Nottingham Forest 0-1 Aston Villa: Scott Hogan ruins Aitor Karanka's bow
Last Updated: 13/01/18 9:59pm
Aitor Karanka suffered a defeat in his first game in charge of Nottingham Forest as Aston Villa ran out 1-0 winners at the City Ground.
The former Middlesbrough boss, who became Forest's 10th permanent managerial appointment since June 2011 on Monday, came up against a well-drilled Villa outfit that scored the decisive goal through Scott Hogan in the 18th minute.
Villa have now won their last three Sky Bet Championship games without conceding a goal as a promotion push seems to be gathering momentum under Steve Bruce, who welcomed back John Terry into the fold after 10 weeks out due to injury.
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Forest:Smith (5), Lichaj (6), Mills (5), Mancienne (6), Traore (5), Vaughan (6), Osborn (6), Cash (6), Dowell (7), Clough (6), Brereton (6).
Subs: McKay (6), Ward (6)
Aston Villa: Johnstone (7), Elmohamady (7), Chester (7), Terry (8), Hutton (7), Snodgrass (8), Whelan (7), Hourihane (7), Adomah (6), Grealish (7), Hogan (7)
Subs: Bjarnason (7), Davis (6), Taylor (6)
Man of the match: Robert Snodgrass
Robert Snodgrass was a constant threat and his first-half cross proved to be the match-winning moment as Hogan ghosted in unmarked to head Villa into the lead.
Snodgrass was the architect again when he picked out Terry minutes later but the former England captain thundered a header against the crossbar.
The closest Forest came to an equaliser before the break was a curling free-kick from Kieran Dowell, which curled a few feet wide of the far post.
Glenn Whelan and John Terry both started for Villa as Steve Bruce made two changes, while Aitor Karanka made just one switch to the Forest side that beat FA Cup holders Arsenal with the suspended Joe Worrall being replaced by Matt Mills.
After the break, the experience of the Villa squad came to the fore as they took the sting out of the game at every opportunity.
Sam Johnstone had to make a couple of simple saves from Dowell but rarely did the Villa goalkeeper look troubled.
Man of the match - Robert Snodgrass
Aitor Karanka: "This was our first game and, for sure, we need to improve. There were positive things, but obviously not as many as we would like. This was our first game and there was a lot of expectation, following the win over Arsenal. But Villa are a very experienced team.
"We have a lot of potential, but we are young and we need to improve. I saw the quality we have. We are young and we can improve a lot. But we have to be more aggressive and intense."
Steve Bruce: "I'm delighted with Scotty. He was a big-money signing but he's picked up three injuries and had a tough time. Strikers need goals and you could see the confidence ooze back in to him after he got his for us. I'm delighted with the win. It's an excellent win away from home - and we fully deserved it.
"We've lost just four out of 25 and we've got a real level of consistency. We're in the mix, we're in a good position and we were very comfortable here today. But nothing is decided until the daffodils and the tulips come up."
Things do not get much easier for Karanka as he takes his team to play runaway leaders Wolves next Saturday, while Villa have a home clash with Barnsley.