Nottingham Forest were beaten 1-0 by Charlton Athletic at The City Ground this evening.
Jordan Cousins pounced on a favourable rebound with nine minutes to go, tapping the ball into an empty net to hand the Londoners all three points on a disappointing evening for The Reds.
Academy manager Gary Brazil took charge of first-team affairs following the termination of Billy Davies’ employment yesterday, and he made three changes to the side which lost at Derby County.
Djamal Abdoun, who was ruled out of the defeat at The iPro Stadium with a virus, replaced Jamie Paterson, while Greg Halford and Darius Henderson were also handed starts. Radoslaw Majewski dropped to the bench and Guy Moussi was absent from the squad entirely. Rafik Djebbour was named among the substitutes after recovering from an ankle injury.
The first opportunity of the evening fell to the visitors when Astrit Ajdarevic blocked Jamaal Lascelles’ clearance and took the ball into the area. He flashed the ball left-footed across Karl Darlow’s goal and a couple of yards wide of the post.
Forest responded immediately, Mackie ghosting into the area unmarked to meet Fox’s pinpoint cross. The forward could only head the ball wide.
Reza Ghoochannejhad has hopes of attending this summer’s World Cup with his native Iran and he was the next player to attempt breaking the deadlock. He cut in from the left but Danny Collins was on hand to block his shot.
The Reds came within inches of taking the lead minutes later however. Gonzalo Jara ran into space in midfield before playing a through ball to Henderson. The striker took a good first touch on the edge of the area before appearing to clip the ball off the outside of Ben Hamer’s post with his shot.
And the woodwork was definitely rattling at the other end six minutes later. Dorian Dervite picked out Jordan Cousins with a lofted pass. The forward slipped the ball to his right for Marvin Sordell to race onto, but from a narrow angle the former Bolton striker could only strike the ball against the base of the post.
Forest had dominated in terms of possession but were struggling to penetrate Charlton’s resolute back line. A half-chance came their way when the ball from Fox’s half-cleared cross dropped for Abdoun in the area, but the Algerian saw his shot blocked.
The visitors were back on the front foot on 36 minutes, Cousins running towards goal before passing the ball to Ghoochannejhad. The Iranian’s shot looped up off Fox and over the bar. Charlton made a mess ofthe subsequent corner and the danger was gone.
But the home side began to turn the screw as the half drew to a close. With three minutes of normal time remaining before the break Henderson knocked the ball down to Cox on the edge of the area. The striker shifted it nearly onto his right before seeing his goalbound shot diverted behind by Addicks defender Lawrie Wilson.
Two added minutes were indicated at the end of the half, in the second of which Forest came close to taking the lead twice in quick succession. From Henderson’s pass, the ball deflected beautifully into Cox’s path and the Republic of Ireland international raced through one-on-one with Hamer. He dinked it neatly over the keeper but could only watch on as it bounced off the inside of the post. Mackie kept the move alive, racing to meet the ball near the byline before dinking it in Henderson’s direction. The striker generated good power and direction on his header but Hamer did well to tip the ball over the bar and ensure the sides went into the break level.
The visitors made a like-for-like switch at half-time, centre-back Richard Wood replacing Dervite, while Jamie Paterson replaced Cox after 52 minutes.
Forest had begun the second half as they had left off - largely dominant but unable to create anything clear-cut.
It was the visitors who carved out the next opportunity of note when Jara’s attempted clearance next to his own corner flag was blocked, allowing Ajderavic to run into the area from the left. The Standard Liege loanee fizzed the ball across goal but it went harmlessly behind.
And Charlton had a golden chance to take the lead a minute later when Wilson picked out Cousins with a cross from the right. The midfielder was completely unmarked in the area but histechnique deserted him at the crucial moment as he volleyed the ball high over the bar.
Shortly afterwards, Henderson was replaced by Djebbour before a trip on Mackie presented Forest with a free-kick in a dangerous position. Paterson left it for Fox, who sent the ball just wide of Hamer’s far post.
The Reds were now enjoying a decent spell of pressure. Djebbour had Hamer frantically backpedalling after meeting Halford’s cross with his head, but the ball landed on the roof of the net.
Forest pressed again, winning a corner which Fox whipped into the middle. Halford met the ball with a firm header which Hamer was unable to hold onto but Charlton were eventually able to hack the ball away to safety.
And the visitors had the lead on 81 minutes after Lascelles’ misplaced pass led to Jonathan Obika, on for Sordell, smashing the ball against the base of Darlow’s post. It ricocheted kindly to the feet of Cousins who this time made no mistake, passing the ball into the empty net from just inside the area.
With injury time looming Djebbour was felled 20 yards out. Paterson blazed the ball over with the subsequent free-kick but The Reds had another chance in the third of four added minutes when the Algerian was tripped once again - this time on the far-right touchline. Fox found Collins with his cross but the defender could only head the ball over and the match ended 1-0 to the visitors.
Darlow, Halford, Lascelles, Collins(c), Fox, Jara, Greening, Mackie, Abdoun (Derbyshire 88'), Cox (Paterson 52'), Henderson (Djebbour 67')
Subs not used: Evtimov, Harding, Gomis, Majewski
Bookings: Jara 45', Lascelles 90'
Hamer, Wilson, Wiggins, Morrison, Dervite (Wood 46'), Jackson(c), Poyet, Cousins, Ajdarevic (Fox 90'), Ghoochanneljhad, Sordell (Obika 60')
Subs not used: Thuram-Ulien, Nego, Green, Pigott
Scorer: Cousins 81'
Referee: Andy Haines
Attendance: 17,951 (Away: 258)
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