Nottingham Forest vs Blackburn Rovers. Sky Bet Championship.
The City GroundAttendance23,964.
Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers at the City Ground as Chris Hughton's side remained pointless after three games of the season following Darragh Lenihan's late winner
Wednesday 18 August 2021 23:13, UK
Nottingham Forest suffered a third straight Championship defeat as Blackburn claimed a 2-1 win at the City Ground.
Philip Zinckernagel looked to have earned Chris Hughton's side a point when he hammered Forest level in the 69th minute, to cancel out Daniel Ayala's goal, which had come two minutes into the second half.
But Hughton finds himself under pressure after Darragh Lenihan's 86th-minute header piled on the misery, which was only added to when Jordan Gabriel collected a second yellow card in the 90th minute.
Sam Gallagher looped a header towards goal for Blackburn but it was an easy save for Brice Samba.
Forest had a very hopeful appeal for a penalty when Lewis Grabban went down in the box but Zinckernagel did not wait for a decision - and fired a shot straight at Thomas Kaminski.
The Blackburn goalkeeper did have to make a very good save to keep out the on-loan Watford player when he had another go, this time from outside the box.
Ben Brereton Diaz, who had developed in the Forest academy, almost returned to haunt his former club, although his header was wide.
Forest had to make a change when Arsenal loanee Jordi Osei-Tutu picked up an injury, which meant a league debut for 18-year-old substitute Fin Back.
Grabban wanted a penalty when Ayala handled his header, but the striker had pushed the former Forest defender first.
Samba made a big save to keep out a driven effort from John Buckley and, on the stroke of half-time, Buckley tested the keeper again.
Forest had started brightly but it was the visitors who had finished the half more strongly.
And it took only two minutes of the second half for Blackburn to take the lead as Harry Pickering fired in a free-kick from the left and Ayala headed home.
A Brennan Johnson cross fizzed right across goal for Forest, with Ryan Yates seeing his effort blocked at the far post.
There had been noisy grumbles from the home fans, shortly before Forest drew themselves level in the 69th minute. Grabban fed the ball to Zinckernagel and the Dane did the rest, firing a simply unstoppable shot low into the back of the net from the edge of the box.
Forest seemed to hold the momentum but, rather than pushing for a winner, it was Blackburn who took the lead again four minutes from time.
Gabriel was booked, harshly, when Harry Chapman went down easily down the Blackburn right. And from the resulting free-kick, Samba failed to claim Hayden Carter's cross. Lenihan had an effort cleared off the line but, at the second attempt, headed home to secure three points.
To make things worse for Forest, Gabriel fouled Chapman again in the 90th minute and this time did deserve a yellow card, which was followed by a red.
Nottingham Forest's Chris Hughton: "I can't say that we are being punished (for not doing business) because there are plenty of other clubs in the same situation. As any manager would, you would want to get your business done early. But it has been difficult for many clubs to do that. I would have preferred us to have done our business before now.
"But we are striving to do business as soon as we can. In the meantime, it is my responsibility to make sure we do enough in games to get results. We have fallen short on that front. The squad needs strengthening, there is no doubt about that. We are light with options, certainly in the defensive area. We need to dig deep, we need to pick up one of those wins that you maybe don't deserve."
Blackburn's Tony Mowbray: "It is not the free-flowing football that we are capable of, but we lost 12 players over the summer and only replaced them with one. But in adversity they are sticking together and fighting, which is what you want. In fairness to Chris (Hughton), I don't really recognise this Forest side either, this is not the team we saw here last season; this was not a team full of experience, this was a Forest team with a lot of young players.
"In defence of Chris, he is having to use a lot of young players, as we are as well. You could feel the atmosphere here and the expectancy of the crowd. We have a big heart, we fight together as a team. We have a small group and that gives us tightness and togetherness, which is what helped us to win here. We are short of numbers, we have recently given a few kids squad numbers - young lads who had not previously trained with the first team. But we have to add some numbers. Because if injuries come, the results won't."
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