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Match Reports

Forest 1-2 Blackburn

13 April 2019

Nottingham Forest were denied the points this afternoon as Blackburn Rovers ran out 2-1 winners at The City Ground.

Goals by Joe Rothwell and Danny Graham in either half had given Rovers a 2-0 lead and, despite Elliott Bennett diverting into his own net following Ryan Yates' header, it was a third consecutive defeat for The Reds.

Martin O'Neill handed a full home debut to Arvin Appiah, with Costel Pantilimon and Pele also returning to the side in two changes to the side which lost at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek.

It was a fairly quiet opening to the game, with the first opportunity falling the way of Forest on three minutes as Matty Cash whipped in a cross from a free kick with plenty of pace. The loose ball fell to Appiah 12 yards out but the young winger saw his goalbound effort deflect over the bar.

On the half-hour mark things swung the way of the visitors as first, Danny Graham saw his header cleared off the line by Jack Colback and then moments later Rothwell curled in a sublime effort right into the top corner to leave Pantilimon helpless and Rovers one-goal to the good.

There was a good response to going a goal down from The Reds, with Cash dragging a shot wide, Lewis Grabban being denied by a saving tackle and Appiah flashing a shot wide of the far post after keeper David Raya had spilled Cash's cross initially.

Following a positive end to the first half, the second half began in contrasting fashion for Forest as Rovers doubled their advantage on 49 minutes. A low cross into the box wasn't cleared and Graham was on hand to steer the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

There was an immediate response, however, as Ryan Yates hauled Forest back to within one goal. A long throw into the Blackburn box was cleared, with Pele's return delivery nodded home by Yates, via a deflection off Rovers captain Elliott Bennett, as he beat keeper David Raya in the air.

That goal gave The Reds a much-needed lift and five minutes later, they should have been level. Following good link-up play between Appiah and Sam Byram down the right, the latter's delivery into the box found an unmarked Cash at the back post but he could only steer his header over the crossbar.

The visitors could and should have reopened their two-goal lead on 67 minutes as Bradley Dack stole the ball off Jack Robinson before being denied, firstly by a fine save by Costel Pantilimon and then by the crossbar as he attempted to convert the rebound.

The Reds pressed for a leveller, with Daryl Murphy, Joao Carvalho and Ben Osborn introduced from the subs' bench to add some fresh impetus to the attack.

Lolley saw a lobbed effort drift narrowly wide of the target, Murphy's glancing header was cleared and Lolley curled a low free kick wide of the mark as there seemed to be no way through.

Another superb save by Pantilimon denied Rothwell from adding his second and a crucial third for Blackburn as the game headed into injury time

Forest: Pantilimon, Byram, Wague, Robinson, Colback (c), Pele, Yates (Osborn 77'), Cash, Lolley, Appiah (Murphy 65'), Grabban (Carvalho 75')

Unused subs: Steele, Yacob, Benalouane, Ansarifard

Goal: Bennett og 52'

Bookings: Yates 56', Byram 74'

Blackburn: Raya, Bennett (c), Lenihan, Williams, Bell, Travis, Evans (Rodwell 69'), Rothwell, Dack (Brereton 86'), Armstrong, Graham (Nuttall 63')

Unused subs: Leutwiler, Nyambe, Smallwood, Mulgrew

Goals: Rothwell 29', Graham 49'

Bookings: Bennett 68', Evans 68', Williams 82'

Referee: Darren Bond

Attendance: 27,786 (1,100 away)

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