Nottingham Forest 0-1 Preston: Louis Moult earns win for North End
Nottingham Forest beaten at City Ground as Louis Moult scores only goal
Last Updated: 08/12/18 7:08pm
Louis Moult's goal was enough to help Preston condemn Nottingham Forest to just their second home defeat of the season, as Alex Neil's side claimed a narrow 1-0 win at the City Ground.
Aitor Karanka's side had been on a five-match unbeaten run, which had lifted them into the top six in the Championship.
But, while they missed some good chances in front of goal to secure a result that would have maintained their momentum, Moult was ruthless when a cross from Lukas Nmecha gave him the chance to convert from close range in the 56th minute.
Joe Lolley, Daryl Murphy and Matty Cash all spurned good opportunities for the Reds, who had previously only lost to promotion-chasing Norwich on home soil.
Forest made a bright start with Tendayi Darikwa and Joe Lolley both forcing saves from Declan Rudd, albeit without the Preston keeper being properly tested.
The home side were playing some impressive football, particularly around the Preston box, with Darikwa firing another effort across goal and wide and Cash having the ball snatched off his toes at the vital moment, following another flowing move.
Preston almost took the lead following a slip from Jack Robinson, but Costel Pantilimon got something on Tom Barkhuizen's shot, before Darikwa cleared the looping ball in the goalmouth.
Preston sub Nmecha - on for the injured Brandon Barker - almost scored an own goal with a looping clearance that landed on the roof of the net.
A superb run and cross from Lewis Grabban picked out Cash's run to the near post, but he could not apply the finish, stroking the ball wide.
Grabban then twisted and turned his way past two Preston defenders and angled in on goal but, when he flashed a low ball across the face of goal, there was nobody there to force it into an empty net.
The second half saw Osborn's pass from the left pick out Cash, who carried the ball across the face of the penalty area before striking a right-footed shot that Rudd got down well to save.
But it was Preston who were to snatch the lead in the 56th minute, as Forest failed to cut out a low ball from the right from Nmecha - with Moult sliding in to force the ball home from close range, in the centre.
Preston sub Ryan Ledson almost made it 2-0 with a low shot that Pantilimon saved well, diving low to his right.
Forest sub Daryl Murphy's first touch almost saw him grab a goal as he attacked a looping cross from Grabban - but saw Rudd made a good save claw away his header.
Hefele picked out Osborn with a great ball down the left and he followed suit by whipping in a fine cross towards the near post, but this time Murphy could not keep his effort on target.
Aitor Karanka: "I think the only thing we missed was scoring goals; that was the only thing we were missing today. In the first half in particular, we played really well and we should have been winning 2-0 or 3-0 by half time, if not by more.
"But we did not play the same in the second half; we did not play in the way that we should have done."
Alex Neil: "We have now lost one game in 11 which is some going at this level. And we have two away wins at Bristol City and here - which are difficult venues.
"And we have still got four or five players out - and players who are key figures. Ben Pearson is a talisman for us and Callum Robinson is our top scorer. So we have a lot of bodies out who are a big influence and to do what we have done without those players speaks volumes of this squad."