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Forest Win Villa Thriller

4 August 2012

Forest secured an impressive 3-1 win over Premier League Aston Villa at The City Ground this afternoon.

A crowd of 12,442 witnessed an immensely entertaining pre-season friendly, in which Lewis McGugan came off the bench to score twice in the second half. 

Early opportunities were restricted to half chances for both sides. Simon Gillett could have marked his debut with a goal in the third minute but scuffed his shot wide. 

Four minutes later, new Villa signing Ron Vlaar tried his luck but his 30-yard thunderbolt flew over. 

On 13 minutes it was Adlene Guedioura's turn but he couldn't keep his half-volley down and the ball rocketed over the crossbar. 

Moments later came a flurry of Villa chances. Brett Holman's shot was deflected just wide by Danny Collins and from the resultant corner, Karim El Ahmadi's strike suffered a similar fate - this time from the fingertips of Lee Camp. 

Two minutes later Villa had the ball in the net. A deep Barry Bannan free-kick was headed home by Ciaran Clark but referee Stuart Attwell spotted an infringement. 

Villa's pressure continued and on 17 minutes Nathan Delfouneso dispossessed Greg Halford down the left but Collins was on hand again to end the danger. 

Five minutes later a superb run by Charles N'Zogbia evaded the attentions of Dan Harding. The ball found its way to Holman on the left but Brendan Moloney did brilliantly to block his shot. 

Forest came the closest they did throughout the first half after 25 minutes. An Ishmael Miller cross found the head of a fully-stretched Brendan Moloney. His knock-down fell to Radi Majewski but he couldn't quite force it home. 

There was a slight lull in proceedings before N'Zogbia and Bannan half-threatened to put Villa ahead just before half time. 

The second half proved to be fantastic entertainment. 

David McGoldrick, on for Miller, made early strides for Forest, getting himself to the near post where his pull-back was blocked. 

On 53 minutes, good work from N'Zogbia released Stephen Ireland, whose cross just evaded Darren Bent (on for Delfouneso) and, two minutes later, Holman fired wildly over despite having plenty of time and space. 

On the hour mark came the substitution which changed the game, Lewis McGugan taking the place of Guedioura. Gillett soon followed, as did Majewski - for Guy Moussi and trialist Franck Moussa respectively. 

On 70 minutes, a questionable foul by Greg Halford was almost punished by Bannan but his free kick drifted just wide. 

Forest, as if spurred into action by the Scot's near miss, went down the other end and opened the scoring in the 71st minute. Lewis McGugan picked up a pass from Dan Harding and finishing beautifully from the edge of the area. 

The Reds barely had time to celebrate before Villa equalised. In similar circumstances to before, Halford brought down N'Zogbia and resultant free-kick was beautifully dispatched by Bannan. It was no less than the midfielder deserved after a highly impressive performance. 

A flurry of Forest changes followed with Blackstock, Moloney and Andy Reid coming off for Jonathan Greening, Jamaal Lascelles and Marcus Tudgay. 

Forest continued to press and were unlucky not to regain the lead when McGoldrick had a 75th-minute header saved. 

And two minutes later they got their reward. With Villa pushing for a winner, Marcus Tudgay found himself in space on the edge of the area. At first it appeared his chance had gone as a group of defenders swamped the front man but he jinked his way past to slot cooly beyond Guzan. 

The impressive Harding then made way for Kieron Freeman. 

Villa had a great chance to restore parity on 81 minutes, but Vlaar's failed with a header from Bannan's cross. 

Two minutes later an El Ahmadi 30-yarder briefly worried Camp before flying over. 

Forest's response was to cement their lead and it was McGugan, who had made a huge impact on The Reds' attacking play, who had the biggest hand in their third. Having drawn a foul from Stephen Warnock, he dispatched the resultant free-kick low, hard and beyond Guzan. 

Tudgay could have made it four but he headed just over from a Halford cross. 

One last attack from Villa, moulded predictably by Bannan, saw Bent fail to deny Camp at his near post. 

McGugan was then denied a hat-trick after good inter-play with Moussa. His shot lacked the pace to beat Guzan, however, and the game ended 3-1. 

Forest: Camp, Moloney (Lascelles 74'), Halford, Collins, Harding (Freeman 78'), Gillett (Moussi 65'), Guedioura (McGugan 60'), Reid (Greening 73'), Majewski (Moussa 65'), Blackstock (Tudgay 74'). Miller (McGoldrick 46').
Scorers: McGugan 71', 84', Tudgay 77' 

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Warnock, N'Zobgia, Bannan, El-Ahmadi, Holman, Ireland, Delfounso (Bent 46').
Scorer: Bannan 73' 

Referee: S. Atwell
Attendance: 12,442 (Away: 3,839)

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