Lewis Grabban scored twice as Nottingham Forest cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win over Preston at the City Ground.
The striker opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Jack Colback’s driven volley made it 2-0 just before half-time.
Grabban’s well taken second then effectively sealed all three points with 20 minutes to play.
Preston, who had won at Bournemouth in their previous outing, saw Brad Potts spurn two decent chances but rarely offered much threat as Steve Cooper continued his positive start in charge at Forest.
Alex Mighten ensured Forest got off to a positive start when he had a shot charged down in the box in the second minute. And the winger threatened again when he burst down the left and flashed the ball across goal, with Preston clearing desperately.
But it was Preston midfielder Potts who enjoyed the first clear opportunity of the game, as he drove a shot at Brice Samba from 10 yards which the keeper pushed away in awkward fashion.
Philip Zinckernagel’s driven shot took a big deflection and had Preston keeper Daniel Iversen looking on nervously as it looped wide.
Patrick Bauer had to be replaced in the 20th minute through injury, with Jordan Storey replacing him, and as the Preston defence reshuffled, Ryan Yates planted a header wide.
Brennan Johnson’s pace took him into the box down the right side as Forest pressed again but he tried to pick out Mighten with a pass, rather than having a shot himself.
However, Johnson was at the centre of things as the hosts took a 32nd minute lead. The Wales international was clipped by Ben Whiteman in the box and referee Simon Hooper pointed to the spot, with Grabban keeping his cool to convert the penalty.
Yates came close to making it 2-0 as he hit a shot on the turn which flew across goal and wide.
Forest did double their advantage four minutes before half-time as Preston only managed to half-clear a Zinckernagel free-kick, with the ball dropping nicely for Colback to lash a perfectly struck volley beyond a helpless Iversen from 10 yards.
Preston had more possession in the second half, but the visitors still found opportunities difficult to come by.
And Forest increased their lead in the 70th minute following more good work from Johnson. The winger twisted his way into the box before causing chaos with a cross that was only half-cleared and fell perfectly to Grabban, who saw his shot creep across the line, after hitting the far post, before Iversen could swat the ball away.
Substitute Lyle Taylor might have had another for Forest but, after battling his way through on goal, he lost his footing at the vital moment while Djed Spence also had a spectacular effort saved in the dying moments.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.