked past Forest keeper Costel Pantilimon but also past his right post.
Jackson went close again two minutes later after catching Forest skipper Michael Dawson in possession. The striker brought the ball forward to the edge of the box before hitting a powerful effort which Pantilimon blocked. Lankester running in on the loose ball with Gil Dias was only able to direct it back to the keeper.
Town had briefly begun to look the more likely scorers of the game’s next goal but right on the half-hour the home side almost doubled their lead.
Darikwa crossed from the right to the far post and Joao Carvalho nodded back across the face and struck the opposite upright.
It was a lucky escape for the Blues, who subsequently found themselves pressed back in their half as Forest dominated possession.
And in the 38th minute they scored a well-worked second goal. Carvalho found Darikwa on the right and the Zimbabwean international sent the ball across the face of goal to Grabban, who found the net at the far post to take his total for the season to 15.
Forest, with their confidence having unsurprisingly increased since their second goal, put the Blues under more and more pressure as half-time approached, Darikwa hitting a 42nd-minute shot from distance that Bialkowski palmed over. Following the corner, Colback shot over.
Skuse was booked for a foul on Lolley moments before the fourth official held up a board indicating four further minutes.
The half ended with Forest deserving their lead having been on top and in control for most of the period.
Bialkowski may feel he ought to have held on to Darikwa’s shot for the first goal, although it was hit with power, while Grabban shouldn’t have been allowed to reach the rebound first. For the second goal Forest slickly passed their way through the Blues’ defence.
Town’s best chance was Jackson’s header at 1-0 which the frontman probably should have put away but other than that and his shot from distance soon afterwards the Blues had rarely threatened.
The game looks all but over at half-time with the margin of Forest’s victory the only matter in question.
Nottingham Forest: Pantilimon, Darikwa, Dawson (c), Hefele, Robinson, Guedioura, Colback, Dias, Carvalho, Lolley, Grabban. Subs: Steele, Murphy, Osborn, Cash, Janko, Yacob, Ansarifard.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Pennington, Knudsen, Skuse, Ward, Bishop, Lankester, Sears, Jackson. Subs: Gerken, Donacien, Chalobah, Nolan, Rowe, Roberts, Dozzell. Referee: James Linington (Newport IoW).
Photo: Action Images
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