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Match Reports

Forest 1-0 Derby

25 February 2019

Yohan Benalouane's second-minute strike saw Nottingham Forest take the East Midlands derby spoils as they defeated Derby County at The City Ground.

The centre back converted from a set piece to kickstart a passionate night on Trentside as Forest defeated their local rivals in front of a packed crowd to lift the Brian Clough trophy.

A solid defensive display coupled with a threat in attack saw The Reds overpower their neighbours as they made it four games unbeaten and climbed to within one point of The Rams in the table.

Martin O'Neill was forced into one change from the draw at Preston as Lewis Grabban dropped out through injury, with captain Ben Watson being recalled to the starting line-up.

There was a belting atmosphere inside The City Ground and there was an explosion of noise inside two minutes as Benalouane struck his first goal for the club to give The Reds an early lead.

Joe Lolley's deep free kick was kept alive in the area by Daryl Murphy, Derby failed to clear and the Tunisian centre back bundled home at the back post to send the Reds fans wild.

The visitors could and should have levelled on 14 minutes as Martyn Waghorn broke the offside trap and attempted a clever dink over the onrushing Costel Pantilimon, but the Derby forward got his angles wrong as his effort drifted past the target.

The Reds nearly made them pay for that missed opportunity two minutes later as they executed – not for the first time in the half – a plan to close down Derby deep in their own half. Lolley capitalised on a mistake by Fikayo Timori and played in Murphy, whose touch was too heavy allowing Kelle Roos to gather.

The passion was high in the stands and on the pitch too, with Ryan Yates in the thick of things for Forest as the game was not lacking in tackles and commitment. That desire was evident on 34 minutes as Yates flung himself to get on the end of Lolley's volley, only to see the ball deflect agonisingly wide of the post.

Frank Lampard made a change for The Rams at the interval, bringing on Florian Jozefzoon and the winger was straight into the action, stinging Pantilimon's palms with an effort on 49 minutes before Lolley was again involved in an opportunity for Forest.

The ball broke kindly on the edge of the box for the winger who bent a left-footed effort towards the far corner, past the despairing dive of Roos but also past the post.

As the second half wore on, Derby threw more men forward in search of the equaliser, but the Forest backline were mopping everything up with Alex Milosevic and Benalouane towering at the heart of the defence.

The Reds held out for a brilliant victory as they climbed to within three points of the play-off positions in the Championship.

Forest: Pantilimon, Darikwa, Milosevic, Benalouane, Robinson, Watson (c) (Guedioura 71'), Colback, Yates, Osborn (Wague 90'), Lolley, Murphy (Bonatini 85')

Unused subs: Steele, Carvalho, Goncalves, Pele

Goal: Benalouane 2'

Bookings: Yates 29', Colback 82'

Derby: Roos, Bogle, Keogh (c), Tomori, Cole, Huddlestone (Jozefzoon 46'), King (Johnson 53'), Holmes, Wilson (Bennett 71'), Marriott, Waghorn

Unused subs: Carson, Wisdom, Nugent, Malone

Bookings: Wilson 26', Holmes 29', Tomori 90'

Referee: Robert Jones

Attendance: 29,421 (1,990 away)

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