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Match Reports

Stoke 2-0 Forest

2 March 2019

Nottingham Forest's play-off hopes suffered a blow as they were beaten 2-0 by Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium.

A goal in each half from Peter Etebo and Benik Afobe saw The Potters to victory as Martin O'Neill's men were unable to back up their thrilling East Midlands derby win on Monday night.

O'Neill named an unchanged starting 11 and substitutes' bench for the trip to Staffordshire and both sides showed attacking threat within the opening five minutes. Former Forest loanee Tom Ince tested Costel Pantilimon from outside the area before Ryan Yates nearly got on the end of Joe Lolley's delivery.

Ten minutes later the home side took the lead. Ince again caused problems for Forest by cutting inside and laying the ball to Peter Etebo who produced a well-placed finish beyond Pantilimon into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.

That goal seemed to kill off any early momentum as both sides struggled in the windy conditions and although Forest continued to look to the left and involve Lolley as much as possible, Bruno Martins Indi was winning that early battle for the home side.

The Reds did manage their first effort on target five minutes into the second half as Jack Robinson unleashed an effort from the corner of the penalty which Jack Butland had to get down well to save and preserve the hosts' lead.

O’Neill made his first change of the match as he brought on João Carvalho in place of Ben Watson while the hosts responded by bringing on James McClean for Bojan Krkic as they were finding possession hard to come by in the early stages of the half.

Forest couldn't find the equaliser their bright start to the second half had deserved and on 74 minutes the home side doubled their lead through an impressive strike from Afobe. The striker managed to hold off the challenges of two Forest defenders and hit a powerful shot across Pantilimon and in off the far post.

The visitors were still coming forward in search of a way back into the match with substitute Adlene Guedioura coming close on two occasions but he was unable to find that elusive goal as The Reds fell to their first defeat in five.

Forest: Pantilimon, Darikwa, Milosevic, Benalouane, Robinson (Bonatini 71'), Watson (Carvalho 53'), Lolley, Yates (Guedioura 64'), Colback, Osborn, Murphy

Subs not used: Steele, Wague, Goncalves, Pele

Bookings: Robinson 61', Benalouane 85'

Stoke: Butland, Edwards, Shawcross, Batth, Martins Indi, Ince, Clucas, Allen, Etebo (Adam 66'), Bojan (McClean 59'), Afobe

Subs not used: Federici, Bauer, Williams, Diouf, Woods

Goals: Etebo 15', Afobe 74'

Bookings: McClean 87', Adam 90'

Referee: Roger East

Attendance: 26,736 (2,895 away)

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