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Nottingham Forest 2-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 1st Dec 2018 17:04

Two first-half Lewis Grabban goals saw Nottingham Forest to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Town at the City Ground. Grabban followed up a rebound to open the scoring in the ninth minute then, after Kayden Jackson had headed the Blues’ best opportunity wide, added the second on 38.

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.

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. The ball appeared to move in the air but the Polish international, currently going through his toughest spell with the Blues, will again feel he ought to have done better.

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, all of them in the space of the last 15 games.

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 will feel he should 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 Blues needed an early second-half goal if they were to get anything from the game and in the first minute following the restart Knudsen crossed from the left, the ball reached Jordan Spence beyond the far post but the former West Ham right-back was unable to get a clean contact on his volley.

Forest almost made it 3-0 two minutes later when they hit the woodwork for the second time. Carvalho sent over a freekick from the left which Michael Hefele headed on to Bialkowski’s right post and into the keeper’s arms.

Sears hit a looping effort from distance which Pantilimon turned over, then at the other end Cole Skuse blocked a shot from Lolley.

Lankester feinted his way into space before hitting a defender with a shot from distance prior to Hefele picking up a booking for a foul on Ward.

Grabban was inches way from his hat-trick in the 58th minute, outpacing Chambers and then the advancing Bialkowski for a ball played down the Forest left. The 30-year-old, who netted twice in the 5-5 draw with Villa, looped a shot from a tight angle towards goal but the ball bounced off the top of the bar and over.

Moments later Town made a double substitution with Jackson and Ward making way for Roberts and Chalobah.

The Blues were making little headway as they sought an unlikely comeback, however, on 70 Lankester curled a 25-yard strike only just past Pantilimon’s right post.

Two minutes later, the Blues swapped Bishop, who had shown glimpses of the form which made him one of the stars of Town’s 2014/15 play-off campaign, for Jon Nolan.

Forest had been happy to sit in and prevent Town from getting a foothold back in the game for much of the second half but on 73 Lolley burst through a number of Blues before hitting a low shot from the edge of the box which Bialkowski grabbed down to his left.

Pantilimon was booked for time-wasting in the 82nd minute, somewhat needlessly with Forest looking comfortable despite the Blues seeing more of the ball in the latter stages.

Knudsen blocked from Grabban from an angle on the right on 85, then a minute later seemed certain to complete his hat-trick a minute later when found unmarked in the centre of the area, however, Matthew Pennington made a superb saving challenge as he prepared to shoot.

That was the two-goal striker’s final action of the afternoon with Karim Ansarifard replacing him for the final two and a half minutes.

The sub missed a golden chance to make it 3-0 a minute after coming on but scuffed wide having been found unmarked and with time to pick his spot by Dias. After seven minutes of injury time the Blues’ third successive defeat was confirmed by referee Linington.

The Blues had never looked like getting anything from the game in the second half with the match having been all but won before the break.

Forest were happy enough to stick with their two-goal lead for the most part but were unfortunate not to add to it via their two second-half efforts which hit the woodwork, while Lankester, one of the Blues’ brighter performers on his full debut, was unlucky that his curling effort didn’t arc inside the post.

The game took a predictable path after Forest had scored their early first-half goal with the home side, who are up to fifth, never really looking in any trouble.

Town remain bottom now seven points from safety with 21st-placed Reading having drawn 2-2 with Stoke City, who the Blues visit next Saturday, while Bolton, 22nd, drew 1-1 with Wigan and Hull, now 19th, won 3-2 at QPR. The gap could extend to nine if Millwall win at Bristol City on Sunday.

Nottingham Forest: Pantilimon, Darikwa, Dawson (c) (Osborn 79), Hefele, Robinson, Guedioura, Colback, Dias (Cash 90), Carvalho, Lolley, Grabban (Ansarifard 88). Unused: Steele, Murphy, Janko, Yacob, Ansarifard.

Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Pennington, Knudsen, Skuse, Ward (Chalobah 59), Bishop (Nolan 72), Lankester, Sears, Jackson (Roberts 59). Unused: Gerken, Donacien, Rowe, Dozzell. Referee: James Linington (Newport IoW). Att: 27,873.

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midastouch added 07:25 - Dec 2
@ RobsonWark, also please read these much earlier posts to see I was far from convinced about our chances this season, I was marked down as well on some of these for being pessimistic about our chances given our long odds for promotion and short odds for the drop.

cat added 08:51 - Dec 2
We can blame Evans, McCarthy, Hurst or the fringing tea lady but the butt has to stop with the players. Usual suspects still under performing, add to that the keeper who just keeps on giving and it’s quite clear why we’re in the sh1te. Axe the old guard, Bart, Chambers, Knudsen and Spence (exception of Skuse who has found a bit of form) and bring in the youths, cause at this early point in the season we simply have nothing to lose.

RegencyBlue added 09:22 - Dec 2
Those who are saying going down to League 1 to rebuild are missing the point in my view. Does anyone seriously see Evans doing anything other than cutting the budget even further and bemoaning the fact we cannot compete with the big spenders of League 1 because I can’t!

Our only hope is a new owner. Evans is killing this club and the fact there are still fans who will not have a word said against him is incredible. I don’t pretend to know what he is doing at Ipswich or how he is doing it but I can see the end results. We are a shambles on and off the pitch and after owning us for eleven years Evans cannot escape responsibility!

loudnproud added 09:49 - Dec 2
Relegation terms in the vast majority of contracts are written in to protect the club and their manager. The club will have the right to terminate a contract if they believe their manager is unable to take them further. Likewise a manager who believes he will not get the financial support of its club can be approached by outside parties if the club gets relegated.

Bottom line..........Just how much does Paul Lambert believe he can take this club?

Hegansheroes added 11:56 - Dec 2
Appalling. Having watched ITFC since 1961 I have never seen anything like this. Hurst was a huge mistake as have been all Evans' managerial appointments including MM who now is manager of Eire. My friend in Cork is distraught. Evans is not a football person, he is a businessman & thought he could get us into the Premiership by appointing RK (apparently they are friends). He would then have sold the club making a tidy profit. How it has backfired on him. My main concern now is will the infrastructure of the club sold, ie Playford Road a prime development site and any other assets. Make no mistake Evans has no conscience. Re yesterdays game, Chambers is now a liability in facc the whole back four are pretty dreadful. Perhaps ist div is needed if we can keep hold of PL, he's done it before

Blue_Meanie added 12:52 - Dec 2
Remember Charlton Athletic?
Top team, Curbishley quality manager, The Valley old school ground.

Got 3 and half thousand yesterday for their FA cup second round match.

Be us in a couple of years

Cheers Evans, where would we be without you?

dirtydingusmagee added 13:54 - Dec 2
will the price of a pie come down if we get relegated ? cant be all doom and gloom surely .

runningout added 16:13 - Dec 2
The blame game is worthless. Bring on Stoke

shakytown added 16:29 - Dec 2
Truly some awful defending but look at how easily they ran through the middle of the park. Did we actually have any midfield at all?????

dirtydingusmagee added 16:37 - Dec 2
conspiracy theorists are linking Evans with Aldi ....doubt if its for sponsorship !

portmanteau added 16:46 - Dec 2
Yes we should acknowledge that ME injects funds regularly to buy players and to keep the club running but the catch is that it is all called debt which has to be repaid to him sometime. Is this the standard business model for ownership of clubs ? I dont think the Sheikhs and people like Bill Whelan operate like this . No buyer is going to cough up the debt currently around 100 million I believe so it seems the only way this is going to end is when ME in desperation winds the club up and walks away with whatever he can salvage from the wreck.

Minneapolis_ITFC added 16:55 - Dec 2
Got late to the party but have to accept now relegation is a very clear danger. Was skeptical up to now but the scores haven't improved and we got a goalkeeper low on confidence and making expensive errors. Not only that, other than Sears in the squad who else can feasibly be relied upon to contribute enough to keep the team away from a fall into League One.

As others have put it, blaming the owner is futile. We realize he's a root cause of the problem but he's not going to change his ways or invest nowhere near enough cash into the club to make us competitive or avert the danger we find ourselves in. League One may be a new experience after near 20 years in the same league but all joking apart, it's NOT something anyone here would seriously wish for.

Add to that, if or when we fall through, can you imagine how long it could take to regain second league status - not just one year away, it may well be four or five, possibly more. It's IMPERATIVE business is done in the next transfer window such as bringing in goalkeeper cover, other midfield units and extra attack options that are dependable. If not, we're a League One team by May, I can view little other alternative from the situation.


armchaircritic59 added 17:55 - Dec 2
Here's a thought. Perhaps we should go down the Ipswich Speedway route, who have been bought by the promoter of near neighbours King's lynn and gone up a grade into the Elite League. Delia anyone?

One things for sure, she couldn't have done any worse, and the catering would be good!

This is a little bit of a "tongue in cheek" post, in case you're wondering, but raises an interesting issue!

ONENIL78 added 18:02 - Dec 2
im forever the optomist....but tbh,,,,looking forward to the A12 derby next season

Gcon added 21:02 - Dec 2
We were outclassed yesterday, rather than outplayed.

Given the lack of quality in the team the defense obviously bear the brunt. In truth there were mistakes but there was also a lot of solid defending and some great tackles. PL will have performed a miracle if he can just keep their chins up till end of Jan, when new players come in. Supporters need to do their bit, and keep supporting.

How anybody can point the finger anywhere other than Evans baffles me. Take the selling of Waghorn a few days before the start of the season, for example.

rayado_ingles added 21:21 - Dec 2
I personally blame it all on Magical Vegas

PJewellisaGod added 02:19 - Dec 3
Many of these players need to wake up and smell the coffee. They are being given a chance to play at championship level and they are monumentally blowing that chance. Personally feel this will the highest level that many of them will achieve so what a wasted opportunity!

It is only in a few years time that they will realise "that was my shot, and look what I did with it".

There is lack of quality throughout the side. Defence is poor, granted, but it doesn't help that our midfield play is so weak. There were occasions when Forest players rode four or five tackles and then got in a pass! I'd argue the midfield should be doing much, much more to retain possession and control the game.

It doesn't help either that we have the poorest strike force in my living memory. For the season I'd rate our positions:

Goalkeeping : 4, mainly due to Gerken
Defence: 4
Midfield :2
Strikers: 3, mainly due to Sears otherwise a solid 1.

I thought I knew humiliation as an ITFC fan before this season. Sadly I was very, very wrong. Never been so humiliated to be an ITFC fan. Keep having to tell myself it's only football but it still hurts.

And where is the "new manager effect" that every club bar us seems to have on the appointment of a new manager?

Akaroablue added 02:40 - Dec 3
Just viewed the highlights package as in NZ, we could easily have lost by five if they had there shooting boots on, and Bart looks like a golfer with the "yips" . Clean out at the back needed, just awful, Spence, Chambers, Knudsen, incompetent journey men!

stringtheory added 15:38 - Dec 3
Joao Carvalho - cost thirteen million. Lewis Grabban - cost seven million. Two of the players instrumental in our downfall on Saturday. The only millions Town see nowadays are the miles away they are from competing financially in the Championship. Evans stated before the season started that if he felt he couldn't take Town forward he would willing to look at selling to someone who he thought could. Maybe he's holding out to see if there really is Christmas fairy.

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