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Match Reports

Forest 3-0 Middlesbrough

22 April 2019

Nottingham Forest produced a superb performance to blow away Middlesbrough and secure a comfortable 3-0 victory at The City Ground.

On top from the first minute, The Reds were in fine form as they took apart Boro and fully deserved all three points in the sunshine.

Joe Lolley scored twice, once from the penalty spot, with Alex Milosevic striking his first goal in the Garibaldi inbetween for a fine result.

Martin O'Neill reverted to a back three, with Milosevic, Jack Robinson, Ben Osborn, Joao Carvalho and Karim Ansarifard all coming into the side.

It was a bright start to the game by The Reds, with Osborn and Matty Cash – playing as attacking wing backs – both getting forward with eagerness in the early stages. Osborn nearly reached Cash's deep cross inside the opening 10 minutes, with Cash also driving low at goal but straight at Boro keeper Darren Randolph.

The first real goalmouth chance came on 36 minutes as Ansarifard shot at goal following a fine run by Carvalho – who was outstanding all afternoon – only to see his effort deflect agonisingly wide of the far post.

Ansarifard was again involved on 38 minutes as The Reds won a penalty. Osborn broke clear down the left and fed the ball through for the Iranian striker who was then taken out by Ryan Shotton as he looked to pull the trigger. Penalty awarded to Forest and up stepped Joe Lolley to smash high into the roof of the net to give The Reds a deserved lead.

The visitors made a double change at the interval, with Jordan Hugill and Marcus Tavernier coming on to try and swing the game in their favour, but it was Forest who carried on where they left off as they started positively.

Some neat passing play found Carvalho in plenty of space on the left wing, with the Portuguese midfielder playing a sublime pass with the outside of his right boot into the path of Ansarifard who was denied from six yards by an instinctive stop by Randolph.

Forest were in confident mood and deservedly added a second goal as Alex Milosevic struck his first goal for the club. Matty Cash clipped a cross to the back post where the Swedish defender was lurking to lash home on the half-volley to give The Reds a two-goal cushion.

It could have been a third for Forest were they not denied by Randolph's brilliance again on 69 minutes. Pele and sub Lewis Grabban – on for Ansarifard – led a charge towards goal, exchanging passes before Grabban fired towards the top corner only for the Irish keeper to parry the ball away brilliantly.

Middlesbrough were unable to contend with Forest's attacking threat, with Joao Carvalho in scintillating form and pulling all of the strings. He came so close to adding an outstanding goal to reward him for his performance on 79 minutes as he curled an effort from the corner of the penalty area over Randolph and against the inside of the post with the keeper well beaten.

With five minutes of time left, more brilliance from Carvalho added the icing on the cake as Lolley scored his second of the game. Carvalho skipped past two challenges on the left touchline before driving at goal, squaring across the area for Lolley to arrive onto and convert with a low finish to cap off a brilliant all-round performance from The Reds.

Forest: Pantilimon, Wague, Milosevic, Robinson (c), Cash, Pele, Yates, Osborn, Carvalho (Guedioura 88'), Lolley, Ansarifard (Grabban 62')

Unused subs: Steele, Murphy, Janko, Yacob, Appiah

Goals: Lolley pen 39', 85', Milosevic 65'

Booking: Cash 45'

Middlesbrough: Randolph, McNair, Flint, Shotton, Howson, Mikel (c), Clayton, Saville (Downing 66'), Besic (Tavernier 46'), Fletcher (Hugill 46'), Assombalonga

Unused subs: Konstantopoulos, Wood, Gestede, Spence

Booking: Shotton 38'

Referee: Peter Bankes

Attendance: 27,653 (1,449 away)

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