Nottingham Forest beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 at Molineux this afternoon.
Second-half goals from Britt Assombalonga, Matty Fryatt and Henri Lansbury handed Forest their second successive victory in a match they could have won by an even greater margin.
Stuart Pearce made four changes to the starting line-up he selected to face Norwich City before the international break. Eric Lichaj, Danny Fox, Henri Lansbury and Chris Burke came in, replacing Jack Hunt, Dan Harding, Robert Tesche and Tom Ince.
Forest started the match brightly and tested Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme in the first minute, Michail Antonio cutting in from the left and stinging the keeper’s palms with a vicious drive from range.
The Reds were looking dangerous in the early exchanges but their hosts carved out an opportunity of their own on 15 minutes after Dave Edwards latched on to a ball into the right-hand channel. His low cross found Danny Graham at the near post, who directed the ball towards goal with a first-time effort.
Karl Darlow held on comfortably and Forest countered, Burke playing the ball to Fryatt. The forward was crowded out after trying to buy some space to shoot.
Wolves’ response came from James Henry, who volleyed the ball wide from just outside the area after Forest half-cleared a cross.
Lansbury found himself in the book on 21 minutes for a foul on Kevin McDonald, and he came within inches of adding his name to the scoresheet shortly afterwards.
Wanderers afforded the midfielder far too much time and space and Lansbury curled the ball beautifully towards goal from 22 yards. Ikeme dived to his left to make an outstanding save, tipping the ball on to the post and shifting the spotlight on to Jamaal Lascelles, who could only scuff it wide on the rebound.
And Wolves had Ikeme to thank again two minutes later. Burke crossed the ball for Fryatt at the back post, who nodded it across goal towards Antonio. A Wanderers defender was able to make a vital intervention but Forest kept the move alive, working the ball back to Fryatt in the area. He bent it across goal but Ikeme was able to tip it wide.
The hosts responded to the scare with a spell of pressure, forcing a number of corners and eventually putting the ball in the net. Edwards, however, was denied a goal by the assistant referee, who had flagged for offside.
Forest ended the half the stronger of the two teams, however, and worked a good opening when Lichaj and Burke exchanged passes down the right. The latter dinked a dangerous cross into the box but Danny Batth did well to stoop down and head the ball away.
Wolves were forced into making a defensive change just before half-time, Ethan Ebanks-Landell coming off for Richard Stearman, before Lascelles was booked for blocking a quick Wolves throw.
There were no changes for either side at half-time and Forest continued on the front foot, winning a corner when Ikeme could only carry the ball behind after Fox’s free-kick.
The hosts were able to deal with Lansbury’s delivery, but they found themselves under pressure again shortly afterwards when The Reds won the ball in midfield and worked it to Burke down the right. The winger got into the area and beat his man, but his cross was intercepted by Ikeme at the near post.
Forest kept pressing, Antonio playing a through ball for Lansbury who appeared to be clear through on goal before Stearman came across to make an excellent last-ditch tackle. The ball squirmed away to Burke who was blocked off in the area. He opted to lay it back to Lansbury but the midfielder could only direct his shot straight at Ikeme.
Forest’s pressure was incessant, and they worked a corner on 54 minutes. Lansbury’s delivery caused a scramble at the back post which led to Assombalonga seeing an effort blocked.
And a minute later The Reds came agonisingly close to scoring the opening goal. Burke crossed the ball to the back post, Antonio headed it down to Assombalonga who in turn laid the ball to Fox on the edge of the area. The full back curled it inches wide.
Wolves looked almost shellshocked by the visitors’ rampant start to the second half, but worked an opportunity of their own when Bakary Sako crossed the ball to Edwards in the area. He could only head it wide, however, and eight minutes later Forest had the lead.
Lansbury flicked the ball to Fryatt, who was making strides into the left-hand side of the penalty area. He crossed the ball low across goal and Assombalonga had the simple task of tapping it over the line.
The Reds fully deserved their lead, and they added a second goal three minutes later after Antonio won a corner.
Fryatt appeared to get the vital touch in a crowded penalty area, looping the ball into the far corner of the net from Lansbury’s cross to send the sold-out away end into raptures.
Forest remained in control as the game entered a lull. With 14 minutes to go, however, the hosts had a golden opportunity to get themselves back into the game. Rajiv van La Parra had been on the pitch a matter of seconds before the ball was looped high to him in the area. He was unmarked on the six-yard box but could only head the ball hopelessly wide.
Wolves were ramping up the pressure as full-time approached, but Michael Mancienne preserved his side’s lead with an excellent block from Tommy Rowe with ten minutes to go.
And The Reds killed off their opponents once and for all on 83 minutes. Antonio controlled the ball down the left, drilled a low cross into the area which Assombalonga left for the onrushing Lansbury to finish superbly from the edge of the area.
Pearce then opted to make three substitutions in quick succession, Tesche, Dexter Blackstock and Jamie Paterson replacing Assombalonga, Fryatt and Antonio.
It was almost 4-0 with a minute of normal time remaining. The ball bounced out to Lansbury from a half-cleared corner and the midfielder unleashed a vicious half-volley from 22 yards. As he did in the first half, he found Ikeme equal to his strike, and Paterson could only fire the ball over on the rebound.
Four minutes of added time were indicated at the end of the second half, in the second of which Paterson was played into the area from a quick free-kick. He jinked back inside his man but saw his right-footed effort blocked.
Forest played out the remaining moments in complete control.
Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Mancienne, Lascelles, Fox, Burke, Osborn, Lansbury, Antonio (Paterson 88'), Fryatt (Blackstock 86'), Assombalonga (Tesche 84')
Subs not used: De Vries, Wilson, Hunt, Ince
Goals: Assombalonga 65', Fryatt 68', Lansbury 83'
Bookings: Lansbury 22', Lascelles 45', Lichaj 70'
Ikeme, Doherty, Batth, Ebanks-Landell (Stearman 44'), Ricketts, McDonald, Rowe, Henry (McAlinden 60'), Edwards (van La Parra 75'), Sako, Graham
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Saville, Evans, Keita
Bookings: Doherty 49', Stearman 81'
Referee: Paul Tierney