Nottingham Forest 2-0 Wycombe Wanderers (EFL Championship) 07.11.2020
A double from man-of-the-moment, number thirty three Lyle Taylor, gave Forest all three points at the City Ground against visitors Wycombe Wanderers, a goal in each half proving sufficient for a 2-0 win.
Today marked a first ever league visit to Trentside for Wycombe Wanderers, the visitors, managed by Gareth Ainsworth, have spent most of their history in the Isthmian League (until 1987) then a handful of seasons in the Conference (until 1993).
Since promotion to the Football League, the two sides have been kept apart, just, until now, the Chairboys having tasted promotion to the Championship at the end of last season; although a couple of places, and a couple of points below the Reds at the wrong end of the table, they have seen off the challenges of Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham City on recent outings.
The Reds meanwhile, having endured a fair-to-middling start to new manager Chris Hughton’s reign, will be hoping the late winner bagged by Lyle Taylor, from the spot, in midweek, thus gaining them a much needed three points at home to Coventry City, kick-starts a stuttering campaign.
Hughton saw Sammy Ameobi and Miguel Angel Guerrero make the starting line-up, the only two changes from the midweek win, Luke Freeman and Joe Lolley dropping to the bench, The Last Post ringing across the banks of The Trent courtesy of 13-year-old Caiden Storry.
The opening quarter would see both chances, and a booking, for the home side, Guerrero going into referee Matt Donohue’s notebook for a bad foul. Whilst chances fell to Lyle Taylor and Sammy Ameobi, Daryl Horgan early doors, and Anis Mehmeti, for the hosts, the sides feeling each other out.
Further opportunities went begging before Taylor put the Reds ahead on 28 minutes, the Forest number thirty-three outjumping the visitors defence to head home a cross from Cyrus Christie on the left, at the back post.
After the hosts had taken the lead it suddenly became a free-for-all, both sides seeing who could give away the most free-kicks, Joe Jacobson guilty of giving away two for the visitors prior to his setting up Scott Kashket, the Chairboys number eleven heading straight at Brice Samba in the home goal.
With the first period edging towards its close, Taylor is narrowly adjudged offside when seen by Sammy Ameobi, the through ball being caught by the officials whilst the other end an Anthony Stewart header is clawed to safety by Samba from a Jacobson cross; the Reds holding on and going in a goal to the good at the interval.
Only the one change for the Reds at the interval, Hughton bringing on Ryan Yates for Samba Sow whilst ten minutes into the second, after some back-and-forth play, Ainsworth made a double change for the visitors Adebayo Akinfenwa replacing David Wheeler, and former Red, Garath McCleary, a winger who played for the Reds between 2008 and 2012, replaces Scott Kashket for his Chairboys debut.
McCleary immediately got stuck in as well, giving away a free-kick shortly before another offside was called against the hosts, this time Knockaert had attempted to slide the ball through to Guerrero, who was in an offside position himself.
The Chairboys debutants then had an attempt on goal, latching onto a cross from visiting danger-man, Jacobson, but the header was dealt with by Samba in the hosts’ goal, the tempo having been turned up a few levels.
A little over twenty remaining, Hughton replaced Ameobi with Joe Lolley and, after Akinfenwa sees a headers cleared in the Forest box at one end, the hosts were doubling their lead at the other, that man Taylor with his second of the game.
Now on a hat-trick, a quick break sees the ball dispatched to the Forest hitman, and he doesn’t disappoint, the lad is on fire, breaking clear and firing a home a right-footed effort low into the bottom corner for his second of the afternoon.
A quick pair of substitutions are made, both manager making their last rolls of the dice, Hughton goes with Harry Arter for Guerrero, and Ainsworth brings on Alex Samuel for Mehmeti as the game ticks into the final ten minutes.
Samuel looks to have an immediate impact, the visitors showing their not quite out of the game, his right-footed effort saved low at Samba’s left post for a corner, one which sees an Akinfenwa cleared off the line by Lolley; whilst at the other end, following another quick counter, Cyrus Christie tries his luck from a difficult position but to no avail.
Ryan Allsopp then pulls off a fine save to deny the Reds their third of the afternoon, Arter crashing an effort from twelve yards out with six minutes remaining, the hosts looking for the finale whilst the visitors are wanting some damage limitation.
There’s still time for more, the visitors having been a constant threat all afternoon and this time Fred Onyedinma is called offside after Jacobson had passed through, before Akinfenwa again sees a header saved by Samba, this in stoppage time as the back line holds firm.
Jack Grimmer then gets his name in the referee’s notebook for a foul before final efforts from both Knockaert, and Arter fail to add the killer third, Taylor’s brace settling it.
Nottingham Forest: Samba, Christie, Figueiredo, McKenna, Ribeiro, Knockaert, Sow (Yates, 46), Colback, Ameobi (Lolley, 68), Taylor, Guerrero (Arter, 76).
Wycombe Wanderers: Allsopp, Grimmer, Jacobsen, Stewart, Wheeler (Akinfenwa, 56), Kashket (McCleary, 56), Knight, Horgan, Thompson, Onyedinma, Mehmeti (Samuel, 78).
Venue: City Ground
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFC Lyle Taylor celebrates his fourth Nottingham Forest goal since signing.