Nottingham Forest  2 v 1 Brentford: Forest survive late scare to clinch maximum points
Matty Cash and Henrik Dalsgaard battle for the ball via Getty Images

Nottingham Forest  2 v 1 Brentford: Forest survive late scare to clinch maximum points

Nottingham Forest won 2-1 against Brentford at the City Ground. 

matthew-wojciow
Matthew Wojciow

A Lewis Grabban strike and a Molla Wague header 11 minutes from time was enough to give Martin O'Neill his second victory as Nottingham Forest boss. Sergi Canos did make things interesting when he pulled a goal back, late on but it wasn't enough in the end.

This loss was Brentford's first since the 15th December against Hull City.

Story of the game

Forest started the game off very well, they were applying a lot of pressure on the Brentford back line which was causing the visitors to make mistakes. 

The first real chance of the game did come to the visitors though, as Said Benrahma found space at the top of the Forest box and curled one towards goal. It was however, easily dealt with by Costel Pantilimon.

Brentford had another chance when Ollie Watkins hit a driven cross across the box, which was spilt but Pantilimon but no one in brown and orange could take advantage. 

Forest did take the lead with their first chance of the game. A long ball up from the back found Lewis Grabban, who outmuscled Julian Jeanvier and at the second attempt slotted the ball into the Brentford net. 

The Bees did come close, a couple of minutes later, when they had a free-kick about 30 yards out and Yoann Barbet hit a thunderous shot which was smartly saved by Pantilimon. 

A long throw-in into the box from Matty Cash, gave Joe Lolley, a great chance to make it two, but his header was well held by Daniel Bentley. Lolley then capitalised on a mistake by Ezrik Konsa and was able to cut it back to Leo Bonatini who scuffed his shot wide of the goal from seven yards out.

Brentford struggled to breakdown the stern Forest defence in the latter stages of the first half and couldn't really create any clear cut chances. Their best chance came on 33 minutes when a sliced clearance fell to Watkins, but his tame effort was easily held by Pantilimon.

Brentford did have a penalty appeal dismissed just before the break when Moses Odubajo was put through on goal and lifted the ball over the keeper only to be seemingly brought down, but no spot-kick was awarded. 

Forest started the second half just as well as the first, applying real pressure to Brentford and getting in great positions to make something happen. 

Forest almost made it 2-0, when substitute Diogo Goncalves was slid in and he was able to take it around Bentley and fired goalwards only for Henrik Dalsgaard to make a magnificent clearance off of the line to keep the Bees in it.

Forest had another great chance, seconds later when Grabban was again but through on goal but he poked his effort just wide of the goal. 

The Reds were almost made to rue those missed chances when Romaine Sawyers hit a powerful drive which cannoned back of the post and was eventually cleared to safety. 

Forest were awarded a penalty in the 65th-minute when Grabban was brought down in the box by Konsa, the striker got up to take the kick but was denied by a magnificent save from Bentley, who then saved the rebound. 

After the penalty, Brentford did grow into the game but were unable to find something against this rock solid Forest defence.

Forest did double their lead in the 79th-minute when the ball was whipped in from a corner on the right-hand side from Lolley. Bentley came out but missed the ball completely and substitute Wague nodded it into the empty Brentford net. 

Brentford thought they had a goal back five minutes from time, when Watkins found the net but it was ruled out by the assistant for offside. The Bees did pull a goal back in the 87th minute when, Canos was able to guide a shot into the bottom right corner of the net, to set up a grandstand finish.

Takeaways from the match

O'Neill has got Forest playing the right way

Forest were superb in every single department and thoroughly deserved the victory over Brentford. They applied pressure all over the pitch and caused the Bees players to make constant mistakes. The way Forest moved the ball throughout was superb and this result has really set up a mouthwatering game when Frank Lampard's Derby County visit the City Ground at the end of the month. 

Leo Bonatini might not be the answer but Grabban might be

The Brazilian Bonatini, moved on loan to Forest on deadline day from Wolves and he was really not firing in this game. It was a strange move to bring in Bonatini who may have scored 12 Championship goals last season but he has only scored once in any competition since the beginning of December 2017. Bonatini barely got on the ball and even when he was presented with a golden chance to score, he fluffed his lines.It was no surprise that he was withdrawn at half-time. Lewis Grabban, on the other hand, is a completely different kettle of fish. Grabban was unlucky not to have at least scored another, as his penalty was well struck but Bentley pulled off an amazing save to deny him. Grabban did have other chances in the game but was unable to add to his tally. Grabban deservedly got a standing ovation from the home supporters when he was taken off towards the end. 

No Real worry for Brentford

As previously mentioned, this was Brentford's first defeat in nearly two months and they weren't that bad in this game. Brentford were penned in pretty much all game by a superb Forest side. Brentford still sit 14 points clear of the bottom two. Brentford can take some positives from today's game as when they were able to get forward, they did cause Forest problems and they showed great determination to keep battling even when they went two goals down.

Man of the Match

Alexander Milosevic 

Making his home debut, Milosevic looked like he has been at Forest for years. In all honesty, any of the Forest defenders could have been made Man of the Match but given the circumstances Milosevic gets it. Milosevic had the unenviable task of dealing with one of the league's top scorers Neil Maupay today and he did that job expertly. Maupay was reduced to pot shots from horrible angles and was never really able to put his mark on the game. The credit for this must go to Milosevic. Milosevic will be disappointed not to keep a clean sheet though.

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