Nottingham Forest got their pre-season off to a flying start with a 2-1 win over Hibernian at The VRSA Stadium in Portugal.Forest 1st Half:
Hibs nearly got a late leveler after Paul Cairney tricked his way to the byline. His low cross couldn’t find a team mate, however, and the match ended 2-1 to Forest.
Guedioura was the next Red to have a go – his low free-kick from 30 yards went a foot wide.
Miller was then replaced by McLaughlin – on for his second spell in the match – as the goalscorer appeared to limp off with an injury.
Paterson then commenced a strong run towards goal but couldn’t dig a shot out at the vital moment.
Forest wasted no time in purusing a third. Derbyshire twisted and turned brilliantly down the right and sent a low effort across goal and inches wide.
The scores didn’t remain level for long, however, as Miller latched on to a perfectly-angled pass from Matt Derbyshire to restore The Reds’ lead. His finish looped up off the goalkeeper and bounced into the net.
Owain Tudor-Jones sprung the offside trap and dinked a cool finish over Darlow at close proximity.
Forest were dominating the match with some neat passing play – it therefore came as a surprise when Hibs restored parity mid-way through the half.
Shortly afterwards, Evtimov was replaced by Karl Darlow.
The Reds continued to press and Henderson was unlucky to see a shot blocked after he displayed quick feet in the area.
Paterson’s direct run presented Derbyshire with the opportunity to cut in from the right and strike the base of Hibs’ post, before the former Blackburn forward saw his shot from Guedioura’s cross go wide for a corner.
Forest regained their stride near the hour and went close three times in quick succession after a good spell of pressure on the Scots’ defence.
Ten minutes into the second half, Craig raced towards Forest’s goal and sent an effort sailing over Evtimov’s crossbar.
Changes abounded at the break – Chris Cohen for Dan Harding, Greg Halford for Danny Collins, Jonathan Greening for Lichaj, Radoslaw Majewski for Henri Lansbury, Adlene Guedioura for Guy Moussi, Jamie Paterson for Cox, Matt Derbyshire for Marcus Tudgay, Ishmael Miller for Stephen McLaughlin and Darius Henderson for Blackstock.
Ryan McGivern sent a 35-yarder just wide of Evtimov’s post and Danny Handling saw his header bounce off Jamaal Lascelles and wide of goal, but they couldn’t conjour up anything clear-cut before the interval.
Hibs, three matches into their pre-season campaign, stepped up their chase for an equaliser but were finding chances hard to come by against an organised and hard-working Forest outfit.
Forest’s response was to win a penalty – Blackstock was tripped by Lewis Stevenson as he raced on to Simon Cox’s pass. The striker dusted himself down and smashed his 26th-minute spot kick high and hard to Ben Williams’ left.
After a quiet start to the match, Dimitar Evtimov had to be alert to make a good save down to his left after a low cross found its way to Liam Craig in the area.
Eric Lichaj and Jamie Paterson were both given their first Forest run-outs in a promising opening to The Reds’ pre-season schedule.
Owain Tudor-Jones had cancelled-out Dexter Blackstock’s first-half penalty, but Ishmael Miller wrapped up the win midway through the second half. Evtimov, Harding, Collins, Lascelles, Lichaj, Moussi, Lansbury, Cox, McLaughlin, Tudgay, Blackstock
Forest 2nd Half: Evtimov (Darlow), Cohen, Lascelles, Halford, Greening, Guedioura, Majewski, Paterson, Derbyshire, Miller (McLaughlin), Henderson
Scorers: Blackstock (pen) 26', Miller 70'
Hibernian: McPake, Stevenson, Handling, Caldwell, Williams, McGivern, Taiwo, Tudor Jones, Hanlon, Craig, Harris
Subs: Mullen, Stanton, Forster, Gold, Horribine, Donaldson, Cairney, Murdoch
Scorer: Tudor Jones 68'
Referee: Sergio Piscarreta