Nottingham Forest 3-0 Fulham: Matt Mills double downs Fulham
By Press Association
Last Updated: 05/12/15 6:14pm
Defender Matt Mills scored a brace as Nottingham Forest maintained their recent revival under Dougie Freedman with a comfortable 3-0 win over managerless Fulham in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds boss had been under pressure in recent weeks, but has seen the question marks over his future erased by three consecutive victories at the City Ground.
Peter Grant, Fulham's caretaker boss, briefly looked as though he might claim his first victory following back-to-back draws, as Dorus de Vries made a handful of important saves early on.
But it was Forest who ultimately claimed an emphatic win - their third in four games overall - after Mills netted with two headers, the first just before half time and then again 12 minutes from the end, with Chris O'Grady netting his second in two games in between.
Ross McCormack, who scored five times in two games against Forest last season, almost added to his tally in the fifth minute. He ghosted free at the far post to flick a header towards goal, but was denied by a smart save from De Vries.
Fulham pushed again as Ben Pringle whipped in a cross from the left to pick out the towering figure of Matt Smith, but the striker's header was too close to De Vries.
Forest suffered another nervous moment not long after when a James Husband cross from the left was headed into the side netting by Mills.
Ben Osborn looked lively throughout the game and found space down the left, flashing a dangerous low ball across the face of goal, but Richard Stearman made a vital interception before Ryan Mendes could pounce.
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Another Husband cross almost led to an own goal, but this time as Eric Lichaj deflected the ball onto the top of the net.
Both teams were carving out half-chances, with O'Grady's low shot well held by Joe Lewis and De Vries having to produce a moment of quality to keep out an effort from McCormack after it had taken a huge deflection.
A goal finally came in the 45th minute, when Oliveira's clever overhead kick delivered the ball back into the box from wide on the left, giving Mills the chance to rise at the far post and power home a header.
Forest went close to a second immediately after the interval when O'Grady was inches away from connecting with a driven cross from Henri Lansbury with Lichaj also drawing an outstanding save from Lewis after connecting with a powerful volley eight yards out.
The home side's pressure was to tell in the 52nd minute, however, after a powerful low shot from Oliveira carved an opening which Lewis could not hold onto and O'Grady the quickest to react, racing a few yards to drive the ball high into the net.
Fulham were denied again by the outstanding De Vries as he pushed over a long range effort from Tom Cairney that looked bound for the top corner.
But it was to be Mills who killed the game off, producing another towering header in the 78th minute, this time from a David Vaughan corner and the big defender was denied a hat-trick when he hit the bar with another header in injury time.