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Match Reports

Rotherham 2-1 Forest

6 April 2019

Nottingham Forest's play-off hopes took a big blow this afternoon after they were beaten 2-1 by Rotherham United in the Sky Bet Championship.

A second-half header from Michael Ihiekwe proved to be the winner, cancelling out Lewis Grabban's first-half equaliser after Michael Smith put the home side in front after 10 minutes.

Martin O'Neill made two changes to the side that defeated Swansea City last weekend with Saidy Janko and Daryl Murphy coming into the side to replace Tendayi Darikwa and Ryan Yates.

The home side had a penalty shout after just three minutes. Richie Towell rifled in a shot from just inside the area that was blocked by Ben Watson, but the referee dismissed the handball appeals. At the other end The Reds were inches away from taking the lead. Watson drilled the ball across goal and Yohan Benalouane back-heeled it off the post, seeing it run across the line and hitting the other post before it was cleared.

The home side then took the lead through Michael Smith. A long throw from Will Vaulks wasn't cleared and Smith was on hand at the back post to slot past Pantilimon.

On 24 minutes Forest hit the post for a second time. A long throw from Matty Cash went all the way through to Lewis Grabban who prodded the effort against the post and away. A couple minutes later and Rotherham could have had a second through Jon Taylor. A direct ball was flicked on by Smith and Taylor took on the volley, which went narrowly over the target.

Forest then equalised through Grabban. The striker was played through on goal by Joe Lolley and despite failing to tuck it away at the first attempt, he took it around the 'keeper and calmly nestled it home.

Lolley tried to put The Reds ahead when space opened up in the midfield. The winger took on the shot, but it went straight into the hands of Marek Rodak in the Rotherham goal. Janko was then shown a yellow card for The Reds for a cynical foul.

The Millers made a change at the break with Joe Mattock being replaced by Clark Robertson. The Reds were so unlucky not to take the lead on 53 minutes after a great run from Lolley. The winger played it out wide to Cash, firing in a low cross to Grabban whose shot was well-saved by Rodak. From the resultant corner, Daryl Murphy flicked on a header that nearly found the far corner, but it was cleared.

Semi Ajayi nearly edged the home side in front a few minutes later when a cross was lofted in towards the back post. The defensive midfielder got up highest, but he nodded it wide of the target. The visitors then regained the lead through Michael Ihiekwe. Once again, The Reds failed to clear a set-piece and they were punished as Ihiekwe headed home a cross.

O'Neill then made their first change as Pele came on to replace Ben Watson. Rotherham could have had a third on 74 minutes when Taylor stung the palms of Pantilimon with Molla Wague blocking Smith's rebound shot. Joao Carvalho and Arvin Appiah then replaced Ben Osborn and Saidy Janko.

The attacking approach failed to work however, despite coming close at the very end when Cash's drilled cross just missed Appiah who was too late to the ball, as The Reds were defeated at the New York Stadium.

Forest: Pantilimon, Janko (Carvalho 76'), Benalouane, Wague, Osborn (Appiah 76'), Colback, Watson (c) (Pele 69'), Lolley, Cash, Grabban, Murphy

Unused subs: Steele, Robinson, Yacob, Ansarifard

Goal: Grabban 28'

Booking: Janko 42'

Rotherham: Rodak, Jones (Wiles 70'), Ihiekwe, Wood (c), Mattock (Robertson 46'), Ajayi, Vaulks, Taylor (Williams 80'), Towell, Newell, Smith

Unused subs: Price, Forde, Crooks, Vassell

Goals: Smith 10', Ihiekwe 60'

Referee: Steve Martin

Attendance: 11,012 (2616 away)

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