Forest 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday
Nottingham Forest were beaten 2-0 by Sheffield Wednesday at The City Ground this afternoon.
Wednesday took the lead thanks to a scrappy Kieran Lee goal on the stroke of half-time.
Chris Maguire doubled the Owls’ advantage after the interval with an excellent finish and Forest, who saw Britt Assombalonga taken off with an injury, couldn’t work a way back into the match.
Stuart Pearce made three changes to the starting line-up that faced Rochdale last weekend. New loan signing Todd Kane was handed a start at right back while Jamaal Lascelles partnered Jack Hobbs in central defence. Eric Lichaj started at left back with Danny Fox absent altogether.
Ben Osborn was also brought into a three-man midfield, alongside Robert Tesche and David Vaughan.
Dorus de Vries kept his place in goal to claim his first league start of the season.
Gary Gardner, who completed his loan move from Aston Villa this morning, was named on a bench which also included Karl Darlow, Lars Veldwijk, Louis Laing, Jamie Paterson, Stephen McLaughlin and Oliver Burke.
The first shot at goal came courtesy of Wednesday’s Jaques Maghoma, who picked the ball up in space and carried into Forest’s area before being held up. With options to his left he instead opted to shoot, curling the ball beyond the far post with de Vries unconcerned.
And Maghoma threatened again two minutes later, picking up the ball in Forest’s final third and skipping his way into the area. Lascelles did brilliantly to gain enough ground on him to perfectly execute a last-ditch tackle.
The Owls were enjoying the early ascendancy and had another sight at goal on 12 minutes. Chris Maguire twisted and turned down the left before a Forest defender halted his progress. The ball rolled out to Jose Semedo who fired it wide from the edge of the area.
Forest responded with a shot of their own three minutes later. Ben Osborn lofted the ball into the area with a free-kick near the centre circle and it eventually dropped for Burke on the volley. He displayed excellent technique to strike the ball sweetly but he could only direct it high and wide of Keiren Westwood’s goal.
The game was opening up, with Wednesday having an opportunity of their own on 17 minutes when Lee crossed the ball into the middle of Forest’s area. Maghoma was the man on the end of it but his header took a deflection and the ball flew wide of the post.
Assombalonga had waited patiently for a sight of goal and got one on 21 minutes. Tesche threaded the ball through neatly for the striker, who shifted it on to his left foot to buy himself a shooting angle in the area. A Wednesday defender did well to block his effort.
Former Owl Michail Antonio then set about contributing to the downfall of his old club, controlling a long ball into the left-hand channel brilliantly on his chest. He crossed it for Assombalonga in the middle and, despite the fact his header appeared to take a deflection off Assombalonga’s marker, referee Andy D’Urso awarded a goal kick.
The Reds were enjoying a good spell and new-boy Kane almost proved the catalyst for the opening goal. After making an excellent tackle in his own area, he played a brilliant raking ball from right back to left wing. Assombalonga controlled it, bringing the ball back inside with his first touch but slipping in the process.
It rolled to Osborn whose shot was diverted wide by a Wednesday defender. The resultant corner saw the ball bounce tantalisingly at the back post where Tesche was first on the scene. He couldn’t control his strike however, sending the ball off-target.
He did better with his effort on 31 minutes, however, emerging from a scramble in the area following another Forest corner to strike the ball at goal. Westwood made a fantastic point-blank save.
And Tesche must have been questioning whether it was going to be his day when, on the stroke of half-time, he made a terrific goal-line block only for the Owls to open the scoring on the rebound.
Stevie May raced away from Vaughan down the right before holding the ball up in the area as he waited for options. He crossed it for Atdhe Nuhiu, whose header was blocked by Tesche. But Lee was able to bundle the ball home amid the ensuing chaos.
Chris Burke was replaced by Gary Gardner at the interval, but there was nothing the debutant could do to prevent Wednesday doubling their lead within four minutes of the restart.
A cross from the left saw the ball drop for Maguire in the area, who showed brilliant composure to work space for a shot on his left before firing it crisply into the bottom corner.
It could have been 3-0 shortly afterwards as goalscorer Lee tried to turn provider. He lobbed the ball over the top for May who raced through on de Vries. The Dutch keeper stayed tall to make a strong save, palming the ball straight out to Maguire on the edge of the area. He controlled his shot brilliantly but a Reds defender managed to divert the ball just wide.
The resultant corner caused chaos, Nuhiu seeing a goalbound header blocked before he poked the ball just wide of the post on the follow-up.
Forest needed a speedy retort and almost had one on 57 minutes when Osborn’s lofted free-kick found Antonio in the area. He flicked the ball goalwards but Westwood dived to his right to punch it away.
But it was Wednesday who looked the more likely team to score next, with Maghoma a continuous threat. He played a brilliant one-two with May on the edge of Forest’s area before running into Lichaj. The American couldn’t halt the ball’s progress, however, and it ran free for Maghoma once more. He lashed it at goal from eight yards but Lascelles did brilliantly to get across to deny what looked like a certain goal.
The Owls kept up their pressure, Claude Dielna crossing brilliantly for Nuhiu at the back post. The big striker produced an excellent volley, fizzing the ball just wide.
Forest were in desperate need of a break but referee D’Urso was unsympathetic when Assombalonga clashed with Dielna in the area. It looked like a good shout for a penalty but the official was unmoved.
Assombalonga was forced off the field with injury as a result of the challenge, being replaced by Veldwijk, while in the same stoppage Kane was substituted for Paterson. Despite the changes Forest were still struggling to create opportunities. They had to wait until the 84th minute for their next real attempt at goal, and it came courtesy of good footwork by Osborn. He beat his man and rolled the ball dangerously across the face of goal. Veldwijk could only bundle the ball wide at the back post.
Four minutes of added time were indicated at the end of the match, and Paterson nearly pulled a goal back when he brilliantly danced past a huddle of defenders in the area before producing an excellent save from Westwood.
But the Owls nearly added a third on the break, substitute Caolan Lavery sliding the ball across the face of goal, causing a scramble on the line. The ball looped up and over de Vries’ bar - a frantic end to a disappointing day for Pearce’s men.
Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Lascelles, Hobbs, Kane (Paterson 68'), C.Burke (Gardner 46'), Osborn, Tesche, Vaughan, Antonio, Assombalonga (Veldwijk 68')
Subs not used: Darlow, Laing, McLaughlin, O.Burke
Booking: Vaughan 89'
Westwood, Palmer, Lees, Loovens, Dielna, Maguire (:Sheffield WednesdayLavery 84'), Lee, Semedo, Maghoma (Baker 81'), May (Helan 72'), Nuhiu
Subs: Kirkland, Mattock, Hutchinson, De Havilland
Goals: Lee 45', Maguire 50'
Referee: Andy D'Urso
Attendance: 22,209 (1,974 away)
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