Nottingham Forest 0-1 Blackburn Rovers: Hoban winner puts Reds back in relegation dogfight

Tony Mowbray got just his third win in charge of Blackburn Rovers with a huge result as they beat fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest 1-0 at The City Ground.

It was a tight game throughout but Tommie Hoban powered a header home late on from a corner to gain Rovers a vital three points. 

A nervy encounter 

Mark Warburton and his side knew coming into this game that if they could follow up their 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town with another win, they could go a long way to securing their safety. 

He decided to name an unchanged side and it was Forest who had the first big opportunity of the game. Zach Clough found himself with acres of space in the area but his shot was deflected wide for a corner. 

A huge positive in the last few weeks for Rovers has been the emergence of Connor Mahoney. His quality was showing early on against the Reds and he had a free-kick which was inches away from finding the top corner with Jordan Smith beaten. 

Blackburn suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Barnsley last time out and their defensive frailties were made evident again here as a shocking back pass allowed Jamie Ward to race through on goal but he could not convert. 

Forest struggled to find the level reached against Huddersfield last week. (picture: Getty Images / Rachel Holborn - CameraSport)
Forest struggled to find the level reached against Huddersfield last week. (picture: Getty Images / Rachel Holborn - CameraSport)

Rovers continued to cause Forest problems with the Reds not getting close to the levels shown against Huddersfield just a week ago. Hope Akpan came within inches of giving the away side the lead as his header went just wide. 

17-year-old striker Ben Brereton has been a sensation for Forest in recent weeks and had two good chances to give Forest the lead before half-time. Jamie Ward played him in only for the youngster to see his shot deflected over the bar. Then on the stroke of half-time, Brereton attempted an audacious volley which was not far away. 

Rovers nick all three points

Warburton was clearly not impressed with Forest's first-half performance and decided to bring on Michael Mancienne on to replace Matt Mills as Forest reverted to a back four. 

Clough was denied by Rovers keeper David Raya as the Spaniard dived to his right to keep out his free-kick. Mancienne then saw his header go over the bar as Forest struggled to create many clear-cut chances. 

Britt Assombalonga came on in place of Ward as Forest looked to try and find the opening goal. However, it was Rovers who made the breakthrough in the 78th minute as Tommie Hoban headed home a corner to the away fans' delight. 

Blackburn have now got a fighting chance of survival. (picture: Getty Images / Rachel Holborn - CameraSport
Blackburn have now got a fighting chance of survival. (picture: Getty Images / Rachel Holborn - CameraSport)

Forest only created one chance to grab an equaliser and it fell to Assombalonga as he shot on the turn but found himself kept out by a superb save by Raya. 

Forest dragged right back into trouble

Just when Forest fans were starting to look forward to the prospect of another season in The Championship, they were dealt a huge blow by losing to a Rovers side who had only won two games away from home all season. 

The Reds did not do enough to claim all three points and Rovers' resilience was there for all to see as they managed to nick the win late on and give themselves a fighting chance of survival.

The race for survival is now really picking up with a trio of huge clashes to come on Easter Monday. Forest travel to Wales to take on a Cardiff City side revitalised under Neil Warnock, whilst Blackburn host Bristol City and Birmingham City host Burton Albion.

VAVEL Logo