Nottingham Forest suffered their first league defeat in eight games as Yeovil Town ran out 3-1 winners at Huish Park this afternoon.
Nathaniel Chalobah’s first Forest goal halved the deficit after Ed Upson had scored twice for the hosts, but Byron Webster dealt the killer blow just before the break.
Billy Davies made three changes to the side that drew against Bournemouth last weekend. In Kelvin Wilson’s absence, Jamaal Lascelles was handed his first league start since January 2012. Eric Lichaj and Chalobah returned to the side after serving one-match bans, but there was still room in the side for Gonzalo Jara, who took up a role in midfield. Djamal Abdoun dropped to the bench.
The hosts had the lead on eight minutes in somewhat fortuitous fashion. Upson’s shot from just outside the area took a big deflection on its way into the top corner with Darlow wrong-footed.
And the midfielder threatened again a minute later when Forest allowed him too much space before he sent a 25-yarder just wide of the post.
It had been a slow start for The Reds but Jara was looking assured in the middle. And it was from the Chilean’s through ball that Forest had a golden opportunity to equalise. Simon Cox raced onto it and was felled by Webster in the area. The Irishman struck the subsequent spot kick with power but the direction was lacking. Wayne Hennessey parried it, picked himself up and saved brilliantly from Cox on the follow-up.
Buoyed by the save, Yeovil set about doulbling their lead. Shane Duffy met Upson’s corner at the near post but could only head over.
The centre back should perhaps have done better, but there wasn’t much Chalobah could do moments later when he nodded Cohen’s cross wide on the stretch.
It had been a disjointed first-half display from the visitors and they were almost two behind on 34 minutes when Duffy’s header fizzed up off the turf. Darlow had to react quickly to push it around the post.
Forest responded through Cox, who received the ball from Radi Majewski before curling a beautifully-shaped effort towards the top corner from the edge of the area. Hennessey dived to his left to tip it away.
The Reds were enjoying a good spell of pressure and tested the keeper again shortly afterwards. It was Majewski’s turn this time as Jara slipped him into the area. His fiercely-struck shot was saved low down by Hennessey at his near post.
But despite Forest’s pressure it was their hosts who next had the ball in the net. Upson was afforded enough time to let the ball settle before unleashing a fierce strike towards goal. It barely left the ground on its way into Darlow’s bottom corner.
Forest’s character was being tested once again, and they responded immediately. Cohen had been fouled by Dawson near the corner flag, for which the midfielder was booked. Cohen found Jack Hobbs with the subsequent free-kick, who nodded it back across goal for Chalobah to head home on the line.
Keen to nip any Forest momentum in the bud, The Glovers pressed again and Joel Grant forced a tremendous one-handed save from Darlow after working some space in the area two minutes before the break.
But there was nothing the keeper could do from the resultant corner as Webster’s header hit the post and, according to the referee’s assistant, crossed the line.
Chalobah was booked in the final minute of the half and was substituted at the break. On came Dan Harding as Cohen shifted into the middle.
Forest started the second period with purpose. Reid played a one-two with Majewski and sent a shot towards goal from 20 yards. He struck it well but it bent wide of goal.
The visitors’ pressure was mounting and after a marauding Hobbs had seen his effort blocked, Cox was left to rue Hennessey yet again as he saw his header well saved at the the near post.
And there was more frustration just after the hour as Majewski’s corner appeared to take a slight deflection on its way through to Hobbs, who miscued his effort.
Cox was then replaced by Jamie Mackie, who injected some pace and direction for the visitors. Two minutes after his introduction he cut in from the right and sent a left-footed effort low towards the bottom corner. It didn’t quite have the power to beat Hennessey, who just held on with his body fully outstretched.
Forest’s third change followed as Jamie Paterson replaced Majewski, and a minute later the hosts offered their first purposeful foray into Forest territory of the second half. Sam Hoskins, who had been earlier booked for kicking the ball away, led a speedy break and slipped Liam Davis into the area. He skewed his effort into the side netting.
Forest were still firmly in the ascendancy however, and they went close twice in quick succession on 71 minutes. Cohen skipped into the area and managed to get a shot away under pressure. Hennessey could only parry and Paterson blasted over on the follow-up.
The summer signing from Walsall had reacted well to meet the rebound, and minutes later he asserted himself on the match with a jinking run to the edge of the area, where he was faced with a sea of green and white shirts. His shot was blocked.
The clock was ticking down and, despite their dominance, it was looking increasingly likely that The Reds would be facing the long trip back from Somerset empty-handed. Lascelles had taken up a striker’s role in a bid to add another dimension to the attack.
And despite Forest’s commitment to attack, no-one was on hand to tap home Lichaj’s low cross after Cohen had done well to push the ball out wide.
Still Forest pressed and they were almost handed a glimmer of hope courtesy of Lascelles. He showed terrific pace to ghost beyond Yeovil’s defence and into the area but Hennessey, who was later awarded Man of the Match, stood firm at his near post and reclaimed the rebound.
Lascelles had another chance shortly afterwards, this time heading tamely at Hennessey from Cohen’s cross.
And the final chance of the match fell to the hosts. Darlow did well to deny Upson his hat-trick before the referee blew for full-time, leaving Yeovil to celebrate the victory with their jubilant supporters.
Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Hobbs, Lascelles, Cohen (c), Jara, Chalobah (Harding 46'), Majewski (Paterson 69'), Reid, Cox (Mackie 63'), Henderson
Subs not used: Al Rashidi, Halford, Abdoun, Derbyshire
Scorer: Chalobah 42'
Bookings: Chalobah 45', Lascelles 54', Reid 90'
Yeovil: Hennessey; Edwards, Webster, Duffy, McAllister (c), Dawson, Upson, Ralls, Davis, Grant, Hoskins
Subs not used: Dunn, Ayling, Hayter, Foley, Fontaine, Williams, Madden
Scorers: Upson 8', 40, Webster 43'
Bookings: Upson 25', Dawson 41', Ralls 46', Hoskins 57'
Referee: Mick Russell
Attendance: 7,612 (Away: 2,099)