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Match Reports

Forest 1-4 Stoke

22 July 2020

Nottingham Forest's play-off hopes were extinguished on the final day of the season as they were beaten 4-1 at home by Stoke City.

The defeat, coupled with Swansea winning at Reading by the same scoreline, saw the Welsh side leapfrog The Reds into sixth place and leave Forest outside the top six on goal difference.

Sabri Lamouchi made four changes from the 1-0 defeat at Barnsley on Sunday as Matty Cash, Sammy Ameobi, Ryan Yates and Joe Lolley came into the side in place of Carl Jenkinson, Michael Dawson, Tiago Silva and Nuno Da Costa.

Stoke made the brighter start at The City Ground but the first opportunity fell Forest's way. Cash picked the ball up 20 yards from goal just right of centre but his powerful strike whistled over the top of Adam Davies' crossbar and into the flags in the Bridgford Stand.

The Reds were playing with confidence in the game's early stages and almost took the lead on 10 minutes. Lolley's corner wasn't dealt with by Stoke, the ball fell for Ameobi at close range but Davies was there to make a strong save and collect in the rebound from Yates.

Chances were coming at both ends in an entertaining start to the contest. Jordan Smith was called into action to make a good stop from a Sam Vokes strike before Lewis Grabban was denied by a superb block on the line from Jordan Thompson from the forward's effort from 12 yards out.

It was Stoke who were first to draw blood on 19 minutes through goalscoring defender Batth. A corner was taken short and swung into the penalty area from the right by Thompson and Batth climbed highest to head the ball beyond Smith into the back of the Forest net.

Forest had a golden chance to level the scores on 35 minutes but it passed them by. One long ball over the top sent Lolley clean through on goal but rather than shoot himself, he opted to try and square the ball to Grabban and Bruno Martins Indi was able to get back and clear the danger.

A far cry from their performance at Barnsley on Sunday, Forest were the better side in the first half at The City Ground. Silva, who had come on as a 24th-minute substitute for the injured Samba Sow, let fly from long range and his well-struck effort only cleared the target by a matter of inches.

There were no changes at the break and the away side were the first to show in the opening minutes of the second half as Lee Gregory sent a piledriver towards goal from 25 yards but with Smith at full-stretch, the ball narrowly cleared the crossbar and flew into the Bridgford Stand.

Lamouchi's men had threatened for most of the evening and finally they drew level just after the hour mark. Lolley whipped a right-wing corner into the Stoke six-yard box where Figueiredo had been left all alone to power a header into the corner of Davies' net to restore parity for The Reds.

A moment of misfortune for Forest saw them fall behind once again with 17 minutes to play. Substitute Josh Tymon's low drive from the left-hand side of the penalty area was touched in on the line by McClean and the goal was given despite Forest's strong pleas for the offside flag.

Forest's season was collapsing around them and Stoke extended their lead on 78 minutes. In almost a carbon copy of the visitors' second goal, Tymon drove a ball across the penalty area and this time Gregory was there to tap the ball home into an unguarded net.

The killer blow was delivered in the final minute of stoppage time. As Forest tried to get the goal they desperately needed, Stoke broke down the centre of the pitch and raced towards goal. The ball was delivered into the box and Da Costa could only turn it into his own net.

Forest: Smith; Cash, Figueiredo, Worrall, Ribeiro (Mighten 90'); Watson (c); Ameobi, Sow (Silva 24'), Yates (Da Costa 80'), Lolley, Grabban

Subs: Shelvey, Bostock, Jenkinson, Dawson, Walker, Johnson

Goal: Figueiredo 61'

Stoke: Davies; Martins Indi, Chester, Batth, Thompson (Sorensen 62'); Oakley-Boothe (Tymon 71'), Cousins, Smith, McClean; Vokes (Campbell 71'), Gregory (Ince 82')

Subs: Butland, Lindsay, Collins, Porter

Goals: Batth 19', McClean 73', Gregory 78', Da Costa (own goal) 90'

Booking: Cousins 90'

Referee: Gavin Ward

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