Two own goals consigned Nottingham Forest to a 2-1 defeat against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium this afternoon.
The Reds had taken a first-half lead through Hildeberto Pereira’s second goal of the season but Vladimir Stojkovic and Michael Mancienne both scored at the wrong end to leave Forest empty-handed at the end of the Boxing Day clash.
Philippe Montanier made four changes from the defeat to Wolves before Christmas as Pajtim Kasami, Jorge Grant, Mustapha Carayol and Apostolos Vellios were replaced by Pereira, David Vaughan, Jack Hobbs and Nicklas Bendtner.
Huddersfield saw the majority of the ball in the game’s opening stages and they had the first opportunity of the after. Rajiv La Parra cut inside from the left past Pereira, raced into the box but shot wide of the far post.
Forest had soaked up the pressure from the home side and took the lead with 25 minutes on the clock. Bendtner smashed the ball of a Huddersfield man and it fell kindly to Pereira 30 yards from goal.
The Portuguese youngster shrugged off the attentions off Michael Hefele and raced through on goal before he produced a fine finish to lift the ball over the onrushing Town goalkeeper Joel Coleman and put Forest in front.
Huddersfield almost found a response three minutes later but as the ball broke to Nahki Wells inside the penalty area, the former Bradford man was able to curl the ball around Stojkovic but also around the far post for a Forest goal-kick.
Despite seeing more of the ball, David Wagner’s side were struggling to create any clear-cut opportunities but they did have a golden one on 36 minutes.
Eric Lichaj’s pass was intercepted and Elias Kachunga was able to send a ball across the face of goal but no-one was there to turn it home as Matty Cash scrambled it behind for a corner.
There was a flashpoint on the touchline moments before half-time as Van La Parra put in a hard challenge on Matt Mills. The former Wolves winger was booked for the tackle while Lichaj also saw yellow for his part in the ensuing melee.
Hobbs was making his first appearance of the campaign and he was forced to put in a goal-saving challenge just before the break. A superb ball into the box from Kachunga found Aaron Mooy and he shot towards goal from six yards out but Hobbs came across with a diving challenge to deflect the ball behind for a corner.
The home side came out strongly in the second half and levelled in fortunate circumstances on 53 minutes. A corner came into the penalty area which Kasey Palmer headed towards goal and it found its way into the net via a combination of the post and Stojkovic with the goalkeeper getting the final touch.
Four minutes later and Huddersfield were ahead courtesy of another own goal. A right-wing cross came in from Van La Parra and as Mancienne attempted to clear the ball away, he diverted it past Stojkovic and into the far corner of the net.
Montanier threw on Britt Assombalonga in an attempt to find an equaliser and the striker came close on 73 minutes. Lichaj’s pass found Bendtner, he teed Assombalonga up on the edge of the box but the striker’s curling effort cleared the crossbar by a matter of inches.
The hosts could have sealed the victory with four minutes to play as substitute Jack Payne capitalised on a short back-pass but as he moved into the penalty area, his low shot was turned around the post by a diving stop from Stojkovic.
There was time for some late drama but not in the way Forest would have wanted. Mancienne, already on a yellow card, showed his frustration at a decision not being given in his favour and referee Christopher Kavanagh saw enough there to give the midfielder a second yellow and an early bath.
That was to be the last action of a disappointing afternoon for The Reds in Yorkshire as they fell to a third defeat in four matches.
Forest: Stojkovic, Hobbs, Mills (c), Worrall (Carayol 81’), Pereira (Assombalonga 63’), Mancienne, Vaughan, Cash, Lichaj, Osborn (Lam 78’), Bendtner
Subs not used: Henderson, Dumitru-Cardoso, Grant, Vellios
Goal: Pereira 25’
Bookings: Lichaj 45’, Mancienne 52’, 89’, Mills 83’, Lam 86’
Sent off: Mancienne 89’
Huddersfield: Coleman, Smith (c), Hogg, Kachunga, Mooy, Holmes-Dennis (Lowe 61’), Van La Parra (Cranie 88’), Wells, Schindler, Hefele, Palmer (Payne 61’)
Subs not used: Coddington, Billing, Bunn, Stankovic
Goals: Stojkovic (o.g. 53’), Mancienne (o.g. 57’)
Booking: Van La Parra 45’
Referee: Christopher Kavanagh
Attendance: 22,100 (1,541 away)