Nottingham Forest vs Reading. Sky Bet Championship.
The City GroundAttendance28,128.
Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Nottingham Forest and Reading at the City Ground
Saturday 12 March 2022 18:31, UK
Keinan Davis helped Nottingham Forest enhance their play-off credentials as he scored twice in a thumping 4-0 win over Reading, who face a fight at the opposite end of the Sky Bet Championship table.
Davis scored his first after only 17 seconds - thought to be the second fastest goal in Forest's history - before adding a spectacular second to make it 2-0.
Steve Cooper's side made certain of three points as Ryan Yates scored his fourth goal in six games, before substitute Sam Surridge rounded things off.
The only concern for Cooper will have been injuries sustained by Max Lowe and Steve Cook, who limped off late on.
Paul Ince's Reading side were more than in the game in the first half but were blown away in the second, as they suffered a third consecutive defeat.
Forest could hardly have made a better start, with that lightning strike from Davis coming direct from kick-off.
Joe Worrall picked out Djed Spence in acres of space down the right and he delivered an inch-perfect ball into the centre, where Davis took a touch and turned in a single motion, before forcing the ball home.
There were only 17 seconds on the clock, which was three seconds behind Jack Lester who netted in 14 seconds against Norwich in March 2000.
Forest goalkeeper Ethan Horvath had to make an impressive, alert save to deny Michael Morrison from close range.
And Reading should have been level just before half-time following superb work from Tom Ince, who drove into space down the left before delivering a perfect cross to the far post where Josh Laurent sent a powerful downward header bouncing the wrong side of the upright.
Forest saw Cook send a spectacular volley over the crossbar in the early stages of the second half, while Scott McKenna was inches away from connecting with another superb free-kick delivery from James Garner.
Royals goalkeeper Luke Southwood did brilliantly to tip away a cross-shot from Spence, but there was no stopping Davis as Forest made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute.
Worrall fed him the ball 30 yards from goal and the big striker turned brilliantly to lose his marker before rampaging towards goal and unleashing a precise, unstoppable finish from the edge of the box, which found the net off the inside of the far post.
Forest made certain of the points in the 75th minute as they scored a spectacular third. Spence tormented down the right side before feeding Yates 20 yards from goal, from where he lashed a low shot into the bottom corner.
And it was 4-0 five minutes later as two subs combined, with Xande Silva crossing for Surridge to confidently sweep home.
Nottingham Forest's Steve Cooper: "It was a brilliant start to the game, not just because we scored but because of how we scored. We fell short in the rest of the first half when it came to our performance levels. We needed half-time and I was ready to gee the lads up, shall we say…but I read the mood in the dressing room and they were already doing that amongst themselves, in the way that they were talking to each other. They did it themselves.
"But they needed a reminder of the team we want to be - and we were that team in the second half. The game was played in the Reading half. We were brave, we moved the ball a lot quicker, we played more as a team, and I always felt the second goal was coming. It was a brilliant second goal from Keinan - and the third and fourth were equally good. We got into good positions and, when we do that, we know we have the technical ability to score."
Reading's interim manager Paul Ince: "To lose a goal that quickly was just unacceptable. We dug in after that in the first half and had two very good chances to equalise. Michael Morrison might have scored and Josh Laurent should have, although he was excellent today. But when the second goal went in, for some reason, we just capitulated. We have a soft belly and you can see why this team has conceded goals in the past. They need to dig in and they are not digging in. That is disappointing, because it is us going back to old habits.
"We are in a dogfight and teams like Barnsley, Peterborough and Derby - they are fighting and scrapping. We have to scrap as well and we didn't do that today. I told the players in no uncertain terms that I'm not going to put up with that. That second half was embarrassing. This is a team that has been playing nice football for two years. Now we have a fight on our hands and we need to change our mentality. We have Bournemouth away on Tuesday and we have to go there with a different mentality."