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Nottingham Forest make light work of beleaguered Barnsley at City Ground

Nottingham Forest v Barnsley – Sky Bet Championship – City Ground
(Image credit: Tim Goode)

Nottingham Forest rattled off a fourth straight win to see off bottom-of-the-table Barnsley 3-0 in the Sky Bet Championship.

On-loan Aston Villa striker Keinan Davis’ first Forest goal set the ball rolling as Steve Cooper’s men scored before the interval for the first time since November 20.

Ryan Yates went on to double the advantage later in the half before Brennan Johnson wrapped up matters after the break.

The quartet of consecutive triumphs equals seventh-placed Forest’s longest streak since March 2013 and, as a mark of the progress made since Cooper arrived at the City Ground with the club bottom of the table in mid-September, it is the second time the former Swansea boss has achieved that feat.

Barnsley, managed on the night by Poya Asbaghi’s assistant Ferran Sibila due to the former suffering from Covid-19 symptoms, had a pre-match postponement request rejected by the EFL.

The Tykes had claimed they only had 13 senior players available and named six under-21 substitutes as they registered a 17th game without an away win – the club’s worst sequence since 1976.

Despite their troubles, Barnsley made an encouraging start to the contest with Romal Palmer firing narrowly wide from 20 yards out after Aaron Leya Iseka’s lay-off.

But, after Steve Cook had gone close with a header from Jack Colback’s corner, Forest forged in front following a horrendous mistake by Tykes skipper Mads Andersen.

The Danish defender dallied on the ball 40 yards from his goal, allowing a determined Davis to steal possession and charge clear on goal, before finishing confidently into Brad Collins’ bottom-left corner.

James Garner might have doubled the hosts’ advantage moments later, but dragged a bobbling attempt wide from 10 yards after easily sidestepping Callum Styles’ ineffective challenge.

During a moment of brief respite for Barnsley, Styles then saw a shot kicked off the line by Scott McKenna after Devante Cole’s left-wing raid.

But Cooper’s men were soon back in the ascendancy and, after Yates tried his luck from long range and called Collins into fingertip action from a powerful header, the Forest midfielder made it 2-0 in the 38th minute when he tapped in Johnson’s precise left-wing cross into the six-yard box.

Early in the second half, Brice Samba made his first save of the night when he safely gathered Claudio Gomes’ hopeful drive from distance.

But Johnson lifted well over after being sent clear through the right channel by Lewis Grabban before grabbing his seventh goal of the season when he swept a 15-yard chance past Collins and into the bottom corner in the 75th minute after Djed Spence’s brilliant run to the right byline.

More purposeful Spence attacking play subsequently teed up substitute Xande Silva, whose firm shot thumped the outside of Collins’ left-hand upright.

Cook was also denied by an excellent reflex save by the Barnsley keeper and, in stoppage time, Silva somehow cleared the crossbar from three yards after Garner’s centre from the right.

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