Huddersfield 0-2 Nottingham Forest: Lewis Grabban is on target and Lee Nicholls scores own goal as Forest finally have something to cheer about in first game since Chris Hughton’s departure
- Nottingham Forest secured a morale-boosting 2-0 win away to Huddersfield
- Lewis Grabban made it 1-0 with Lee Nicholls then scoring an own goal
- Steven Reid took caretaker charge following Chris Hughton’s departure
At last, a shaft of brightness to pierce the thick gloom at Nottingham Forest.
With the kind of effective performance seen so seldom under Chris Hughton, they rounded off yet another trying week with their first Championship win of the season.
It’s funny how fortunes can turn, sometimes even within the space of a couple of days.
Nottingham Forest won 2-0 against Huddersfield to bring some much needed joy to the club
Huddersfield goalkeeper Lee Nicholls was left dejected after he scored an own goal
Following the sacking of Chris Hughton, Steven Reid was placed in temporary charge of Forest
On Thursday, when Forest fired Hughton the morning after their sixth defeat from seven league games this season, they were football’s laughing stock once more.
Such a churn of managers – they’re searching for a 20th since 2011 – inevitably invites mockery as they propped up the second tier.
But by 5pm on Saturday, as Forest’s happy travelling support sang ‘Derby’s going down with a fiver in the bank’, they weren’t even the most troubled club in the East Midlands.
Joe Lolley sent the ball in which caused problems for Nicholls as he scored an own goal
The Forest players celebrate after Lewis Grabban scored the opener in the 22nd minute
If the prospect of Derby’s 21-point deduction provided succour after a grim few days, goals from Lewis Grabban and Joe Lolley in this win at Huddersfield put real spring in the step.
Forest may still be bottom of the standings but here was a building block with Steve Cooper waiting in the wings to become their new manager.
Huddersfield Town (3-4-2-1): Nicholls; Pearson (Turton 46), Lees, Colwill; Thomas, Hogg (c), O’Brien, Toffolo; Sinani, Koroma (Holmes 58); Ward (Odubeko 58)
Substitutes not used: Bilokapic (GK); Vallejo, Campbell, Sarr
Manager: Carlos Corberan
Booked: Ward, Turton
Nottingham Forest (3-4-2-1): Samba; Worrall, Figueiredo, McKenna; Spence (Richardson 79), Yates, Garner, Lowe; Johnson (Colback 79), Lolley (Mighten 61); Grabban (c)
Substitutes not used: Horvath (GK); Mbe Soh, Cafu, Taylor
Caretaker manager: Steven Reid
Scorers: Grabban 22; Lolley 49
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire)
Attendance: 17,462 (1,951 away)
One of the numerous criticisms during Hughton’s tenure was that Forest played too negatively and were far more concerned with keeping the ball out of their own net than finding their opponents’.
Invariably, they would concede anyway and then lacked the capability to respond. Steven Reid may only be in caretaker charge but he was clearly determined not to fall into that trap.
Reid only had 48 hours to prepare for this fixture but once the action started it was obvious he wanted Forest to at least try and seize the initiative.
Their football in spells was as bright as their luminous lime and orange third kit and it paid off handsomely in a desperately-needed victory.
In fairness to Huddersfield, it was nigh on impossible to second guess how Forest would set up under their caretaker boss and they were visibly taken aback by the strugglers’ intent early on.
Brennan Johnson, 20, is one of the most exciting prospects to emerge from Forest’s academy in a long time and he was granted licence to run at Huddersfield down the right.
And that paid off spectacularly for the opening goal after 22 minutes. Chelsea loanee Levi Colwill just wasn’t able to get close enough to Johnson as he sprinted his way clear down the touchline.
Sensing the dart of Grabban in the centre, Johnson whipped in the perfect cross that Forest’s skipper met with a near-post diving header to beat Lee Nicholls.
It prompted an explosion of joy and relief in a packed away end after another inglorious week in Forest’s recent history.
Huddersfield took some time to spark and despite a few corners could only carve out one noteworthy opening before half-time.
Josh Koroma’s through pass picked out Harry Toffolo inside the Forest box but keeper Brice Samba reacted quickly to smother the ball.
James Garner attempts to push forward for Forest while being pursued by Danel Sinani
Lewis O’Brien of Huddersfield Town evades challenges from Ryan Yates and Garner
And just three minutes after the break, Forest stung Huddersfield for a second time.
An initial 20-yard shot by Ryan Yates was pushed out by Nicholls but not to safety. Lolley picked the ball up and despite the tight angle fired for goal, finding the net via a deflection.
Huddersfield still had over 40 minutes to mount a fightback and they continued to boss possession without doing all that much with it.
Duane Holmes saw a shot deflected wide as the game entered the final 10 minutes and from the corner Tom Lees sent a free header wide.