Nottingham Forest suffer their sixth defeat in their seven opening games to leave Chris Hughton on the brink of the sack after Middlesbrough secure a 2-0 victory
- Striker Andraz Sporar scored his first goal for Middlesbrough in the 24th minute
- Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath gifted Onel Hernandez the chance to double the lead
- Forest have lost six of their seven opening games – their worst start in 108 years
- Chris Hughton’s side sit at rock bottom of the table after securing only one point
- The 2-0 win for Neil Warnock’s men sees them climb above Preston into 12th
Chris Hughton appears on the brink of losing his job at Nottingham Forest as they stayed rooted at the bottom of The Championship with one point from seven games.
Goals in each half from Andraz Sporar and Onel Hernandez saw Forest booed off as visiting fans chanted ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ and Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis could even act before Saturday’s game against Huddersfield with Chris Wilder, Steve Cooper and John Terry in the frame.
Hughton’s poor run was underlined when he swapped goalkeepers for Wednesday night’s game and watched in horror as newcomer Ethan Horvath blundered for Boro’s killer second goal after 72 minutes.
Andraz Sporar handed Middlebrough the lead in the first-half with a 24th minute strike
Ethan Horvath’s miscontrolled pass gifted Onel Hernandez the chance to double the lead
Hernandez tapped home to secure the victory for Neil Warnock’s side and 12th in the table
After presiding over Nottingham Forest’s worst start for 108 years, Hughton took the big gamble to drop goalkeeper Brice Samba and hand a Championship debut to American Horvath who arrived from Club Brugge over the summer.
With the City Ground lively, Horvath was a spectator for the early part of the game as Forest pressed forward with Philip Zickernagel and Brennan Johnson testing Joe Lumley in the visitor’s goal.
Manchester United loanee James Garner also shot wide after a flowing move as Hughton tried to fight against his reputation as an overly-cautious coach.
It was a promising opening quarter for the strugglers but when you’re bottom, everything seems to go against you and Middlesbrough took the lead with their first serious threat on goal after 24 minutes.
Chris Hughton’s job hangs by a thread after Forest suffer their worst start in 108 years
It was an undoubtedly fine strike by Slovenian striker Andraz Sporar who let fly from 25 yards and saw the ball smash into the roof of the net for his first Boro goal since a deadline day loan move from Sporting Lisbon.
At the same time, there have to be question marks over how he was allowed to charge forward towards goal without facing a challenge as he collected a pass from Marcus Tavernier.
The away section immediately started chanting ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ towards 62-year-old Hughton who stood pensive in his technical area, his smart dark sweater and slacks contrasting sharply with Neil Warnock’s tracksuit attire.
The 2-0 loss was Forest’s sixth defeat from seven games, earning just one point this season
The setback quietened the crowd and Boro found a new spring in their step and nearly added a second through Matt Crook, again from a Tavernier assist.
At the other end, Joe Worrall hit a half-chance to equalise into the ground and boos greeted the Forest players as they trudged off at half-time.
There were groans at the start of the second period too as Horvath was the busier as Boro tried to settle the game quickly. The impact of Sporar was in stark contrast to Forest’s main striker Lyle Taylor who looked low on confidence as he failed to reach a cross by Johnson that flashed across the six-yard box.
At least Johnson’s running down the right gave the home fans hope and Lee Peltier earned a yellow card for dragging back Forest’s danger man.
As the chants of ‘Come on You Reds’ reverberated, Zickernagel’s corner summed up the team’s plight, overhit and sailing over any number of targets in the penalty area.
Lewis Grabban’s desperate effort from 25 yards shortly before the hour was just as wayward.
Things got heated as Crook was booked for a challenge on Garner and Hughton threw on Joe Lolley and debutant Xande Silva after 67 minutes to try and alter the game with Taylor put out of his misery along with Garner.
Marcus Tavernier, who provided the assist for Sporar, celebrates his side’s 2-0 win
Silva arrived in the summer from Aris Salonika and Forest’s Greek owner Evangelos Marinakis is particularly interested in how he fares.
If Boro’s second goal after 72 minutes proves to be the final nail in Hughton’s coffin, how ironic the culprit should be Horvath, the goalkeeper he drafted in.
The 26-year-old miscontrolled a pass by right-back Loic Mbe Soh inside his area and the alert Onel Hernandez intercepted and tapped into an empty net in front of a thousand jubilant travelling Teessiders.