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Nottingham Forest vs Blackburn Rovers. Sky Bet Championship.

The City GroundAttendance27,786.

Nottingham Forest 1

  • E Bennett (52nd minute own goal)

Blackburn Rovers 2

  • J Rothwell (29th minute)
  • D Graham (49th minute)

Nottingham Forest 1-2 Blackburn: Rovers secure rare away win

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Blackburn

Blackburn recorded their first away win since January as a 2-1 victory at the City Ground all but ended Nottingham Forest's play-off hopes.

Joe Rothwell's fine curling finish put Rovers ahead in the 29th minute at the City Ground on Saturday and Danny Graham made it 2-0 four minutes into the second half.

Ryan Yates helped to pull one back - although the final touch might have come off Rovers defender Elliott Bennett - but Forest fell to a third straight defeat that left them eight points off the Sky Bet Championship's top six with four games left to play.

Molla Wague almost gave Forest a fine start when he saw a powerful strike cleared, after Blackburn had not dealt with a Matty Cash free-kick.

Bradley Dack responded with a long-range effort that was easily saved by Costel Pantilimon before Joe Lolley tested David Raya with a similar effort at the other end.

It was the visitors who took the lead, following a short spell of pressure. Dack had a shot that deflected wide for a corner and, when Forest failed to properly clear, the ball fell to Rothwell on the left corner of the penalty area and he curled a precise shot back inside the far post.

Blackburn Rovers' Danny Graham celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Nottingham Forest
Image: Blackburn Rovers' Danny Graham celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Nottingham Forest

A mistake at the back gave Lewis Grabban a clear sight of goal, but the Forest striker took an age to shoot and had the ball snatched away.

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Raya almost cost his side a goal when he dropped a cross but Yates' shot was blocked and Arvin Appiah drove the rebound narrowly wide.

Blackburn made it 2-0 in the 49th minute when Dack helped the ball into the box and Graham produced a trademark finish, lifting a shot high into the back of the net.

Forest mustered an immediate response as Pele looped a cross into the danger zone, where Yates went for a header as Raya attempted to punch. The Forest man celebrated as if he had applied the vital touch, although the last one may have come off Bennett.

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The Reds should have equalised when Sam Byram whipped in a perfect cross from the right, but Cash sent a free header over.

A mistake from Jack Robinson gave Dack a free run on goal, but he was denied by Pantilimon before his rebound came back off the frame of the goal.

Forest came agonisingly close as Lolley lifted a cross-shot over the advancing Raya but Daryl Murphy could not guide the ball home from a tight angle.

Substitute Murphy came close again in the closing stages but his header from a Lolley free-kick was cleared.

The managers

Martin O'Neill: "There are a number of areas to address in the summer. But you talk about Nottingham Forest and it is a lovely club, a great club. We have not been in the top flight for 20 years and I do not want this to be symptomatic of things.

"The play-offs are a distance away and we cannot talk about that any more. Now we will see what we have about us. Everyone will get a chance to show what they can do and we will get ready for next season."

Tony Mowbray: "We have our own ambitions, which we have fallen away from in the last two months," he said. "We have to strengthen and add depth for next season. If a key player gets injured, we want to have cover for him, as we move forward.

"We feel as though we have let ourselves down a bit over the last two months, because we were on the cusp of the play-offs. But for the last 11 games, we had won one match. We had a soft underbelly and were letting too many goals go in. We needed to acclimatise back in the Championship, with practically the same team that played in League One."

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