Derby have now won six games in a row under Steve McClaren as his side recorded a comprehensive 3-0 victory against bitter rivals Forest in the Championship to move into the play-off places.
A tight first-half encounter
Forest were dealt a huge blow before the match had even begun as influential midfielder Henri Lansbury, who had recently won Player of the Month, had to pull out with a hamstring injury in the warm-up. Britt Assombalonga also failed to shrug off his hamstring injury in time for the fixture.
It didn’t take long for the match to turn feisty as there was an early confrontation between Ben Osborn and Bradley Johnson which resulted in a huge melee before both players were eventually booked.
Both Derby and Forest went into the game in good form with the hosts having won their last five league matches and Forest their last three. This was shown in a very tight and cagey opening half hour.
It was Derby who managed to make the breakthrough before half-time with a huge dose of luck. Forest striker Nicklas Bendtner was the unlucky man as he headed Tom Ince’s corner into his own net after it had been flicked on by Richard Keogh.
A huge moment in the game came just before half-time as Matty Cash found himself with space on the edge of the box but fired his low shot straight at Ram’s keeper Scott Carson when he should have scored.
Lack of fight from Forest
The Rams came out firing on all cylinders in the second-half looking to kill the game off. Chris Baird’s ball caused the Forest defence all sorts of problems and allowed Tom Ince to sneak into the area before toe-poking his effort beyond Forest keeper Vladamir Stojkovic who could do nothing.
Forest were suddenly all over the place defensively and found themselves hardly being able to string a pass together. This allowed Derby to make it 3-0 in the 64th minute and secure the three points as Will Hughes capitalised on Stojkovic parrying Johnny Russell’s effort.
Forest manager Philippe Montanier substituted Hilderberto Pereira on in the 70th minute and he looked bright but it was already too late for him to make a difference on the outcome of the match. David Vaughan replaced Matty Cash in the 84th minute despite the fact many fans believed Vaughan should have been starting following Lansbury’s last minute omission.
A good chance to bounce back
Despite this poor result putting an end to what was a good run of form for Forest, they have two winnable home games coming up this week.
Both Preston North End and Wolverhampton Wanderers will visit the City Ground on Wednesday and Saturday respectively and Montanier’s men will see this as a good chance to wipe this derby defeat out of the memory.
Forest currently find themselves 16th in the Championship, seven points off the play-offs and five points off the relegation places. If Forest were to secure two home victories next week, it would make for a much happier Christmas for Reds fans.
As for Derby, six wins in a row has propelled them to 5th place in the league. They will be looking to continue their fine form but have some tough games before Christmas.
These include Queens Park Rangers away on Wednesday night followed by another trip to the capital to face Fulham on Saturday. However, they will be going into both full of confidence following this superb derby win.