Jason Cummings and Kieran Dowell on target as Nottingham Forest end losing run with victory


Nottingham Forest got back to winning ways as they claimed a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sheffield United at the City Ground.

The Reds fell behind early on as John Lundstram found the back of the net, but they turned it around before the break as Jason Cummings claimed his first league goal for the club and Kieran Dowell put them in front.

A bright start to the second half then saw them come under pressure for long spells as the Blades desperately battled for an equaliser. But Forest hung on to bring to an end a four-match losing streak.

Boss Mark Warburton made just one change to the XI which fell 3-1 at home to Fulham in midweek, with Danny Fox coming in for the suspended Matt Mills.

But it was the Blades who made the better start, taking the lead in just the third minute.

Quick out the blocks, the visitors piled forward from kick-off and put their hosts under pressure.

Enda Stevens beat Tendayi Darikwa with ease down Forest’s right-hand side and delivered a good cross into the centre, where Lundstram was on hand to sweep home.

Sheffield United celebrate taking an early lead

Still, the Reds were not behind for long – barely six minutes, in fact.

Ben Osborn and Cummings combined down the right, with the former seeing a cross deflected behind for a corner.

It was Osborn who took it, and although the flag-kick wasn’t the best, United struggled to clear and Joe Worrall was able to keep the move alive. Cummings then fired home from 16 yards out to draw his side level.

But with Forest looking vulnerable at the back, United summoned a response and put them on the back foot.

Sheffield United celebrate taking an early lead

Lundstram shot wide after Worrall did well to thwart Mark Duffy in the box, then, with 19 minutes gone, George Baldock did have the ball in the back of the net. Flicking in a Duffy cross, the offside flag put a swift end to any celebrations.

Baldock had another go soon after, blasting over the bar from range, but it was the Reds who claimed the third goal of the afternoon.

Darikwa burst forward down the right and sent a cross to the far post, which Daryl Murphy volleyed back across goal. Dowell showed no hesitation and lashed it straight into the bottom corner to give his team the lead with 27 minutes on the clock.

And although there were still a few heart-stopping moments at the back, Warburton’s side did begin to look brighter.

Sheffield United celebrate taking an early lead

A switch to a 4-4-2 formation helped, and they went close to grabbing a third goal.

Cummings drew a good save from Jamal Blackman as the half-time whistle neared. It stemmed from a driving run by Armand Traore on the counter-attack, and though Murphy was blocked in the box, the ball fell kindly for his strike partner to have a pop.

Murphy was then not too far away with a header and Cummings perhaps could have done better with an effort in the closing minutes which he rushed and drilled wide.

Forest needed Fox to be alert just before the interval, however, as he diverted a shot from Chris Basham to keep his side ahead at half-time.

Jason Cummings celebrates scoring

They went close to extending that advantage early in the second period.

A lovely forward move ended with a shot from Osborn from inside the box, after being teed up by Murphy, which took a large deflection and narrowly went the wrong side of the post.

And then substitute Andreas Bouchalakis just missed the target with a header from Cummings’ cross.

Gradually, though, United began to come more into the game and the Reds lost some of that early spark.

Jason Cummings celebrates scoring

The hosts were put under pressure for a spell as the visitors searched for an equaliser, without causing Jordan Smith too many problems in goal.

With little more than 15 minutes to go, Forest had a decent chance to give themselves some breathing space when Darikwa played in Dowell, but the on-loan Everton man sent his effort sailing over the bar from the edge of the area.

And an attempt from Murphy went the same way with a shot on the turn from inside the area as he did well to hold off his marker.

The visitors, though, continued to press in the closing minutes and Forest had to be on their guard to clear a well-worked free-kick routine.

Kieran Dowell fires the ball into the back of the net to give Forest the lead

Smith then superbly pushed away a stinging effort from Duffy in the 90th minute after the Blades winger cut inside from the left, before Cameron Carter-Vickers saw a header crash back off the post and hacked away.

It was a nervy final few minutes for the home crowd, but the Reds clung on to their advantage to claim all three points.

Kieran Dowell celebrates after scoring

Forest: Smith, Worrall, Fox (Bouchalakis 46), Mancienne, Darikwa, Bridcutt, Dowell (Clough 80), Osborn, Traore, Cummings (Brereton 76), Murphy. Subs: Henderson, Lichaj, McKay, Walker.

Sheffield United: Blackman, Baldock (Wright 34), Stevens, Fleck, O’Connell, Basham, Lundstram (Brooks 61), Donaldson (Clarke 57), Coutts, Carter-Vickers, Duffy. Subs not used: Moore, Sharp, Lafferty, Carruthers.

Attendance: 25,700 (2,005 away).



…continue on post

LEAVE A REPLY