Nottingham Forest 2-1 Ipswich: Ben Brereton and Joe Lolley complete dramatic fightback
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 14/04/18 8:59pm
A dramatic finale saw Nottingham Forest all but secure Championship safety as they scored twice late on to end their goal famine in a 2-1 victory over managerless Ipswich.
The Tractor Boys looked set to mark their first game since Mick McCarthy's departure with a 1-0 win thanks to Grant Ward's first-half header.
But, while Forest beat their previous club record of 636 minutes without a goal when the 84th minute ticked by at the City Ground, they did not finish the day frustrated.
Ben Brereton slotted home an 89th-minute penalty and Joe Lolley's spectacular volley deep into stoppage time lifted the roof off the City Ground.
It left Aitor Karanka's side 11 points clear of third-from-bottom Barnsley, with both sides having four games left to play - and nine points better off than Bolton, who only have three fixtures left.
Ben Osborn had the first real chance of the game as the Forest left-back pounced on a poor pass in the Ipswich back four to ghost into the penalty area, but his powerful drive was well saved by Bart Bialkowski, who showed strong hands to parry.
It was a cagey affair but one that Forest began to grow into, with the home side carving out a few chances as they built a bit of pressure on the Ipswich goal.
But Bialkowski was equal to everything thrown at him, the Ipswich keeper getting down well to push away a low shot from Lolley.
He then made an even better save to guide a powerful strike from Brereton around the post, diving full stretch to his left.
From the resultant corner, Ben Watson's crisp header bounced wide off the outside of the post.
It was Ipswich who were to take the lead in the 38th minute, with their first effort on goal of any kind.
That mattered little to the visitors, however, as Ward connected with a cross from Myles Kenlock to send a header beyond Costel Pantilimon, who did seem to get a hand to the ball, but not enough to prevent it from dropping over the line.
A Lee Tomlin corner gave Watson the chance to equalise at the far post, but his volley was hammered wildly over the bar.
Adlene Guedioura sent a header wide for Forest early in the second half, but Martyn Waghorn was very close to doubling Ipswich's lead when a clever free-kick gave him the room to flash a shot across goal and narrowly wide.
Bialkowski saved yet again to deny Lolley and Brereton, but his resolve was finally broken when Ward clipped the heels of Brereton in the box - prompting Darren England to point to the spot.
Brereton regained his feet to fire low into the bottom corner but there was more drama still to come as Brereton's cross-shot was fiercely volleyed home by Lolley five minutes into injury time to give Forest a vital win.
Aitor Karanka: "We cannot relax, now no. But we will change things. I have been thinking about the future since I arrived here.
"But it is true that we have players on the bench and players who are not in the squad who deserve their chance to show me that they are able and that they want to stay here next season.
"In the first half we had created chances and, on another day, we would have scored more goals.
"The main thing is that we believed until the last second and now we have four games left to play, in a comfortable position when, last season, the club was playing right up until the last second for survival.
"Now we are more comfortable; now we can keep going and we have time to try things for next season. Now we have time for the players to show that they want to be here for next season."
Bryan Klug: "We had a fair bit of the ball, but we did not create too much, even if we got the goal, in the first half. In the second half we did create a few chances, but we were not able to get that crucial second goal. Ultimately we paid for that.
"We started to sit a little bit too deep. Until the penalty, I was not ultra-concerned. But this is the harsh reality of football.
"I told the players they did not deserve that and I thanked them for their efforts.
"Since Mick left, they have been first class with us. Which is exactly what I expected, to be fair. We did not deserve the kick in the teeth that we had there at the end."