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Match Reports

Forest v Ipswich

7 May 2017

Forest 3-0 Ipswich

Nottingham Forest secured their place in the Sky Bet Championship as a Britt Assombalonga brace inspired The Reds to a 3-0 win over Ipswich Town.

The striker struck from the spot before half time and then added to his tally with 20 minutes to go and, with a Chris Cohen strike sandwiched in between, it meant Forest avoided relegation to the third tier in front of a packed City Ground.

Mark Warburton made two changes to the side which lost at Queens Park Rangers last weekend as Ben Brereton and Dani Pinillos dropped out of the side to be replaced by Jamie Ward and Matt Mills.

The Reds, wearing the new home kit for the 2017-18 season, started brightly and forced an early corner after good work from Ward and Assombalonga. Ipswich struggled to clear the corner and it eventually fell to Ward at the back post who curled an effort narrowly wide of the far corner. 

The visitors responded well and Grant Ward had their first effort of the game after eight minutes. The midfielder drove forward and hit a rasping drive which Jordan Smith did well to parry away. 

The game settled down as both sides attempted to take control of the match. Large spells of possession swapped between the sides with little cutting edge, then after the half-hour mark The Reds sprung back into life. 

Assombalonga showed great strength to hold the ball up on the right channel. He played a one-two with Ward to get him to the byline and he drilled an effort across goal but Bartosz Bialkowski did well to gather at the near post. 

Eric Lichaj should have put Forest in front on 34 minutes as he arrived into the box to meet Jamie Ward's cross, but could only prod over the bar on the half-volley from six-yards out. 

Ipswich hit back though and would have taken the lead were it not for a stunning stop by Smith on 37. After Grant Ward's initial shot was blocked, the ball fell kindly to Dominic Samuel in space 12 yards out from goal. The striker's shot at goal deflected, forcing Smith to change direction quickly and his fingertips were enough to tip the shot onto the crossbar.

After that save, The Reds started to build some momentum and a barnstorming run from Lichaj through the centre of the pitch should have produced a chance, but his indecisiveness saw him crowded out on the edge of the area and at the next opportunity Forest found the breakthrough. 

A quick throw-in on the right got Jamie Ward in on goal, he beat Bialkowski to the ball and lifted it over him while the Ipswich stopper took out the Forest man and referee Andy Davies pointed to the spot. Assombalonga stepped up confidently and blasted the ball into the top corner of the net.

That goal on the stroke of half time gave The Reds a big lift and they came out for the second half with all guns blazing. Assombalonga did well to control the ball on 49 inside the area but couldn't get the ball from out under his feet to get a shot away, before Jamie Ward lashed an effort over a minute later. 

Forest didn't have to wait long for the crucial second goal as it arrived from the left boot of captain Cohen. On his 300th appearance in the Garibaldi, the midfielder found space 25 yards from goal and let fly, with his shot going into the top corner of the net, via a deflection, with Bialkowski beaten. 

The Reds looked in confident mood and they had another chance to add to the tally from the penalty spot as Ward was brought down again on 66. The winger was found in plenty of space on the right by Assombalonga and as he charged into the area, Ipswich substitute Josh Emmanuel brought him down. Assombalonga didn't get the better of Bialkowski this time though, with the Polish stopper diving to his right to superbly save Britt's powerful effort and tip it over the bar. 

But Forest's number nine only had to wait two minutes to make amends as he made it 3-0. He picked the ball up on the left and drove into the area, pulled off a couple of step-overs to beat his man then fired a ferocious effort into the roof of the net which gave Bialkowski no chance. 

Assombalonga was desperate for his hat-trick and was denied by Bialkowski on 73 as the forward's sweetly-hit volley at the back post was well stopped by the keeper, then he shot over on 81 and substitute Zach Clough also fired into the Trent End as The Reds saw the game out.

With results elsewhere and Forest's own good performance, it meant that The Reds secured their Championship status at the expense of Blackburn Rovers as they head into the summer on the back of three points and knowing they will be in the second tier next season.

Forest: Smith, Lichaj, Worrall, Mancienne, Mills, Osborn, Vaughan, Cohen (c) (Cash 85'), Carayol (Clough 14'), Assombalonga, Ward (Brereton 78')

Unused subs: Evtimov, Tshibola, Lam, Vellios

Goals: Assombalonga pen 43', 69', Cohen 57'

Ipswich: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Berra (Webster 81'), Kenlock (Emmanuel 46'), Ward, Skuse, Huws, Rowe, Samuel, Sears (Moore 67')

Unused subs: Gerken, Dozzell, Downes, Pitman

Booking: Emmanuel 66'

Attendance: 28,249 (Away 1,477)

Referee: Andy Davies

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