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Match Reports

Swansea 1-0 Forest

17 February 2021

Nottingham Forest suffered disappointment at the Liberty Stadium once again as a late Connor Roberts goal was enough to earn Swansea City a 1-0 win.

The Reds were the better side for large parts of the contest and had a number of chances to break the deadlock themselves but they were beaten three minutes from time by the same man who settled the reverse fixture in Swansea's favour at The City Ground earlier in the season.

Chris Hughton made three changes to the team which drew with Bournemouth on Saturday as Yuri Ribeiro, Joe Lolley and Lewis Grabban came into the side in place of Gaetan Bong, Luke Freeman and Glenn Murray while Tyler Blackett came back into the squad to take a place on the substitutes' bench.

Forest needed a much better performance than the last time they visited the Liberty Stadium and they started well on a wet evening in South Wales. A neat piece of link-up work between Cyrus Christie and Grabban set the ball up for Filip Krovinovic inside the penalty area but his goal-bound strike was deflected over the crossbar by Swansea skipper Matt Grimes.

The Reds were looking to get forward whenever possible and a terrific delivery from Anthony Knockaert almost created the opening goal. The Frenchman whipped a devilish ball into the Swansea six-yard box but Swansea goalkeeper Freddie Woodman was able to claw the ball away to prevent Ribeiro or Grabban from guiding the ball into the far corner of the net.

Despite their lofty league position, Swansea had struggled to create many openings in the first half against a well-drilled Forest back four. The closest they came was on the half-hour mark when Conor Hourihane spun on the edge of the penalty area but fired his effort well wide of Brice Samba's right-hand post but otherwise The Reds remained untroubled.

With the final kick of the first half, Forest almost took a deserved lead courtesy of a fine effort from Knockaert. Folliwing a neatly-taken short corner, Christie laid the ball into Knockaert's path and he curled a delightful strike off the top of the crossbar and the ball bounced behind for a goal-kick as referee Geoff Eltringham blew the half-time whistle.

The half-time interval didn't seem to disrupt Forest's flow and they came close again two minutes into the second period. A superb delivery to the back post from Ribeiro found Knockaert but he could only cushion a guided header just past the far post as Woodman watched the ball drift wide of the target.

Lolley had looked lively on his return to the starting line-up and he tested Woodman twice from outside the penalty area but the Swansea number one was able to get down well on both occasions. Grabban came close himself when he latched onto a pass from Christie inside the box but he drilled the ball across the face of the six-yard box and inches wide of the far post.

In what would prove to be his final action of the evening, Grabban was presented with an excellent chance to break the deadlock. The Reds launched a rapid counter-attack from a Swansea and surged towards the home side's penalty area but rather than opting to go one-on-one with Woodman, Grabban tried to square the ball across to Knockaert and Connor Roberts got back to clear the danger.

Forest were the team upping the ante as the game entered its final stages and their opening goal almost came from an unlikely source. Joe Worrall collected a high ball inside the box that had come over his shoulder, spun and fired a shot towards goal but it was deflected over the top of the bar by a flying Swansea defender.

For all their domination and possession on the night, Forest were caught with a sucker-punch three minutes from time. Jake Bidwell delivered a terrific cross from the left-hand side and Roberts climbed higher than Ribeiro to head the ball beyond Brice Samba and into the back of the Forest net.

Five minutes of stoppage time weren't enough for The Reds to find the all-important equaliser they deserved and they were left with nothing to show from a strong performance against one of the Championship's best sides.

Forest: Samba; Christie, Figueiredo, Worrall, Ribeiro; Cafu, Garner; Lolley, Krovinovic (Taylor 88'), Knockaert (Mighten 90'); Grabban (c) (Murray 75')

Subs not used: Smith, Mbe Soh, Colback, Bong, Jenkinson, Blackett

Swansea: Woodman; Naughton (Morris 67'), Bennett, Guehi; Roberts, Grimes (c), Hourihane (Smith 88'), Fulton, Bidwell; Ayew, Lowe (Arriola 83')

Subs not used: Hamer, Latibeaudiere, Cabango, Manning, Dhanda, Whittaker

Goal: Roberts 87'

Booking: Bennett 35'

Referee: Geoff Eltringham

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