Nottingham Forest fell to a crushing 5-1 defeat at the hands of Norwich City at Carrow Road in the Sky Bet Championship this afternoon.
A blistering start from the home side saw them race into a 3-0 lead with stunning goals by Jonny Howson and Wes Hoolahan sandwiching a Josh Murphy strike. Alex Pritchard added a second half brace to compound a disappointing afternoon for The Reds who also had captain Eric Lichaj sent off and goalkeeper Stephen Henderson stretchered off injured.
One positive for Forest was a debut goal for Ross McCormack who came off the bench to score his first goal in the Garibaldi.
After being named as first-team manager until the end of the season, Gary Brazil made two changes to the side that beat Aston Villa. Aaron Tshibola made his debut following his move from Villa Park by taking Matty Cash’s place while Jack Hobbs came into the team to replace Michael Mancienne. There was also a spot on the bench for loan striker McCormack after his deadline-day arrival at The City Ground.
The home side showed early signs of threat from the right through Josh Murphy in particular and it took just 10 minutes for The Canaries to find a breakthrough.
After a corner from the right was headed clear by David Vaughan the ball fell to Howson who smashed home a volley from just outside the penalty box. It was a stunning strike from the midfielder leaving Forest keeper Stephen Henderson with no chance.
Six minutes later Norwich doubled their lead through Murphy. Hoolahan found Murphy down the right who neatly slid the ball past Henderson from a tight angle.
The home side were now high on confidence and increased their lead to three two minutes later after another wonderful strike, this time from Hoolahan. The Irish international saw Henderson off his line and fired a 30 yard half-volley over the top of the Forest keeper into the goal.
Henderson fell awkwardly while trying to save Hoolahan's effort and appeared to pick up a serious injury and was replaced by Jordan Smith who makes his debut for The Reds.
Despite being three down, Forest continued to keep the ball well for the remainder of the half without creating any real clear-cut chances but it was Norwich’s Pritchard who came closest on the half hour mark when his right footed effort from the edge of the area when just wide of Smith’s left hand post.
The visitors started the second half positively and it was Zach Clough who had The reds first real effort on goal after Eric Lichaj pulled the ball back to the former Bolton man who failed to keep his shot down.
However on the hour mark Norwich made sure of the victory when Pritchard scored the home side's fourth of the match. His right footed effort from the edge of the area beat Smith at his near post after he ran at The Reds' defence.
Further misery came for Forest in the 70th minute when captain Eric Lichaj was shown a red card after receiving his second yellow of the match for bringing down Hoolahan on the edge of the box.
There was some consolation for the visitors when McCormack scored his first goal for the club after coming on as a substitute for Jamie Ward. Fellow January signing Clough slipped the ball through to the Scottish international who cleverly chipped the ball over an on-rushing John Ruddy into the Norwich goal.
The joy was short lived for the travelling fans when Pritchard smashed home his second and the Canneries fifth in the 89th minute. It was yet again a stunning strike from the midfielder who had caused Forest problems all afternoon.
It was a bad day at the office for Gary Brazil's side who will be aiming to get back on track when they visit Fulham on Tuesday night.
Forest: Henderson (Smith 23'), Lichaj (c), Hobbs, Fox, Pinillos, Vaughan, Tshibola, Ward (McCormack 56'), Osborn, Clough, Assombalonga (Lam 71')
Subs: Carayol, Cash, Worrall, Brereton
Goal: McCormack 75'
Bookings: Lichaj 45', 71' Hobbs 50', Tshibola 57'
Red card: Lichaj 71'
Norwich: Ruddy, Pinto (Whittaker 58'), Martin (c), Klose, Dijks (Bennett 68'), Mulumbu, Howson, Jo. Murphy, Pritchard, Hoolahan (Wildschut 73'), Oliveira
Subs: McGovern, Jerome, Ja. Murphy, Godfrey
Goals: Howson 10', Murphy 16', Hoolahan 18', Pritchard 61', 89'
Referee: Scott Duncan
Attendance: 26,831 (1,517 away)