Nottingham Forest secured a 2-0 win over Rotherham United at The City Ground this evening thanks to a second-half brace from Britt Assombalonga.
The striker scored a penalty and tapped home from close range to seal a valuable three points for The Reds against a struggling Rotherham side.
Interim manager Gary Brazil made one change to the starting line-up that lost at Leeds last week, with Matty Cash dropping to the bench and Ben Brereton handed his first start for the club. New loan signing Aaron Tshibola began his Forest career with a place on the bench.
The early play was all in the Forest half as Rotherham pressured The Reds' defence on the ball. Jon Taylor stole the ball off Jack Hobbs on halfway and drove at goal after 11 minutes, but his shot was straight at Stephen Henderson. Taylor again tested Henderson on 14, but the Forest stopper was equal to it.
The Reds, playing a traditional 4-4-2 formation, struggled to get going as the tempo of the game was slow. Brereton looked lively up front and was making plenty of runs off the ball and he nearly provided Jamie Ward with a chance on 26 as the 17-year-old drove at goal and teed up Ward, but he stumbled over the ball just as he was about to shoot.
The breakthrough almost came through an own goal as a whipped cross from Dani Pinillos skipped off the turf in the Rotherham penalty area and onto the head of captain Richard Wood who steered the ball narrowly wide of his own post with keeper Richard O'Donnell beaten.
The Millers' keeper was called into action on 42 as a great strike from Jamie Ward was arrowing towards the far corner until O'Donnell leapt to tip it round his left-hand post.
Forest started a lot better at the start of the second half and within five minutes they were in front. Assombalonga was quickest to the loose ball in the penalty area and in doing so was taken out by two Rotherham defenders. The striker dusted himself down to step up and calmly send O'Donnell the wrong way to score his first goal since November.
They had the lead but The Reds had to be alert at the other end and they were reliant on goalkeeper Henderson to keep the scores level on 69. The ball landed at the feet of Rotherham's Danny Ward and his volley from 12 yards looked destined for the back of the net until Henderson flung himself to his right to somehow keep it out.
Two minutes later and Assombalonga scored his and Forest's second. Ben Osborn had acres of space in the middle of the park and he sprayed a pass out wide to Jamie Ward whose low cross was perfect for the arriving Assombalonga at the back post to turn home.
Brereton was replaced on 75 by Mustapha Carayol, with the young striker receiving a warm ovation for his performance which showed plenty of hard work and promise. Carayol looked lively himself, firing wide from an Eric Lichaj pull-back on 78 and going on a few mazy runs down the wing.
Forest saw the game out comfortably to seal back-to-back home wins under Gary Brazil, both of which brought clean sheets, and will be targeting a similar result for the visit of Aston Villa on Saturday.
Forest: Henderson, Lichaj (c), Fox, Hobbs, Pinillos, Ward (Cash 81'), Mancienne, Vaughan, Osborn, Brereton (Carayol 75'), Assombalonga (Vellios 87')
Subs: Stojkovic, Bendtner, Tshibola, Worrall
Goals: Assombalonga pen 50', 71'
Booking: Hobbs 90'
Rotherham: O'Donnell, Kelly, Ajayi, Wood (c), Mattock, Smallwood (Newell 75'), Forde (Blackstock 82'), Adeyemi (Yates 58'), Vaulks, Taylor, Ward
Subs: Bilboe, Allan, Bray, Warren
Bookings: Taylor 26', Smallwood 36', Vaulks 60', Mattock 83'
Referee: Simon Hooper
Attendance: 15,770 (Away 393)