Nottingham Forest 1-2 Blackburn Rovers: Late Lenihan header extends Nottingham Forest's early season woes
Blackburn Rovers celebrate their late winner at the City Ground, as Darragh Lenihan heads Rovers into the top six at the expense of Nottingham Forest who are slumped at the bottom of the division. 
(Photo by Matthew Lewis via Getty Images)

Darragh Lenihan's late header condemned Nottingham Forest to a third consecutive 2-1 defeat in the Sky Bet Championship, in a result that sees them routed second bottom of the division without a solitary point. 

An impressive strike from Philip Zinckernagel afforded the Reds a lifeline this evening after Daniel Ayala broke the deadlock, but yet another late goal saw Chris Hughton's side limp to yet another defeat. 

  • Story of the match

A bright start from the Reds saw Blackburn stopper Thomas Kaminski forced into two early stops. Philip Zinckernagel linked up well with Lewis Grabban before firing an effort low at the Belgian international. 

Grabban was then denied by a smart low stop, as he cut in from the left and arrowed his effort low and hard but Kaminski was once again equal to the opportunity to spare an early lead. 

Alex Mighten made himself a nuisance to the Rovers defence from the first whistle, and he carved open the next Forest chance. With space to dart into from the left side once again, Mighten worked himself into the space and fired a powerful effort across goal, that bobbled wide of the upright. 

Brice Samba was alert on 20 minutes to make a fantastic point-blank save, that looked certain to ripple the net. A piercing and impressive run from Joe Rothwell saw him break away from three red shirts, before slotting across the area for John Buckley who was averted by Samba after making himself wide in the Forest net. 

A direct and persistent run from Brennan Johnson that started from the half-way line eventually ended inside Blackburn's 18-yard area, as he skipped past a number of Rovers shirts. The bright run wasn't rewarded however, as the visitors threw bodies back behind the ball to fend off the danger. 

The Reds backed themselves into a corner and invited pressure as the half grew older, with both Tyrhys Dolan and Buckley firing chances towards Samba, who denied on both occasions to see the game head into the interval goal-less. 

After finishing the first-half in the ascendancy, Blackburn started the second in the same fashion and were rewarded just moments after the whistle. 

Former Forest defender Ayala rose the highest inside the area to head home Harry Pickering's free-kick, for his for first goal in Rovers colours. 

The game slowed down and became lacklustre, quiet and uneventful in the next 20 minutes that followed Blackburn's opener. With dogged tackles becoming the trend of the second-half, a moment of magic was needed.

And up stepped Zinckernagel. The Danish international continued his dazzling start to life on Trentside with a beautiful strike to put the hosts back on level terms. He cut in from the left and darted an effort towards goal, and with a little help from the post it clipped the woodwork and rippled the net to set up an interesting conclusion at the City Ground. 

A lively and dangerous move from substitute Harry Chapman helped advance Blackburn into the final third and he squared across for Buckley stung the palms of Samba with a drilled effort from just outside the box. 

Conceding late goals have become a club personality trait of Forest's, and they were subjected to yet another tonight. 

After an almighty scramble inside the area, Lenihan latched onto the second ball and headed home Blackburn's second and the winner from close range. 

Forest's night went further downhill before the whistle, with Jordan Gabriel swiftly receiving two yellow cards, that converted into a red and saw his night end four minutes early. 

The result this evening leaves Forest without a point after three games, with only goal difference keeping them off the bottom of the division. 

Tony Mowbray's Blackburn have enjoyed quite the opposing start to the campaign, and are flying high with seven points from nine in the play-off positions in these early stages of the 2021/22 season. 

  • Takeaways 

A change of system is drastically needed!

It's plain and simple, Forest are currently far too easy to set up against. The mainstay 4-3-2-1 formation has been the set-up for two seasons, with only a handful of occasions it has differed. 

The midfield looks slow, drab and attacking opportunities are few and far between. Despite Hughton having a smaller squad to choose from, he needs to tweak his methods both tactically and stylistically if the Reds are to start climbing up the table. 

New additions are a must 

Although it's great to see the likes of Fin Back and other Forest academy graduates get their chances in the first team, the need for new additions as the window ticks on, is imperative. 

New arrival Jordi Osei-Tutu limped off in the early exchanges, and Forest were forced to introduce Back who has no Championship experience. 

After a lowly 17th placed finish, managed expectation is needed on Trentside. However, at the very least this squad should be fearsome and competitive, which at this current moment isn't at the desired level without further first-team and squad depth additions. 

  • Man of the match 

Lewis Travis

Despite neither scoring nor setting up any of Blackburn's goals this evening, Travis displayed a complete midfield performance. 

Travis was hardworking and a key component in a midfield that trounced the Reds in the centre of the park. 

He completed four clearances, made six successful tackles, won 17 duals including both ground and aerial, whilst also completing three successful dribbles. It's a display that Rovers fans can be proud of, and one they'll be wanting to see more of as the season progresses.