The Warmdown: Nottingham Forest have to settle for the play-offs as Bournemouth earn promotion
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - MAY 03: Nottingham Forest players enter a huddle prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between AFC Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest at Vitality Stadium on May 03, 2022 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Bournemouth’s strong home form was enough to see the Cherries promoted back to the Premier League after a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest. 

Bournemouth’s ninth game unbeaten at the Vitality Stadium sealed promotion for Scott Parker’s side but leaves Forest inside the play-off places.

The Reds can only finish third or fourth now and the final day of this campaign will decide who they play over two legs between Sheffield United, Luton Town, Middlesbrough and Millwall

Key refereeing decision changed the game

Forest may not have deserved a win after their second half display, but it was a big moment in the first half that left fans wondering what could have been. 

James Garner slipped the ball through to Sam Surridge, who took it in his stride and headed towards the goalkeeper. After being wiped out by Mark Travers, the linesman raised his flag and adjudged Surridge to be offside. 

However, looking back at the replay, it appears that Surridge was clearly onside before he was impeded. Steve Cooper told the media that referee Stuart Attwell and his assistant “held their hands up” afterwards. 

He said: “When the referee has asked to see me and apologised, held his hands up, it doesn’t make it any better. I think he’s tried to soften me up, to be honest, because he knows he and the linesman have made a huge error.”

Poor second half display from Forest

Although a key refereeing decision went against Forest, the second half display wasn’t good enough to see the Reds close in on automatic promotion. 

Forest had five goal attempts in the first half with two on target and a Sam Surridge strike hitting the crossbar, but the second half was all Bournemouth. 

The Reds had 43% possession, two shots on goal, but none on target. Bournemouth had control of the midfield from the start of the second half and Forest were forced to send aimless, direct balls forward, an unfamiliar game to them. 

Forest lost their way throughout the second half and didn’t play their own style but will be hoping to bounce back in the play-offs. Steve Cooper’s team have bounced back on several occasions this season and haven’t lost three in a row under the Welshman. If Forest continue that trend, they may just well find promotion through the play-offs. 

Forest missed Keinan Davis

The hold-up play and sheer physicality of Keinan Davis was something Forest missed during this game. 

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The Reds needed someone to take the ball and bully defenders away before allowing the rest of the team to move forward, which didn’t happen. 

Sam Surridge and Brennan Johnson have been immense for Forest this season and are out-and-out goal scorers, but Forest were unable to get them into the game. 

The forward duo had 42 touches between them, whereas Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke had 59 touches himself. 

If Keinan Davis is to recover just in time for the play-offs, it would be a massive boost for the club. The variety of Davis, Sam Surridge and Brennan Johnson would offer up multiple styles of play and further options for Steve Cooper, which will be necessary going into such big games.