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Match Report


Posted Fri 31 Jul 15 at 07:40 AM

Bristol City 2-0 Forest

Nottingham Forest were beaten 2-0 by Bristol City at Ashton Gate this evening.

Two early goals from Aaron Wilbraham were enough to earn the victory for Steve Cotterill's men.

Forest had chances to work their way back into the match and hit the woodwork through Henri Lansbury in the second half.

But The Reds also had Dorus de Vries to thank for some heroic work between the sticks.

Injuries to a number of players and suspensions for key defenders Matt Mills and Eric Lichaj gave Dougie Freedman a selection headache before the match.

Danny Fox was called back into the team, filling in at right back, while Kelvin Wilson partnered Jack Hobbs in central defence.

In midfield there was a start for David Vaughan, who impressed Freedman with his performance for Wales in their 2-0 win over Andorra on Tuesday night. His international team-mate, Jonny Williams, and Northern Ireland winger Jamie Ward were given places on the bench.

Nelson Oliveira, Ryan Mendes, Chris O'Grady and Chris Burke all started the match, and there was room on the bench for Reds Under 21s defender Alex Iacovitti.

The hosts started the match in the ascendancy and carved out their first opportunity on two minutes. Elliott Bennett's cross from the right presented Jonathan Kodjia with a volleying opportunity eight yards out, but he got underneath his shot and sent the ball high over the bar.

Two minutes later, Abraham had a decent chance to give his side the lead when he controlled Derrick Williams' low cross in the area. He didn't connect cleanly with his shot, however, and de Vries made an easy save.

But less than a minute later Abraham had the ball in the net. Bennett's cross came all the way through for him and he had time to control the ball and stroke it goalwards. It took a deflection off Fox on its way past de Vries.

Forest were struggling to keep their hosts at bay and found themselves 2-0 down on 11 minutes. Williams' cross picked out the unmarked Wilbraham, who powered the ball into the net with a header.

The Reds were being forced to feed off scraps in the early exchanges, and Oliveira did just that on 17 minutes when he capitalised on Williams' poor touch. The Portuguese forward took the ball into the area from the right but saw his shot deflect behind for a corner.

Lansbury's initial delivery was put behind, but his second picked out Hobbs perfectly. The centre back threw himself forwards and headed the ball towards goal with power. City keeper Frank Fielding made an excellent save to tip it over the bar.

The pressure wasn't over, however. Lansbury sent the ball into the middle again and it took a combination of City defenders and their keeper to deny O'Grady with a shot and Hobbs with another header.

It was proving to be a good spell for The Reds, who released Mendes down the right on 21 minutes. He did well to cut the ball back for O'Grady in the middle, who controlled it brilliantly. Slightly off-balance, however, O'Grady needed more time to compose himself to shoot and a City defender snuffed out the danger.

Luke Freeman was proving a tricky customer for the home side and he swung the balance of play back in favour of his team with a shot that whistled just wide of the post from 22 yards.

And more lovely play from Freeman saw him supply Jonathan Kodjia, whose shot took a nick off a Forest man on its way behind for a corner.

Speculative long-range efforts from Mendes and Lansbury, both drifting well wide, were all Forest could conjure before heading into the dressing room 2-0 down.

Freedman's men came out for the second half unchanged and tested Fielding within five minutes of the restart, Daniel Pinillos bringing the ball forward from left back and striking it goalwards from 25 yards. It moved around in the air but Fielding pushed it away convincingly.

The Reds were showing promising signs and had the woodwork rattling just before the hour. Lansbury's clever goalward flick from Vaughan's corner was half dealt with by City's defenders, but Forest kept the ball alive in their hosts' area. The ball eventually dropped back to Lansbury, who displayed brilliant technique to send it dipping towards the top corner on the volley. Cruelly, it bounced off the crossbar.

Forest had to be wary of their hosts on the break, however, and Lansbury and Fox both found themselves in the book for illegally halting a City attack.

Freedman's first two changes saw Williams and Ward replace Burke and Oliveira.

And Ward had a half-chance to make it 2-1 after Mendes chipped the ball over the top for the winger to run on to. The angle was against the Northern Irishman, however, and Fielding made the save at his near post.

With 15 minutes to play Fielding's opposite number became central to the action. Bennett cut the ball back for Kodjia, who fizzed the ball low towards goal from the edge of the area. De Vries dived to his left and made an outstanding one-handed save to tip it wide. The Dutchman had to stay alert as, moments later, a deep cross saw the ball drop for Luke Ayling at the back post. De Vries did well to block his effort.

Freedman's final substitution saw Hobbs leave the field in place of Dexter Blackstock with ten minutes to play. The move saw Fox and Pinillos form a back three with Wilson.

Forest had to rely on more sensational work by de Vries, a double save from Wilbraham, to keep them in the game as it entered its latter stages.

The away side were able to carve out one last opportunity, deep into three minutes of added time. Williams raced on to a long ball over the top and controlled it brilliantly. He could only blaze it off-target, however, and the match ended 2-0.

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