Nottingham Forest took a big step towards Premier League survival, beating Brighton 3-1 at the City Ground with a magnificent turnaround. In turn, Steve Cooper’s men moved out of the danger zone by one point, with just five games remaining.
Forest blitzed their south coast visitors in the early exchanges, and were rewarded for their efforts when Neco Williams was taken down in the box, forcing referee Jarred Gillett to award the hosts a penalty inside 10 minutes. Brennan Johnson stepped up to the spot, but the Forest talisman saw his shot saved in style by Jason Steele, who threw himself to his right and parried away the spot kick to spare Brighton’s blushes.
Brighton grew into the game after the early wake up call, and after seeing a number of their own shots go begging, the Seagulls snatched a deserved lead in the 38th minute, as Facundo Buonanotte tapped home a rebounded Solly March shot from close range. Somehow though, Brighton saw their lead disappear with the last kick of the half, as Renan Lodi’s cross from the edge of the box took a massive deflection off of Pascal Groß and in past Steele to restore parity.
After a nervy restart, the City Ground was brought to its feet once again with just over 20 minutes remaining, as Danilo raced down the right-wing, before slotting home Forest’s second of the night to snatch a vital lead. Brighton mustered a flurry of half-chances in the dying embers of the match, but under the weight of 30,000 voices, they gave away a VAR-awarded penalty for handball a minute from the 90’. Morgan Gibbs-White delivered the coup de grace, rolling the ball low into the right corner as Jason Steele guessed wrong.
Ten minutes of added time were allotted, but Brighton were all out of ideas as the City Ground went into full carnival mode. For Brighton, this disappointing defeat keeps their push for Europe hanging in the balance, while Forest will feel more confident than ever of enjoying a first successful Premier League survival campaign since 1995/96.
Man of the Match: Danilo Dos Santos De Oliveira – Nottingham