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Nottingham Forest carve out first home Championship victory of the season

Nottingham Forest v Blackpool – Sky Bet Championship – City Ground
(Image credit: Kieran Cleeves)

Lewis Grabban’s fifth goal in seven Championship outings helped Nottingham Forest and Steve Cooper register their first home win of the season as Blackpool were beaten 2-1.

Brennan Johnson netted his second goal in three games to give Forest the lead at the City Ground, only for Jerry Yates to equalise just after half-time, following a defensive mix-up.

But the reprieve for Neil Critchley’s side was shortlived, as Forest skipper Grabban pounced to secure victory, with the Reds now having taken 13 points from the five games since Chris Hughton’s departure last month.

While both sides got into promising positions in the opposition box, a charged down shot from Jack Colback was as close as either team came to breaking the deadlock in the opening 15 minutes.

The game sparked into life in the 22nd minute when an outstanding ball from Joe Worrall, from the right side of defence out to Max Lowe, who had advanced down the left wing, gave him the room to deliver an equally perfect cross to the far post, where Johnson was arriving to drive home an emphatic finish.

The rampaging figure of Lowe almost added to Forest’s advantage when he cut inside and hit a curling shot which narrowly cleared the angle of post and bar.

Another good ball, this time from Ryan Yates, sent Djed Spence striding down the right side and it looked for a second as though he might race clear before Richard Keogh made a last-gasp interception.

The second half began with Ryan Wintle driving a shot powerfully wide for the visitors.

The pace of Johnson was still Forest’s biggest weapon. A pass from Yates sent him clear down the right and only an outstanding challenge from Forest academy product Jordan Gabriel prevented Grabban from providing the finish.

Lowe then crossed for Johnson but his first-time effort flashed wide by a whisker.

A mistake at the back then cost Forest, as Spence and keeper Brice Samba both went to deal with a cross from Gabriel, with the defender producing a weak header as a result. The ball fell to Yates and he made no mistake, driving home to make it 1-1 in the 53rd minute.

Forest took only eight minutes to restore their advantage. Central defender Worrall got onto the end of a deflected cross from Lowe and, while Daniel Grimshaw saved, he could not hold the ball and Grabban pounced on it in true poacher fashion to make it 2-1.

Lowe forced another save from Grimshaw as Forest looked to make certain of the points. Grabban should have scored when he was picked out by substitute Joe Lolley but scuffed his shot.

When Lowe shot wide in the 90th minute, it prompted a sense of trepidation among the home fans but Forest held out for a deserved win.

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