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Match Report


Posted Sat 10 Mar 12 at 17:49 PM

Nottingham Forest 3 Millwall 1

Nottingham Forest ended Millwall's fine run of away results with a crucial victory at the City Ground.
The Lions had been picking up vital points on the road in recent weeks but goals from Gareth McCleary and Danny Higginbotham handed them a two-goal advantage going into the break. And even though The Lions looked like staging a comeback after the returning Darius Henderson nodded home from close range, Andy Reid's stunning third sealed a 3-1 win for The Reds.
Millwall, boosted by the return to first team duty of midfield duo Liam Trotter and Jimmy Abdou, carved out the early chances. Just 10 minutes were on the clock when Hamer Bouazza, who enjoyed some success down the left early on, whipped in a cross that Greg Cunningham could only clear to James Henry. Setting himself, James struck a well hit volley that had Lee Camp beaten but came back off the post.
The Lions continued to push forward searching for an early goal that would pile the pressure on a Forest side who have lost 11 games at home this season. Another Bouazza centre fell kindly for Henry and when his attempt was blocked, Andy Keogh was presented a good chance on the volley. Unfortunately, the Irishman couldn't continue his recent goalscoring exploits on this occasion and fired over.
Back came Forest and Reid's deflection from a McCleary shot had David Forde worried until it trickled past the post, however it would be the same pair that would put the hosts in front. Reid found space down the left, swung over a peach of a cross and there was McCleary, unmarked, to head back across Forde and inside the far post.
Millwall responded but were now susceptible to the counter attack. Paul Robinson had to be at his best to divert a dangerous looking cross from the right over his own crossbar from one such sequence.
But it was The Reds who were in the ascendancy and went two to the good on 38 minutes. Left-back Cunningham went on a mazy run that was brought to an abrupt halt by Alan Dunne, Reid's subsequent free-kick was cleared up into the sky and fell kindly for Higginbotham who swivelled and volleyed a neat finish past Forde.
The Lions came within a whisker of pulling a goal back almost immediately as Henry's piledriver smacked the underside of the bar but went in at the break 2-0 down.
Desperate for an early goal that would allow them a foothold in the game, the visitors were given an opportunity with a free-kick 25 yards out after a foul on Harry Kane. Up stepped Bouazza but he drove his shot agonisingly wide of the upright.
Having already introduced Josh Wright at the break, Kenny Jackett threw on Henderson and The Lions' top scorer came within inches of connecting with another fizzing Bouazza shot that took a wicked deflection to help flash it across Camp's goal.
But Henderson was on hand to hand Millwall a lifeline seconds later. Wright's long range effort smacked off the post but there was Henderson to nod home the rebound into an empty net.
However if The Lions thought they were going to haul themselves back into this game, Forest had other ideas, and any hopes of a comeback were dashed by Reid.
Picking up Chris Gunter's clearance, he strode forward, picked his spot and rifled an unstoppable shot past Forde.
It proved the decisive moment of the match and Forest were happy to see out the remaining minutes. The Lions had chances to worry the hosts, Robinson guiding a header over from Bouazza's cross and Keogh nodding wide late on, but it was not to be and Millwall now go into Saturday's match with league leaders Southampton still precariously placed 19th in the Championship table and seven points off the drop zone.

Nottingham Forest: Camp, Cunningham, Chambers, Higginbotham, Reid (Lynch, 90+2mins), McCleary, Gunter, Moussi, Tudgay (Wootton, 90mins), Guedioura, Blackstock (Miller, 90+2mins). Subs not used: McGugan, P.Smith.
Bookings: McCleary, Higginbotham
Scorers: McCleary (25mins), Higginbotham (38mins), Reid (79mins)

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Barron (Smith, 77mins), Abdou, Robinson, Ward, Bouazza, Trotter (Wright, 46mins), Keogh, Kane (Henderson, 60mins), Henry. Subs not used: Allsop, Feeney.
Bookings: Henry (31mins). Henderson (74mins)
Scorer: Henderson (63mins)

Ref: C Pawson;'
Att: 19,413 (away 1,188)

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