Nottingham Forest end their miserable home form with a 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers in the Championship on Saturday afternoon.
Alex Mighten got Forest off to a bright start with a strike from the line of the 18-yard-box after 25 minutes. Mighten's effort took a deflection which looped the ball over Rovers keeper, Thomas Kaminski.
Rovers were gifted an opportunity to equalise in the second half when Brice Samba brought down Ryan Nyambe in the box. Adam Armstrong waltzed up to the penalty spot with confidence, and if he had struck the ball like he approached it - he may have scored. Instead, he hit the ball in a perfect area for Samba to pardon himself for his mistake which led to the penalty.
Story of the game
After a stop-start opening to the game, the first clear-cut chance fell to Anthony Knockaert who had an effort cleared off the line. The winger played a wonderful one-two with Glenn Murray before he danced around a challenge then finally struck the ball. Knockaert's left-footed strike was goal-bound but Ryan Nyambe was there for the Rovers to clear off the line.
Mighten opened the scoring for Forest, it came after Rovers failed to clear their lines from a dangerous Knockaert free-kick. Mighten pounced on the loose clearance and hit it from the edge of the box before it was deflected over Kaminski - who had no chance.
Murray nearly doubled Forest's lead moments later but his snatched effort went narrowly wide.
Rovers' best opportunity came when Adam Armstrong set Lewis Travis up for a strike from outside the box. Travis's strike was struck straight at Samba who collected the ball with ease.
As half-time approached, both sides hit the woodwork. It was Knockaert again who caused the Rovers defence issues as he put in a teasing ball for James Garner to get his head on. Garner's headed attempt struck the bar and he was unfortunate not to score. Moments later, Armstrong's powerful strike hammered the post for Blackburn but nobody was there for the rebound.
Action resurfaced after a poor start to the second half from both sides when Cyrus Christie found acres of space open itself up and he struck the post with a ferocious strike. Substitute, Lyle Taylor, had an open goal to tap the ball home but put it wide.
Rovers took the ball up the other end and Samba brought down Nyambe, the goalkeeper could have no complaints and a penalty was given.
Samba made amends for his mistake with an exceptional penalty save, it was Armstrong who stepped up but Samba read him like a book and parried it wide.
From there, Forest remained solid at the back and managed the game well for their first victory at home in over a month.
Garner is getting the game time he needs - and making the most of it
Garner's first loan spell at Watford did not follow the plan Manchester United set out. The 19-year-old struggled for game time after the Hornets brought in new manager, Xisco Munoz. However, Garner did make a positive start to life at Vicarage Road, but United felt he could get more game time under Houghton at Forest.
The young English midfielder made his debut for United in a 3-1 victory against Crystal Palace in February 2019. Since then, he made seven appearances for United's first team but the Norwegian boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, felt it was time for the midfielder to find game time: "Of course he needs that game time and exposure and the Championship is a very good level of football."
Hughton has now granted Garner five starts in a row and the midfielder has built quite the rapport with their fans. Garner has impressed Forest fans with his passing over distance, the ability to switch the play and finding attackers in behind defenders. For United fans, this may remind them of a certain someone. Solskjaer claimed he has great faith that Garner could be the next Michael Carrick and currently, Garner is not failing to impress.
Garner had a glorious flick-on header on the brink of half-time which struck the crossbar, it would have been an excellent goal for the youngster.
The only fault from Garner's performance against Blackburn on Saturday was his late challenges. At times, he misjudged the pace of the Rovers' tricky midfielders and brought them down in dangerous positions. Garner has plenty of time to learn the art of jockeying his opponent before lunging into a challenge.
He looked confident on the ball, he was not afraid to make a crunching tackle and his team-mates believe in his ability on the ball. They trust the midfielder to turn and kick-start their transition from defence to attack.
Playing a deep-lying midfield role did not present Garner the opportunity to get forward often, but he did express some nifty ball movement to beat an opponent and release the ball down the channels for the wide men to run onto. That part of his game is something that will bode well in Solskjaer's book as United do look to include wide players whenever possible.