Nottingham Forest’s pursuit of a playoff place came to an end with a 4-1 defeat at AFC Bournemouth this afternoon.
Greg Halford pulled it back to 2-1 with a second-half header but goals from Lewis Grabban and Yann Kermogant, adding to both of their first-half strikes, put the match - and the top six - out of Forest’s reach.
Temporary manager Gary Brazil made one change to the side that won at Leeds on Easter Monday. Jamie Paterson dropped out of the squad altogether and Lee Peltier replaced him in the starting line-up after being ineligible to face his parent club at Elland Road. Karl Darlow, who missed the trip to Yorkshire through injury, was absent again, leaving Dorus de Vries to deputise. Ben Osborn and Stephen McLaughlin kept their place in midfield, while there was room on the bench for Simon Cox.
Former Forest keeper Lee Camp took his place between the sticks for The Cherries but defender Elliott Ward wasn’t named in Eddie Howe’s 18.
Forest had gone a goal up within two minutes against both Birmingham and Leeds but it was Bournemouth who started the brighter this time around, Matt Ritchie firing the ball just wide of de Vries’ left-hand post early on.
The Dutchman, who was substituted after 80 minutes at Elland Road due to a calf problem, was called into action for the first time shortly afterwards. Kermorgant nodded the ball down from Simon Francis’ cross and de Vries had to position himself well to block Grabban’s shot from point-blank range.
Matt Derbyshire had benefited from a through ball from McLaughlin for the opening goal at Leeds, and the two players swapped roles on 22 minutes as The Reds created their first chance of the match. Derbyshire’s cushioned header from Greg Halford’s crossfield pass was perfect for McLaughlin, who shifted the ball on to his right foot before scuffing it wide from the edge of the penalty area.
Bournemouth were nevertheless possessing the greater threat and Andrew Surman, Grabban and Marc Pugh all tried their luck as the half progressed. They all missed the target however, and they were nearly left to regret their wastefulness when Derbyshire raced on to Halford’s dinked ball over the top six minutes before the break. The angle was slightly against the striker and Camp got a strong hand to the ball after the striker fired it goalwards.
Ahead of the game, Brazil had called for his side to carry the momentum they had generated over the Easter period. It had been a stuttering display however and, just as the temporary manager will have been mentally preparing his half-time team talk, Bournemouth took the lead.
Francis carried the ball down the right flank, reaching the byline before dinking it into the middle. His cross was perfect for Kermorgant, who headed the ball over the line to send The Cherries into the break 1-0 up.
There were no changes for either side at the break, but The Cherries quickly set about altering the score line.
Eunan O’Kane was crowded out in Forest’s area but the ball fell kindly for Grabban, who sent the ball low across de Vries and into the far corner of the net.
Bournemouth were buoyant - and their confidence was reflected in Kermogant’s cheeky attempt to lob de Vries from 40 yards. It nearly paid off, the Dutchman just about holding on to the ball at the second attempt on his goal line.
Needing a win to realistically keep their playoff hopes alive, Forest weren’t prepared to let the game pass them by. David Vaughan offered a warning shot on 55 minutes, sending the ball wide from 20 yards, before his side halved the deficit.
Osborn, whose set-piece prowess has been evident since his emergence from The Reds’ Under 21s ranks, sent in another devilish delivery after Francis had handled the ball. Halford made no mistake with his header, sending the ball low beyond a helpless Camp.
The first booking of the game followed shortly afterwards as Lascelles was penalised for a foul on Kermogant. And the defender was substituted shortly afterwards, Gonzalo Jara replacing him.
Jara filled in at right back and Halford moved alongside Danny Collins, but the goalscorer was at the centre of attention at the other end once again as play resumed.
Another excellent Osborn delivery, this time from a corner, saw Peltier nod the ball down for Halford at the back post. He couldn’t control his shot on the bounce, ballooning the ball high over the crossbar.
And shortly afterwards The Reds’ playoff hopes were quashed once and for all as Jara was adjudged to have tripped Pugh in the area on 70 minutes. Grabban sent de Vries the wrong way from the spot.
Darius Henderson was sent on in place of McLaughlin as Forest threw caution to the wind, but it was his fellow substitute Cox who would come close to reducing the arrears. He sent the ball just over the bar with a vicious drive from 30 yards.
Osborn tricked his way into the Bournemouth area moments later and almost beat Camp at his near post with a cross-cum-shot. The keeper turned the ball behind and Osborn again got good shape on his corner. There were no takers in the middle, however, the ball running all the way through and away from danger.
Four minutes of added time were indicated, in the first of which The Cherries put some gloss on the scoreline. With Forest committed to attack, the hosts broke away and had plenty of time to shuffle the ball to Kermogant on the right. The Frenchman powered it across de Vries and into the bottom corner of the net, ending Bournemouth’s home campaign on a jubilant note.
Forest: De Vries, Halford, Lascelles (Jara 65'), Collins(c), Harding, Peltier, McLaughlin (Henderson 74'), Vaughan (Cox 69'), Osborn, Mackie, Derbyshire
Subs not used: Evtimov, Greening, Tudgay, Majewski
Scorer: Halford 56'
Bookings: Lascelles 62', Harding 74'
Bournemouth:Camp, Francis, Elphick(c), Cook, Harte, Ritchie (Coulibaly 90'), O'Kane, Surman, Pugh (Fraser 82'), Kermorgant, Grabban (Rantie 86')
Subs not used: Allsop, Smith, Daniels, Arter
Scorers: Kermorgant 43', 90' Grabban 47', pen 70
Booking: Cook 88'
Referee: Simon Hooper
Attendance: 11,021 (Away: 1,422)