Nottingham Forest secured their spot in the Capital One Cup third-round draw with a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town.
Stuart Pearce’s side took the lead through an unexpected source when Terriers’ striker James Vaughan headed past his own keeper in the second half, and Henri Lansbury wrapped up proceedings with a fine finish ten minutes from time on his return from injury.
Pearce made seven changes to the side that had beaten Reading 4-0 at The City Ground on Saturday, most notably Lansbury and Jamaal Lascelles coming in to make their long-awaited returns from injury, whilst Robert Tesche made his debut in central midfield. Michael Mancienne skippered the side in the absence of Chris Cohen.
The home side had the first clear chance of the tie after just three minutes. Harry Bunn burst tenaciously down the right hand side and managed to wriggle beyond Mancienne, although his shot from the byline troubled the side, rather than the back of the net.
On five minutes the returning Lansbury got on the ball 40 yards out, drove forwards and, with space opening up in front of him, had a dig at goal. It hit Joel Lynch and bounced straight back to the number ten, but his follow up effort hit the side netting, just as Bunn’s had done previously.
The home side edged close to the opener on the ten minute mark. Jon Stead, from the edge of the box, curled a low shot to the left of Darlow but it hit the foot of the post and bounced clear. A minute later Adam Hamill tried his luck from further out, his effort sailing over the top of the Forest net, but Huddersfield looked dangerous in the opening stages.
It was an entertaining start and on the 20 minute mark Forest broke for the first time in the game with real speed. Lars Veldwijk won a header in the middle of the park and burst forward after laying the ball off at the feet of Lansbury. The midfielder fed the Dutchman who was just beaten to the through-ball by keeper Joe Murphy, but from the same move the lively Jamie Paterson made it to the byline and forced Murphy into further action, when he had to punch away a vicious cross.
But just three minutes later The Reds nearly did beat Murphy. From their first corner Michail Antonio headed powerfully towards The Terriers’ net and just Murray Wallace clearing on the line denied the winger his third goal in two games.
Darlow had to be on his toes just after the half hour mark when a deflected Adam Hamill cross very nearly dropped under his bar, but it was Forest who generally continued to probe. A deep cross from Hunt again found Antonio at the back post, where he’s been such a danger all season, but the winger couldn’t convert this time.
Just before half-time it was Veldwijk’s turn to try and convert a cross. He took a ball down from Lansbury with his back to goal and managed to turn and get a shot away that slid just wide of the left hand post.
That marked the end of the half and it had been an entertaining one. The home side looked a little more dangerous at times, pouring forward in numbers, but The Reds’ patient possession game, conducted by Tesche and Ben Osborn in central midfield, had impressed and Veldwijk and Antonio both had good chances to open the deadlock.
But the left winger was replaced by Chris Burke at half-time after clearly signalling to the bench just before the break that he was struggling with a knock.
Just two minutes into the second period it was Veldwijk again who had The Reds’ travelling supporters on the edge of their seats as he broke into the box and hit a shot from a narrow angle that just slipped past the far post.
Then Adam Hamill, who had been The Terriers’ most dangerous player in the opening 45 minutes, hit a low shot that tested Darlow on 50 minutes.
Chris Burke had come onto the right hand side, meaning Paterson had switched to the left flank, and he sent in a dangerous deep cross five minutes later to where Veldwijk was lurking, but Huddersfield cleared, before they went up the other end and nearly scored through Jon Stead.
Forest had started the second half slowly and the noise inside the John Smith’s Stadium had picked up a few notches as Huddersfield continued to push for an opener. Stuart Pearce responded by bringing on Britt Assombalonga for Veldwijk on the 66 minute mark and the change had the desired effect.
In bizarre circumstances, Forest took the lead. A corner, won by Eric Lichaj, was cleared by the home side to Ben Osborn who played it wide to Jamie Paterson. The winger’s flat cross was met by the head of James Vaughan who, under no challenge, inexplicably heading it into his own net in front of the travelling supporters.
Matty Fryatt replaced Paterson in the 79th minute and three minutes later The Reds put the game beyond doubt. A patient move built down the left hand side through the substitute Fryatt saw Osborn feed Lansbury in the middle and after a quick one two with Assombalonga he fired a neat effort home from the edge of the box.
Huddersfield went straight down the other end and nearly got one back, Hammill finding Vaughan at the back post, but he couldn’t keep his header down, and in truth, since falling behind that was the only chance The Terriers had created.
And if any team was going to add to the scoreline, it only looked like being Forest. Osborn and Assombalonga could both have put further gloss on the result, but it stayed at 2-0 and Stuart Pearce’s side go marching into the next round.
Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Mancienne, Lascelles, Hunt, Antonio (Burke 46'), Tesche, Osborn, Paterson, Lansbury, Veldwijk (Assombalonga 66')
Subs: Durrant, Harding, Fryatt, Fox, McLaughlin
Goals: Vaughan (OG) 72', Lansbury 82'
Huddersfield: Murphy, Dixon, Lynch, Wallace, Smith (Holmes 73'), Ward, Butterfield, Coady, Hammill, Stead (Scannell 78'), Bunn (Vaughan 61')
Subs: Smithies, Sinnott, Crooks, Billing
Booking: Lynch 70'
Referee: Mark Brown
Attendance: 6,509 (1,554 away)