Nottingham Forest secured a superb 1-0 win at Blackburn’s Ewood Park with a dramatic injury-time winner this afternoon.
Forest had acquitted themselves well all game and Darius Henderson’s 91st-minute strike handed them a fantastic three points in front of a jubilant Forest following.
Kelvin Wilson was immediately introduced to The Reds’ starting line-up after completing his return from Celtic in midweek, Henderson began the match up front and Radoslaw Majewski was handed a starting berth after scoring against Hartlepool on Tuesday.
Forest started the game well and on four minutes claimed the first shot at goal. Henri Lansbury played a neat pass to Andy Reid who shot two yards over from outside the area after an exchange with Majewski.
Shortly afterwards, the hosts almost had a fortuitous lead as Alan Judge’s free kick went all the way through to the back post where it bounced up off Chris Cohen. The ball could have gone anywhere but The Reds’ skipper managed to carry it away from danger.
Despite that brief scare Forest were looking comfortable in their first away trip of the season and on 20 minutes Jamie Paterson gave Jake Kean his first major test of the afternoon.
After a nice move which also involved Henri Lansbury, Andy Reid and Henderson, Paterson cut in on the corner of the area and saw his right-footed curler pushed away by the Rovers keeper.
Five minutes later, Majewski drew a foul from Scott Dann down the left and both Henderson and Jack Hobbs were a matter of inches from providing a crucial touch to Reid’s excellent cross, only for the ball to sail all the way through and away from danger.
Forest continued to press and after Eric Lichaj had seen his volley deflect high into the air, he and Todd Kane went in for a 50-50 as the ball dropped down onto the turf. The USA international was marginally late with his challenge and went into Andrew Madley’s book.
The Reds maintained their dominance and on 32 minutes it was time for Paterson to aim another curler at goal. Forest’s initial corner had been cleared but Reid whipped it straight back in, Henderson kept it alive and Paterson brought it down neatly in the the area. He could only send his left-footed effort over, however.
Blackburn’s Judge had developed a reputation at Notts County as a set piece specialist, and he twice lived up to his reputation as the half neared its conclusion.
Both crosses came from the right - the first was nodded just wide by Jordan Rhodes and the second was met powerfully by Dann, who could only find the safe grasp of Karl Darlow with his header.
Sandwiched between the two headers came a similar effort from Henderson, who nodded Lichaj’s cross from open play wide.
And in the final minute of normal time Forest should have had the lead.
Majewski played Henderson to the byline and the striker, who had caused Blackburn problems all afternoon, did superbly to cut a low cross back into the area with his left foot. Majewski was waiting in acres of space and sent a side-footed first-time effort at goal, only for Grant Hanley to nod it away from danger.
Two minutes of added time followed before the referee signalled the end of an extremely encouraging first half for The Reds.
Both sides emerged unchanged and there was nothing to choose between them in the early exchanges of the second half.
Jason Lowe was booked for tugging back Majewski in the middle and, on the hour mark, Paterson was replaced by Jamie Mackie.
Four minutes later and Rovers claimed the first shot of the half. A goalmouth scramble resulted in the ball falling for Judge on the edge of the area, but the winger could only send a weak effort crawling wide of Darlow’s post.
Matt Derbyshire was given a warm reception as he replaced Majewski on 64 minutes before the hosts made a change of their own - Josh King replaced Taylor.
The next chance of the match fell to Derbyshire. Darlow’s long ball cleared the Rovers defence and the in-form striker brought it down superbly, only to see Hanley slide across brilliantly to block his low effort.
The hosts then came close to opening the scoring themselves - Lowe turned it over from inside the box after receiving it from Judge.
Both sides were trying their hardest to unlock the door, a feat so nearly achieved by Reid with 11 minutes to play.
Derbyshire was fouled just outside the ‘D’ and Reid sent his free-kick inches wide of Kean’s post.
It was to be the Irishman’s last action as he was soon replaced by Greg Halford.
And with a minute of normal time to go the versatile defender, who was occupying a role in Forest’s midfield, sent an overhead kick just wide from inside the area after his teammates had caused a scramble in Rovers’ area.
But it wasn’t to matter as, in the first of three added minutes, Forest had a dramatic winner.
The ball was played long into Rovers’ area and Mackie did brilliantly to get his body in front of Kean to block the keeper’s path to the ball. The forward picked himself up and laid it off to Henderson, who calmly swept the ball beyond a number of defenders and into the net from the edge of the area.
Forest defended stoutly after that to claim a tremendous win in Lancashire.
Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Cohen, Hobbs, Wilson, Guedioura, Majewski (Derbyshire 64'), Lansbury, Reid (Halford 82'), Paterson (Mackie 60'), Henderson
Subs not used: de Vries, Harding, Collins, Miller
Scorer: Henderson 90'
Bookings: Lichaj 29', Lansbury 73', Henderson 81'
Blackburn: Kean, Kane, Spurr, Hanley, Lowe, Best, Rhodes, Dann, Taylor (King 68'), Marrow, Judge
Subs not used: Eastwood, Dunn, Olsson, Songo'o, Morris, Evans
Booking: Lowe 58'
Referee: Andrew Madley