Nottingham Forest vs Bristol City. Sky Bet Championship.
The City GroundAttendance28,506.
Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Nottingham Forest and Bristol City at the City Ground as goals from Brennan Johnson and James Garner steered Steve Cooper's side to victory.
Saturday 26 February 2022 18:26, UK
Young midfielders Brennan Johnson and James Garner kept Nottingham Forest on the Championship play-off fringes following a comfortable 2-0 triumph over Bristol City.
Johnson's sixth goal in eight games sent Steve Cooper's men into the interval ahead and Manchester United loanee Garner went on to wrap up matters with an early second-half strike, keeping Forest three points off the top six.
Defeat meant the visitors have now taken just two points from a possible 33 on the road and are without an away clean sheet in 22 contests - a sequence that stretches back to last March.
Forest got off to a blistering start with Robins goalkeeper Daniel Bentley called into two smart saves inside the first seven minutes.
First, he flew through the air to push Djed Spence's curling edge-of-the-box effort behind after good work through the left channel by Keinan Davis.
Then, he dived low to his left to keep out Steve Cook's overhead kick from a Philip Zinckernagel corner.
Nigel Pearson's men, doing their best to slow the game down, managed their first attempt just past the quarter-hour mark when 16-goal top-scorer Andreas Weimann's shot was deflected wide.
But Zinckernagel went on to bend wide of the far post at the other end and Johnson should have done better when he sidefooted wide from 12 yards after Davis had muscled his way past Joe Williams during another powerful charge down the left.
Johnson was then penalised for simulation when it looked like Cameron Pring, who had been cautioned earlier, might have tripped him in the box.
But the Nottingham-born 20-year-old shrugged off any frustration by opening the scoring in the 38th minute, beating Bentley from an unfavourable angle at his near post with a diagonal 12-yard, right-footed strike.
Bentley was back to his best on the stroke of half-time when he displayed excellent reflexes to repel a close-range Davis header.
But he was picking the ball out of his net again within 10 minutes of the restart when Garner's precise side-footed effort found his bottom-right corner from the edge of the box after Scott McKenna and Max Lowe had combined well on the left flank.
Zinckernagel should have added a third when he intercepted Tomas Kalas' woeful square pass to an unwitting Williams but he fired straight at Bentley and Garner also curled a late free-kick over.
It mattered little, though, against an away team that mustered just three shots all afternoon - the last hooked woefully over by Weimann as the board went up for added-on time.
Nottingham Forest's Steve Cooper: "I had a conversation with Brennan after Tuesday night (following the 0-0 draw at Preston) and it was good to see him get back to what he's brilliant at - getting down the sides and being really creative.
"He's also scoring goals now and, at that top end of the pitch, for all the ability we've got, there has to be an end product as well. He has that now with his assists and goals and we've got to keep pushing him on that."
Bristol City's Nigel Pearson: "The players were second best in all departments and we were miles off the pace. We made bad decisions defensively and couldn't pass the ball in midfield in the areas that we wanted to and the forwards aren't magicians - they can't conjure something up from nothing, so that's why we ended up with nothing.
"We also made too many mistakes. They didn't have to be at their best to beat us, because too many of our players had an off day. When players make individual errors, it affects their confidence and that of the rest of the team. It was a bad day all round. I don't often say that we were collectively second best but we were for almost the entirety of the game."