A first-half brace from Britt Assombalonga earned Nottingham Forest a 2-0 victory over Ipswich Town at Portman Road this evening.
The Forest striker scored at the beginning and the end of the first half to ensure The Reds would leave Suffolk with their first away win and first clean sheet of the season following a professional away performance.
Philippe Montanier made two changes to the side that had drawn with QPR before the international break as Daniel Pinillos and Thomas Lam came into the side for the suspended Hildeberto Pereira and the injured Chris Cohen. It was Pinillos's first appearance in 11 months after recovering from a knee injury.
Assombalonga had found the net in the previous game against Queens Park Rangers and it took him 20 seconds to get on the scoresheet at Portman Road. Ben Osborn's superbly-weighted pass put Assombalonga in behind the Ipswich back four and he produced a low finish to beat Bartosz Bialkowski from inside the penalty area.
Forest were firmly in the ascendancy in the early stages and Bialkowski had to be alert on two occasions to prevent The Reds from doubling their lead. First Assombalonga's free-kick from 25 yards was straight at the Ipswich goalkeeper before he got down well to his left to turn a shot from Pajtim Kasami behind for a corner.
Ipswich midfielder Tom Lawrence struck a powerful free-kick just wide of the post before Forest were inches away from going two goals ahead. Eric Lichaj's right-wing cross took a wicked deflection and looped into the air but Bialkowski was there to grab the ball before Assombalonga could nod it into the net.
The home side created their best chance of the night so far on the half-hour mark as David McGoldrick was denied by a superb save from Vladimir Stojkovic. The Forest goalkeeper produced a finger-tip stop to push McGoldrick's shot around the post after he had danced into the penalty area.
In first-half stoppage time Forest did find the second goal their play had deserved as Assombalonga doubled the advantage. The Ipswich back four hesitated and allowed Matt Mills to flick the ball on and Assombalonga was on hand to head it past a stricken Bialkowski to send Forest into the break with a two-goal lead.
Forest had to weather an Ipswich storm early in the second half but they did so successfully and soon could have been three goals in front. Henri Lansbury tested Bialkowski from inside the penalty area but the Ipswich goalkeeper got down to hold on to the ball.
Montanier then made two changes as the visibly-tiring Assombalonga and Pinillos were replaced by Apostolos Vellios and Michael Mancienne respectively as Forest sought to keep their two-goal advantage.
Forest should have made it 3-0 on 63 minutes as Kasami came inches away from putting the result beyond doubt. The ball fell kindly to the Swiss midfielder inside the Ipswich penalty area but his rifled effort cannoned off the post and behind for a goal-kick.
Vladimir Stojkovic had performed well all evening and he was called upon to deny substitute Luke Varney on 74 minutes. The striker glanced a header from a free-kick towards the far corner but Stojkovic got across to hold the ball almost on the goal-line.
The Reds had to withstand some late pressure from the home side as Jorge Grant replaced Thomas Lam with five minutes to play but Montanier's men held firm to clinch their first away win and clean sheet of the campaign.
Forest: Stojkovic; Mills, Perquis, Worrall; Lichaj, Kasami, Lansbury (c), Lam (Grant 85'), Pinillos (Mancienne 63'); Osborn; Assombalonga (Vellios 56')
Subs not used: Henderson, Dumitru-Cardoso, Carayol, Lica
Goals: Assombalonga 1', 45'
Bookings: Vellios 57', Lansbury 69'
: IpswichBialkowski, Emmanuel (Varney 70'), Chambers (c), Berra, Knudsen, Skuse, Bishop (Williams 46'), Ward (Bru 46'), Lawrence, Sears, McGoldrick
Subs not used: Gerken, Kenlock, Douglas, Dozzell
Booking: McGoldrick 44'
Referee: Peter Bankes
Attendance: 15,417 (523 away)