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Match Reports

Forest 2-1 Middlesbrough

19 August 2017

Goals from Barrie McKay and Daryl Murphy earned Nottingham Forest a 2-1 win against Middlesbrough in an entertaining game at The City Ground.

McKay and Murphy, from the penalty spot, struck either side of half time before Ben Gibson set up a nervy ending with his late goal but Forest held out for the three points.

Mark Warburton made one change from the side that lost out to Barnsley on Tuesday night, with Armand Traore coming into the side in place of Michael Mancienne and Matt Mills taking on the captain's duties.

Forest started on the front foot and the first chance fell onto the head of Joe Worrall. The centre back, still in search of his first Reds goal, rose highest following a cross from Ben Osborn but saw his effort saved by Darren Randolph in the Boro goal.

The visitors had a sniff of goal on six minutes as Tendayi Darikwa's pass was closed down, with the ball falling into the path of Jonny Howson in front of the Forest goal. But Jordan Smith was quick off his line to smother at the feet of the former Norwich man and keep the scores level.

On 16 minutes though Forest broke the deadlock with a well-worked goal from McKay. Kieran Dowell turned well in the middle of the park and played a sublime ball through which McKay latched onto. The Scotsman then calmly rounded the onrushing Randolph and slotted into the back of the net.

The Reds looked good value for their lead and were confident in possession, moving the ball around well particularly in the final third. Bouchalakis fired narrowly over the bar on 21 and then Daryl Murphy was denied by a stunning last-ditch tackle by Dael Fry on 38.

As the first half came to a close, the visitors came into the game more and Britt Assombalonga had his first sight of goal on 43. A ball was played over the top of the Forest defence and the forward raced through on goal only to scuff his effort wide, then two minutes later Smith tipped Patrick Bamford's placed effort wide of the post.

The introduction of Adama Traore added plenty of pace into the Boro attack and he caused problems straight away, racing through on goal on 47 only to be denied by a brilliant tackle by Joe Worrall.

Two chances inside a minute then fell to former Forest striker Assombalonga as he latched onto two flick-ons by Rudy Gestede. Firstly, the forward was denied by a smart save by Smith at the striker's feet and secondly in a similar position he slashed his effort horribly wide.

It was an entertaining game and Forest doubled their lead from the penalty spot on 79 minutes. Dowell chipped a ball into the box for sub Ben Brereton but he was bundled over by Gibson in the area and Murphy stepped up confidently to fire into the bottom corner past the dive of Randolph.

Boro hit back straight away though as Dael Fry kept a corner alive at the back post by heading it back into the penalty area and captain Gibson was on hand to lash into the roof of the net despite the best efforts of Tendayi Darikwa on the line on 83.

The visitors pushed forward and launched balls into the box, with Gestede going close with a headed effort before Assombalonga had an effort ruled out for offside as he tapped home at the back post.

The Reds were able to hold out though for a well-deserved three points against a strong Middlesbrough side.

Forest: Smith, Darikwa, Mills (c), Worrall, Traore (Lichaj 77'), Vaughan (Brereton 37'), Bouchalakis, Osborn, McKay (Mancienne 65'), Dowell, Murphy

Unused subs: Evtimov, Clough, Carayol, Cummings

Goals: McKay 16', Murphy pen 79'

Bookings: Darikwa 15', Traore 18'

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Christie, Fry, Gibson (c), Friend, Clayton (Fletcher 77'), Howson, Forshaw (Traore 46'), Bamford (Baker 62'), Gestede, Assombalonga

Unused subs: Konstantopoulos, Fabio, Leadbitter, Roberts

Goal: Gibson 83'

Bookings: Clayton 39', Fry 63', Assombalonga 76', Gibson 89'

Attendance: 26,265 (Away 1,982)

Referee: Graham Scott

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