Nottingham Forest 3-1 Luton: Sabri Lamouchi's side consolidate play-off place
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at the City Ground
Last Updated: 19/01/20 6:37pm
Nottingham Forest's push for promotion from the Championship continued to gain momentum after a 3-1 victory over Luton on Sunday.
Bottom side Luton started brightly at the City Ground and they were rewarded for their efforts when Harry Cornick gave them the lead in the 23rd minute.
However, Forest roared back through goals either side of half-time from Joe Lolley (36, 57) before a late Lewis Grabban penalty made all three points safe and extended their unbeaten run in the Championship to five games.
Victory sees Forest consolidate their position in the play-off places as Sabri Lamouchi's side rise to fifth in the table, five points back from the automatic promotion places.
Meanwhile, Luton's troubles continue as they stay bottom, four points adrift of safety after a run of eight games without a win.
How Forest eased past Luton...
The hosts made a lethargic start and were given a warning after three minutes when James Bree's free-kick from the left narrowly evaded Matty Pearson and Dan Potts before drifting just wide of the far post.
Eight minutes later, Bree was at it again - this time his set-piece picked out Potts who, after panic in the Forest penalty box, fired narrowly over from six yards.
Michael Dawson did head wide from a Lolley corner, but the visitors were in the ascendancy and deservedly went in front after 23 minutes. Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu played in Potts down the left and he cut the ball back from the byline to Cornick, who steered a low finish past Brice Samba.
Going behind sparked Forest into life and they almost levelled on the half-hour as Lolley's corner was headed towards his own net by Pearson, only for Simon Sluga to produce a fine reflex save.
Forest did eventually level in the 36th minute when Yuri Ribeiro sprayed a cross-field ball out to the right flank and Lolley jinked inside before his low shot squeezed under Sluga, who should have done better.
After the break, Lolley gave Forest the lead in the 57th minute when Ben Watson picked him out on the right touchline and, after an excellent first touch, the 27-year-old cut inside and gave Sluga no chance with a powerful strike into the top corner.
Unlike Forest, Luton did not respond well to going behind. Joe Worrall should have made the game safe after 68 minutes when Silva's free-kick found him unmarked but the defender failed to hit the target from six yards.
James Collins should have rescued a point for Luton 10 minutes from time after being sent clean through but his low effort was turned behind by Samba.
Forest were then awarded a penalty late on when Silva's free-kick struck Sonny Bradley's hand in the wall and Grabban made no mistake from 12 yards to score his 15th goal of the season.
What the managers said…
Nottingham Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi: "The way we played the first half was not so well. Much better in the second half, enough to win the game. Happy with the result - to win at home in front of our fans is important but we need to play much better than we did in the first half. I don't know why we start like this. We suffered a lot, couldn't make three passes in a row, but luckily, we equalised before the break and the commitment was much better than the first half.
"The last time Nottingham Forest played the play-offs was a long time ago. I'm not so crazy to imagine something (promotion) impossible. Some people can start to believe but my job is just to focus on the next game, and we will see where we will be. We need to play much better than now. Do you think Nottingham Forest can get promoted automatically playing like that in the first half? The answer is no."
Luton Town manager Graeme Jones: "I don't think everything went for us, but I'm satisfied with the first-half performance. We all know what happened with the first goal, it could have been a free-kick. It's about us taking our destiny in our own hands. We've got to start putting up positive results and I really believe with everybody fit - if we bring people in, it will help - we'll have a chance."
Man of the match - Joe Lolley
Nottingham Forest are back in Championship action on Tuesday, January 28 when they travel to Brentford.
Luton also play on January 28 when they host Derby.