Nottingham Forest 3-0 Ipswich Town: Assombalonga brace helps Reds secure Championship survival

Nottingham Forest secured their safety in the Championship after they beat Ipswich Town 3-0 at a sold-out City Ground on Sunday afternoon. 

Wins elsewhere for both Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City meant that Forest needed three points to remain in the division and goals from Britt Assombalonga and Chris Cohen helped them on their way to doing just that. 

A tense first-half

Mark Warburton included both Jamie Ward and Matt Mills in the starting line-up as he opted for experience in what was a crucial clash for the club. Mills came in as part of a three man defence alongside Michael Mancienne and Joe Worrall

The home side came out on the front foot and put Ipswich under immense pressure within the first two minutes. Ward had the first effort of the game as he cut in and sent his shot just wide of the far post. 

Early news from elsewhere was not good and The City Ground fell quiet as both Blackburn and Birmingham took early leads. It could have got even worse for the Reds if Jordan Smith had not kept out Grant Ward's effort with a good low save. 

Forest had their first big chance of the game as Ben Osborn's cross from the left picked out Eric Lichaj but he could not keep his shot down as it went miles over the bar. 

Then came arguably the biggest moment of the match. Ipswich put Forest's defence under considerable pressure before the ball fell perfectly for Dominic Samuel but his shot was pushed onto the bar by Smith, a world class piece of goalkeeping to keep Forest level. 

Just minutes later, that save looked even more pivotal as Ward was taken down by Ipswich keeper Bartosz Bialkowski before the referee pointed to the spot. Assombalonga stepped up and dispatched his penalty into the top corner to put Forest 1-0 up. 

Reds dominate to secure survival

Just minutes after news circulated around the ground that Brentford had pulled a goal back against Blackburn, Forest managed to get themselves further in front. Chris Cohen let fly from 25 yards as his shot deflected into the top corner to make it 2-0 to Forest on his 300th appearance for the club. 

Forest players celebrate scoring against Ipswich in crucial clash. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)
Forest players celebrate scoring against Ipswich in crucial clash. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)

Under ten minutes later, Forest were given the chance to put the game to bed from the penalty spot once more after Ward was taken down by Joshua Emmanuel as he raced through on goal. However, Assombalonga was this time thwarted by Bialkowski in the Ipswich net.

It did not take Assombalonga long to make up for his miss from the spot as in the 69th minute he was played in by David Vaughan before he blasted his effort home from a difficult angle into the top left hand corner to make it 3-0 to Forest.

Forest were reduced to 10 men with minutes to play as Osborn was forced off with injury with the Reds already having used all of their substitutions. However, it had no bearing on the result and Forest were able to hang on for a precious three points and their Championship survival. 

Rovers relegated to League One

Despite their remarkable 3-1 win away at Brentford, wins for both Forest and Birmingham has seen Blackburn Rovers relegated to League One on goal difference alone. 

The significance of this result for Forest is huge with the club close to being taken over by Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis. It has been a chaotic five years under current owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi which has seen the club finish progressively lower each year.

Jubilant scenes at The City Ground at full-time. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)
Jubilant scenes at The City Ground at full-time. (picture: Getty Images / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA)

However, now it appears a new era is finally on the horizon. Warburton has already stated how he expects it to be a busy summer of outgoings as he looks to trim the squad. He is also looking to bring in four quality signings to help Forest be competitive next season.