Nottingham Forest secured a crucial 1-0 win at Millwall this afternoon.Greg Halford’s early header was enough to earn The Reds all three points in the capital.
The result means that Forest are within reach of a playoff place going into the final match of the season.
Billy Davies made two changes to the side which drew 0-0 with Barnsley last weekend. Dan Harding replaced Chris Cohen, who was left out of the squad completely, and Danny Collins stepped in for the injured Sam Hutchinson.
Forest didn’t take long to assert their authority. Andy Reid’s corner picked out Halford at the back post and the defender planted his header firmly beyond David Forde.
The Reds pressed on and the ‘keeper was tested again minutes later. Adlene Guedioura did well to keep the ball in midfield before playing it to Reid. The Irishman knocked it ahead of Radoslaw Majewski, whose low left-footed drive from distance was comfortably saved.
Shortly afterwards, Danny Collins, who reclaimed the armband for the match, made an excellent last-ditch tackle to halt Nathan Tyson in the area.
Forest went down the other end and went close again. Majewski’s corner was flicked on by Halford and Billy Sharp couldn’t quite get enough on his overhead kick to turn the ball over the line.
On 30 minutes, Cox raced into the Millwall half with two defenders for company. They managed to hold him up sufficiently and his shot from the edge of the area deflected off Karleigh Osborne and was collected by Forde.
The hosts then came back into it. Guedioura lost possession in the middle and James Henry smashed into the side-netting from the right-hand side of the box.
Karl Darlow was then called on to punch clear as Sean St Ledger stooped to meet a cross from the left.
The final action of note in the first-half saw Elliott Ward booked for a foul on Tyson, and it wasn’t until after the introduction of Lewis McGugan, who replaced Majewski on the hour mark, that the match came to life again.
Cox’s reverse pass was well controlled by Reid in the box. His goal-bound effort was blocked by a defender.
Harding was then the victim of a strong Alan Dunne challenge. The Lions’ captain was booked and McGugan struck the wall with the resultant free-kick.
And on 67 minutes the substitute led a break into Millwall territory. He slipped Sharp in down the left and the striker’s low cross deflected up off a defender and was headed just wide of his own post by Dunne.
Sharp then made way for Marcus Tudgay, and the substitute went agonisingly close to wrapping the game up with 12 minutes to go.
Reid played McGugan in down the left and his first-time cross was turned goalwards by Tudgay. The striker's effort was met by a superb reflex save from Forde.
The hosts then went close themselves. Mark Beevers’ header from a corner flashed across goal and substitute Andy Keogh couldn’t quite connect at the back post.
The Reds went down the other end and drew another save from Forde. Cox latched on to Lansbury’s clever pass and opened up the angle on the edge of the area before firing straight at the ‘keeper.
With two minutes of normal time remaining, Lansbury lobbed the ball over Dunne and sent an effort over the bar after watching the ball bounce onto the outside of his boot.
And with a minute to go, McGugan saw his shot deflect straight into Forde’s hands after he led a charge from inside his own half.
In the first of four additional minutes, Cox latched on to a long ball over the top and tried to lob Forde from 40 yards. His effort on the bounce didn’t quite have the legs and the ‘keeper claimed it at the second attempt.
In the dying seconds, Karl Darlow dived to his right to save from John Marquis and Forest saw the rest of the game out.
Forest: Darlow, Halford, Ward, Collins (c), Harding, Lansbury, Guedioura, Majewski (McGugan 60'), Reid (Moussi 86'), Cox, Sharp (Tudgay 71')
Subs not used: Al-Rashidi (GK), Greening, Blackstock, Ayala
Scorer: Halford 8'
Bookings: Ward 42', Cox 89'
Millwall: Forde, Dunne (c), Osborne, Beevers, A.Smith, Abdou, St Ledger, Saville (Feeney 79'), Henry, Batt (Marquis 62'), Tyson (Keogh 62')
Subs not used: M.Taylor, J.Smith, Wright, Easter
Booking: Dunne 64'
Referee: Kevin Wright
Attendance: 12,330 (Away: 2,041)