Nottingham Forest suffered a 1-0 defeat at Burnley this evening.
Sam Vokes’ second-half strike sealed victory for the home side, who had been kept at bay by a resolute Forest defence until the 68th minute.
Clear-cut chances proved hard to come by for Forest, who must now prepare for Saturday’s visit of Bristol City.
Dougie Freedman named an unchanged line-up from the side he put out against Huddersfield last time out.
The first big chance of the game fell to Burnley when Joey Barton whipped the ball into the middle with a free-kick. His delivery picked out Andre Gray at the near post but the free-scoring forward could only nod the ball off-target.
Forest’s response came from David Vaughan, who struck the ball high and wide after it rolled out to him in space 25 yards out.
Gray is the Championship’s top scorer and he nearly added to his tally in unorthodox fashion on 20 minutes when the ball bounced behind him following a corner. He flicked his leg at it, backheeling it goalwards and forcing Dorus de Vries into a sharp save.
Jamie Ward, playing wide right, worked himself space for a shot shortly afterwards, twisting and turning 20 yards out before firing the ball straight at Tom Heaton.
Robert Tesche was the next Forest man to have a go, rattling the stanchion with a long-range strike, before Ward’s heavy touch following Vaughan’s incisive pass allowed Heaton just enough time to smother the danger six yards out.
As half-time approached Burnley upped their search for an opening goal. Just as one minute of added time was announced, David Jones struck a bouncing ball goalwards and de Vries had to parry it away.
The home side kept the move alive and worked the ball back to Jones, who tried his luck from range once again. The ball either took a deflection or swerved, forcing de Vries into an awkward save, and Gray could only fire the ball over on the rebound.
There were no changes for either side at the break and Forest frustrated their high-flying hosts before claiming the first chance of the second half. Jokic was played in down the left and he cut the ball back for Ward in the ‘D’. The winger took a touch but had to hurry with his shot as he was being quickly closed down, striking it well but sending it over.
But Forest’s defence was undone shortly afterwards when Stephen Ward made inroads down the left and cut the ball back for Vokes eight yards out. The striker made no mistake in stroking it past de Vries.
Burnley had chances to extend their lead through George Boyd and Gray, who both pulled the ball wide of the near post from dangerous positions in the Forest penalty area.
Freedman’s first change came on 74 minutes when he sent Dexter Blackstock on in place of Vaughan, before Chris Cohen and Jorge Grant replaced Tesche and Osborn shortly afterwards.
But Forest were struggling to trouble their hosts, with Ward’s wayward 85th-minute volley matching a similar earlier effort from Tesche by failing to cause any problems for Heaton.
Three minutes of added time were indicated at the end of the match but Forest were unable to score an equaliser as they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Turf Moor.
Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Mancienne, Mills (c), Jokic, Ward, Vaughan (Blackstock 74'), Tesche (Cohen 81'), Gardner, Osborn (Grant 81'), Oliveira
Subs not used: Evtimov, Wilson, Hobbs, O'Grady
Booking: Jokic 42'
: Heaton (c), Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Boyd, Jones, Barton, Arfield, Vokes, GrayBurnley
Subs not used: Robinson, Long, Kightly, Taylor, Darikwa, Ulvestad, Hennings
Goal: Vokes 68'
Referee: Andrew Madley
Attendance: 15,517 (882 away)