Blackburn Rovers 1-4 Nottingham Forest (EFL Cup Round Four) 21.12.22
Nottingham Forest returned to competitive action after over five weeks without a game to win their third match in a row and progress through to the Quarter Finals of the Carabao sponsored League Cup, the first time the club have reached the last eight since 1994.
The Reds faced a much-changed Blackburn Rovers side at Ewood Park with near 7,000 travelling spectators packed into the away end, to watch their side win comprehensively in the northwest.
Challenging for Championship promotion, Rovers Coach Jon Dahl Tomasson made eleven changes to the side that beat Norwich at the weekend and included a number of teenagers in their line up whilst Forest boasted a strong eleven of regular first team players including Neco Williams, Brennan Johnson and Remo Freuler who were in Qatar for the World Cup.
One of those mentioned, Brennan Johnson enjoyed time and space down the right wing to cause Rovers left back Mola havoc, and went close on a couple of occasions before winning a penalty, fouled by Scott Wharton as he ran full speed past him into the area.
Johnson stepping up on 13 to net his third of the season.
The Reds dominated play in the first half but wasted a number of further opportunities, and a free kick a minute before half time was headed home by Scott Wharton, played in to him by his 18-year old brother Adam, the scores somehow level at the break despite the away sides dominance.
That didn’t last too long though, as just seven minutes into the second half Jesse Lingard ran at Scott Wharton to coax him into a foul outside the area, the defender booked as Lingard aimed to skip by him into the box, the Forest man then teed up from a short free kick, struck the ball low, via a couple of deflections, past Rovers keeper Pears wrong-footed.
Forest good value for their lead continued to create and made it 3-1 late on when Lingard found Awoniyi the wrong side of his marker to race into the box and slot home, Brennan Johnson with almost the last kick of the game rounding things off to send home the travelling army of reds fans in a happy mood ahead of their next game, a tough looking trip to Old Trafford where they’ll face Manchester United in the return of the Premier League.
Forest sitting eighteenth in the division a point outside the safety zone but in recent form improved they have now lost just one of their last seven and are unbeaten in four with three straight wins, Manager, players and fans will be confident that the side can get out of trouble, although the next two games in particular offer the toughest of challenges with United and Chelsea directly to come.
Blackburn Rovers: Pears, Phillips (Hyam 69), Szmodics, Hirst, Mola (Edun 46), S. Wharton, Hedges, Travis, Markanday (Dolan 69 (Brereton Diaz 88)), A. Wharton (Buckley 69), Garrett
Nottingham Forest: Henderson, Worrall, Mangala (O’Brien 62), Williams (Mbe Soh 88), Taiwo Awoniyi (Surridge 82), Lingard (Dennis 82), Toffolo, Johnson, Yates, Freuler (Colback 82), Boly.
Venue: Ewood Park (15,138)
*Main image @NFFC Jesse Lingard celebrates his goal for Forest.