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Match Reports

Forest 2-1 Birmingham

3 March 2018

Nottingham Forest overcame Birmingham City thank to goals from Joe Lolley and Matty Cash at The City Ground this afternoon.

Michael Morrison pulled one back for the visitors to give them hope but The Reds held on for their first home win under Aitor Karanka.

The manager named an unchanged side to the one which defeated QPR emphatically last weekend, and Forest carried on from where they left off at Loftus Road.

The Reds started the game well, moving the ball about confidently and went in front early on through Lolley's first City Ground goal.

The winger received the ball from a neat Lee Tomlin flick and drove towards goal, hitting a left-footed shot which squirmed past David Stockdale and into the bottom corner.

Both sides were exchanging spells of possession and on 15 minutes Birmingham created their first opening. Jacques Maghoma got in down the Forest left and played a ball back to the edge of the box for the arriving Maikel Kieftenbeld who blazed over but should have done better with his effort.

Blues had another opportunity on 20 as a Craig Gardner free kick found its way to the back post to Harlee Dean but his cross-shot drifted wide amid calls for offside from the Forest defence.

Forest maintained control of the game for the rest of the half without causing too much of a threat to the Birmingham goal, but started brightly in the second as only some superb goalkeeping from Stockdale kept Cash at bay.

Lolley pulled it back for the midfielder on 51 minutes and he hit a rasping shot which was tipped onto the bar by an instinctive fingertip stop by the Birmingham keeper.

Moments later, he was called into action again as Tomlin spread the play for Tendayi Darikwa in space down the right, and the full back's low shot was parried behind. Cash then found himself in space on the right just after the hour mark but Daryl Murphy, on as a half-time substitute, could only flick an effort wide of the target.

Blues began to build some pressure on the Forest goal, introducing Lukas Jutkiewicz to add extra impetus into their attack, but The Reds' defence stood firm, with Costel Pantilimon forced into a save on 70 as he got a hand to Sam Gallagher's header from a corner, then parrying Jutkiewicz's long-range effort.

Despite their pressure, it was Forest who found the crucial second goal on 79 minutes and it came through Cash as he scored his second goal in as many games. The winger received a superb cross-field pass from Ben Osborn and took it in his stride before firing a driven effort into the bottom corner of the net.

Osborn almost found a third a few minutes later as he cut inside from the left flank, shimmied past his man and then curled a right-footed effort just wide of the target.

But Blues got themselves back into the game with three minutes remaining through their captain Morrison. The centre back rose highest from a corner and powered a header past Pantilimon to give the visitors hope.

It proved to be just a consolation goal though as Forest were able to see the game out and ensure the fans who braved the freezing conditions were rewarded with three valuable points.

Forest: Pantilimon, Darikwa, Figueiredo, Fox, Osborn, Watson (c), Colback, Cash, Tomlin (Guedioura 72'), Lolley, Brereton (Murphy 46')

Unused subs: Kapino, Mancienne, Dowell, Vellios, Worrall

Goals: Lolley 6', Cash 79'

Booking: Darikwa 67'

Birmingham: Stockdale, Jenkinson, Morrison (c), Dean, Colin, Lowe (Jutkiewicz 65'), Cardner, Kieftenbeld, Maghoma (Boga 80'), Adams, Gallagher

Unused subs: Trueman, Roberts, Bramall, Ndoye, Jota

Goal: Morrison 87'

Bookings: Morrison 28', Kieftenbeld 83'

Referee: Keith Stroud

Attendance: 23,296 (1,991 away)

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