Nottingham Forest ended the season with a win this afternoon as they beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at The City Ground.
Joe Lolley’s first half strike secured all three points for The Reds who made it three wins from their final three matches.
Manager Martin O’Neill made two changes to the side that defeated Queens Park Rangers 1-0 last weekend with Luke Steele and Lewis Grabban coming into the side to replace Costel Pantilimon and Karim Ansarifard.
The Reds looked positive going forward and were unlucky not to take the lead when Joao Carvalho’s teasing cross with the outside of his foot was met by Sam Byram at the back post who prodded it across goal again before Bolton were able to clear. Bolton were creating chances too however as Josh Magennis saw his long-range shot comfortably saved by Luke Steele.
Some neat play by both Matty Cash and Lolley put Forest into a promising position on 20 minutes with the former seeing a low shot blocked in the goalmouth before the latter curled an effort into the arms of Remi Matthews in the Bolton goal.
The Player of the Season then fired The Reds into the lead on 28 minutes. A cross wasn’t cleared by Bolton and Lolley picked up the loose ball and fired a low effort into the net.
Byram had another opportunity at the back post five minutes before half-time when he headed over a corner as The Reds looked to extend their lead, going into the break a goal up.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half were uneventful with either side able to create any meaningful chances. Magennis tried to find a leveller for The Trotters with a strike from distance but it sailed well over the bar.
The Reds tried to get on the front foot and a stunning ball from Carvalho which found Lolley did that. The winger raced into the area before squaring the ball to Lewis Grabban who turned and shot towards goal, but his effort was blocked away. The Reds then made their first change as Daryl Murphy came on to replace Lolley.
Grabban was then replaced by Adlene Guedioura with 15 minutes left and the substitute nearly made an immediate impact. A superb turn from Carvalho created space inside the area before he teed up Guedioura who fired an effort straight into the arms of Matthews. O’Neill made his final change six minutes from time with Arvin Appiah replacing Joao Carvalho.
The visitors could have netted a late leveller when a cross found Magennis at the back post, but he could only head into the arms of Luke Steele. The Reds held out for the win, ending the season in 9th position in the Sky Bet Championship.
Forest: Steele, Wague, Milosevic, Robinson, Byram, Yates, Cash, Osborn, Lolley (Murphy 67’), Carvalho (Appiah 84’), Grabban (Guedioura 74’)
Subs not used: Pantilimon, Figueiredo, Watson, Yacob
Goals: Lolley 28’
Bolton: Matthews, Hobbs, Brockbank, Grounds, Taylor, Pritchard (Earing 77’) Connelly, Noone (Darcy 70’), O’Neil, Buckley, Magennis
Subs not used: Turner, Little, Oztumer, Donaldson, Johnson
Referee: Oliver Langford
Attendance: 27,578 (578 away)