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Match Reports

Aston Villa 2-1 Forest

23 September 2017

Daryl Murphy’s goal wasn’t enough as Nottingham Forest lost out 2-1 to Aston Villa at Villa Park.

The Reds fell behind in the first half to Albert Adomah's goal but showed character to get themselves back into the game through Murphy's composed finish just after the restart.

But Conor Hourihane's free kick on the hour mark proved decisive as Forest left the West Midlands without any points.

Mark Warburton made eight changes from the side that was defeated by Chelsea in midweek in the Carabao Cup third round. Kieran Dowell, Andreas Bouchalakis and Joe Worrall retained their place in the starting line-up with defender Matt Mills coming back into the side as captain.

Forest dominated the opening quarter-of-an-hour before falling behind to Adomah's goal on 15 minutes. The Reds had enjoyed the majority of the ball from the start but that changed when Jonathan Kodjia's defence-splitting pass played in the Ghanaian. He rounded the onrushing Jordan Smith and rolled the ball into an empty net to put the home side in front.

Despite going behind, the visitors continued to dominate possession without creating any clear-cut chances. Villa on the other hand were seeing little of the ball but still posing a threat when they did. Conor Hourihane tried his luck on 38 minutes with a shot from outside the area but Smith got down well to keep it at bay.

The second half began in similar fashion with The Reds controlling the ball. However, this time they made it count through Murphy on 53. The Irish international powered his way through the Villa back line and calmly slotted the ball past Sam Johnstone to draw level early in the second half.

The visitors had the momentum and nearly went ahead minutes later as first Dowell saw his close range effort rebound off the post and then Murphy again went close with a header which was gathered by Johnstone.

The home side hadn't seen much of the ball in the second half but took the first opportunity that came to them. Hourihane's free kick from outside the area bent around the wall towards the bottom corner and beat Smith, who got a hand to it, to restore Villa's lead.

It was a blow for Forest who had been largely dominant since the restart. In response, Mark Warburton made a couple of changes, bringing on Mustapha Carayol and Ben Osborn as they went in search of a second equaliser.

Dowell and Carayol were causing the home side problems, both getting in behind the Villa defence, however on both occasions they lacked composure when it mattered.

Time was running out for The Reds and when Dowell saw his free kick clawed away by Johnstone with five minutes to go, all three points looked to be heading to the home side.

Despite a much improved second half in which The Reds controlled long periods of play, they were unable to come from behind again as Villa ran out 2-1 winners.

Forest: Smith, Darikwa, Mills (c), Worrall, Traore, Bridcutt, Bouchalakis (Osborn 66'), Brereton (Clough 74'), Dowell, McKay (Carayol 62'), Murphy

Unused subs: Henderson, Lichaj, Mancienne, Cummings

Goal: Murphy 53'

Bookings: Bridcutt 42', Brereton 59', Mills 89'

Aston Villa: Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester, Terry (c), Taylor, Snodgrass (Hutton 87'), Whelan, Hourihane, Adomah, Davis (Onomah 72'), Kodjia (Hogan 79')

Unused subs: Steer, Samba, Bjarnason, O'Hare

Goals: Adomah 15', Hourihane 60'

Booking: Taylor 90'

Referee: Tim Robinson

Attendance: 28,554

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