Nottingham Forest 4-0 Reading: Fantastic Forest run riot against uninspired Royals
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Keinan Davis bagged a double as Nottingham Forest swept Reading aside in a 4-0 win at the City Ground to keep their play-off ambitions alive.

The win stretched Forest's unbeaten run to eight games in all competitions, with Steve Cooper's side moving to within two points of the Championship play-off places.

On the other hand, Paul Ince's Reading fell to their third-straight defeat to remain just four points above the drop zone.

Story of the game

Relegation-threatened Reading had to go without their star midfielder John Swift, who had contributed to over half of the Royals' league goals this season going into the game.

To make matters worse, the visitors were undone inside the first 30 seconds of the game, as Djed Spence was set away down the right flank, finding Davis in the middle of the penalty area.

The big forward swivelled and finished into the bottom right corner with ease to give Forest the earliest of leads.

Embed from Getty Images

Chances were not free-flowing in the first half after the chaotic first minute, with the hosts happy to control possession and dictate the game's tempo in their favour having grabbed to lead early on.

Unsurprisingly, Spence was the main outlet for Forest's attacks, causing Tom McIntyre all sorts of problems down the right-hand side with his pace and skill.

The latter fouled the former in a dangerous position for James Garner to deliver a free-kick, which he duly delivered; however, the ball evaded the cluster of Forest bodies in the Reading penalty area.

Reading's best chance of the half came from a defensive mishap from a corner as the hosts failed to clear their lines. This presented an opportunity for Royals’ skipper Michael Morrison only a couple of yards from goal, but Ethan Horvath was alert to the danger and spread his body well to save the close-range shot.

Despite first-choice Brice Samba returning from suspension, the American keeper Horvath retained his spot in goal for Cooper's side. Horvath had kept two clean sheets in his four games standing in for Samba going into this one and showed his capabilities in goal to deny Morrison an equaliser.

On the cusp of half-time, some brilliant play from Tom Ince gave Josh Laurent a golden chance to equalise for Reading, as Ince breezed past first-half substitute Cafu and crossed in from the left towards the midfielder, who headed just wide 10 yards out from goal.

Garner was on point with his dead-ball delivery all afternoon and early in the second half almost found the head of Steve Cook with an in-swinging free-kick from the left, which ultimately flew just wide of the opposite post.

Moreover, the home side started the second period with more urgency than they ended the first, creating a handful of half-chances in the opening 10 minutes of the half.

The best was a driven cross-shot from the ever-dangerous Spence forcing Luke Southwood to stretch outwards from his goal to push the ball away from danger.

The hosts continued to be the aggressors as the half progressed and found a deserved second goal when Davis slipped past two Reading midfielders before surging into the area and firing a curling effort into the net via the left post.

Reading could not get a foothold in the game after the break and lacked the punch in the attacking third to challenge a Forest side full of confidence and energy due to their recent form.

It only got worse for the visitors as the game progressed, with Ryan Yates putting the game to bed with just over 10 minutes left to play with a vicious strike from distance that flew past Smallwood into the bottom right corner of the net.

Embed from Getty Images

A fourth goal followed swiftly after, with Sam Surridge finishing off another lovely team move, with the hosts showing no mercy for their struggling opponents, breezing to a four-goal victory without a scratch.

Man of the match

Nottingham ForestDjed Spence

Embed from Getty Images

With two assists, four dribbles completed, and three aerial duels won in the game, Spence put in the work on both ends of the pitch and was a vital part of a dominant home win for Forest.

His delivery was pinpoint to set up the first and last goal in the rout, and he had opposing full-back, McIntyre, retreating every time he received the ball on the right-hand side.