Forest 1-0 Bristol CityA moment of magic from Ben Osborn secured Nottingham Forest a vital three points as they defeated Bristol City 1-0 this afternoon.
The midfielder's superb free kick on 67 minutes was the only goal of the game as The Reds defended resolutely to keep City at bay and secure their first win since December.
Interim manager Gary Brazil made three changes to the side that earned a goalless draw at Birmingham last week, with Dani Pinillos, David Vaughan and Jamie Ward all coming into the side in place of Thomas Lam, Hildeberto Pereira and Lica.
It was a slow start to the game with both sides looking reluctant to commit too many players forward. Forest looked most likely to break the deadlock with Ward, who returned to the club on Friday after his loan at Burton was terminated, trying his luck from long-range and Britt Assombalonga flicked a header over the bar.
The first clear-cut chance fell the way of The Reds and only a stunning stop by debutant goalkeeper Fabian Giefer stopped Matty Cash from scoring as his deflected shot was somehow kept out by the German keeper on 41.
Bristol City failed to provide any threat going forward in the first half, but they came out of the blocks at the start of the second after the introduction of Josh Brownhill and Callum O'Dowda. The latter was involved straight away as his cross found former Red Jamie Paterson at the back post, but his cross-shot went harmlessly wide.
Assombalonga then tested Giefer after skipping between two City defenders but the keeper was equal to his close-range effort and Tammy Abraham had claims for a penalty waved away after a scramble in the Forest box.
Paterson almost found the break-through on 51 as his volley fizzed just past the post and Abraham was denied firstly by Stephen Henderson from a close-range shot and secondly by a superb block by Mancienne. Despite the pressure on the Forest goal, City couldn't find a way through and a moment of brilliance from Osborn on 67 proved decisive as he gave The Reds the lead.
Cash did well to win a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area and he teed the ball off from the set piece for Osborn, who flicked the ball up and volleyed over the wall and past a stranded Giefer.
Some superb defensive play from Forest kept The Robins at bay with some great catches from Henderson relieving a lot of pressure on the defence. City threw everything at The Reds, including goalkeeper Giefer as he was virtually used as an extra striker in injury time as he stayed forward for set pieces.
One nearly proved costly for Bristol City as Giefer was caught up field and substitute Nicklas Bendtner's effort from 40 yards agonisingly rolled the wrong side of the post, but it didn't matter as The Reds picked up a vital three points.
Forest: Henderson, Lichaj, Hobbs, Mills (c) (Bendtner 55'), Pinillos, Vaughan, Mancienne, Osborn, Cash, Ward, Assombalonga
Unused subs: Stojkovic, Fox, Pereira, Carayol, Worrall, Brereton
Goal: Osborn 67'
Bookings: Ward 85', Osborn 90'
Bristol City: Giefer, Wright, Flint, Magnusson, Little (O'Dowda 46'), Bryan, O'Neil (c) (Brownhill 46'), Hegeler, Paterson, Djuric (Tomlin 69'), Abraham
Unused subs: Fielding, Golbourne, Pack, Wilbraham
Bookings: Little 35', Hegeler 70'
Referee: Darren Bond
Attendance: 17,418 (981 away)