Earnshaw cuts Blades apart
Robert Earnshaw's 150th league goal earned Nottingham Forest victory over 10-man Sheffield United.
Last Updated: 16/02/10 10:50pm
Nottingham Forest got their promotion push back on track courtesy of a sole Robert Earnshaw strike against 10-man Sheffield United.
The striker bagged the 150th league goal of his career by slotting home calmly after some neat interplay with Paul Anderson.
And a bad night was to get even worse for the misfiring Blades 40 seconds after the interval when Darius Henderson was dismissed for an elbow on Kevin Wilson.
For nearly 22,000 Forest fans though, the game marked a welcome return to the City Ground, as the hosts forgot about successive away defeats to secure an eighth home win on the bounce which keeps the pressure on West Brom and Newcastle at the top of the Championship table.
And for boss Billy Davies, the clash could not have got off to a better start as he was rewarded for a switch in selection early on as the recalled Anderson and Earnshaw combined to open the scoring after just three minutes.
On-loan midfielder Radoslaw Majewski whipped in a vicious corner from the left side, which Anderson reached first to flick on for Earnshaw, who poked home the loose ball from inside the six-yard box for what was also his 11th goal of the season.
That early setback seemed to knock the Blades into a state of uncertainty from which they never really recovered.
Forest themselves were hardly expansive or indeed impressive in their attacks, but against a poor United team they threatened at will.
Chris Cohen and the lively Majewski both had efforts on target before the hosts came close to doubling their lead with a break down the right midway through the opening period.
Chris Gunter surged forward from full-back to get to the byline. From there, he cut the ball back for Cohen, who moved it on to Anderson, but the winger failed to hit the target, firing his shot just over the bar when he really should have tested Mark Bunn in the United goal.
If Blackwell was hoping for a change in fortunes after the break, he was to be sorely disappointed as Henderson rendered the comeback mission impossible as he appeared to petulantly elbow Wilson off the ball less than a minute into the action.
From then on, United threatened to self-combust as Mark Yeates and Lee Williamson were both booked by Nigel Miller for needless challenges.
However, the 10-men gave their hosts a couple of warnings as Yeates twice came close to equalising but missed the target on both occasions.
Otherwise, Forest dominated the increasingly heated contest and were unlucky not to double their lead on several occasions.
Firstly, Earnshaw should have done better when clean through, while Anderson and Blackstock were guilty of wasting good opportunities.
With 15 minutes to go, Tyson then had a fierce effort well saved by Bunn, before Gunter fired over as the game petered out into a well-earned home win.