Forest slump to home defeat against high-flying West Ham
Kevin Nolan leads the celebrations at the City Ground
Kevin Nolan and Carlton Cole both headed in close-range efforts as the pressure stacked higher for Forest boss Steve McClaren at the City Ground on Sunday.
A Luke Chambers own-goal had sent the Hammers on their way and the Reds were unable to find a route back into the game – although they hit back through Robbie Findley they failed to properly defend and New Zealand full back Winston Reid secured the points for the visitors with a late tap-in.
The first half began slowly for both sides but it was Forest who were asking the questions of the West Ham defence early on. The highly-rated Lewis McGugan setting up Findley with a corner in the first twelve minutes – the American did well to latch on to the ball but unfortunately it deflected off him and went narrowly wide.
Forest playmaker Chris Cohen then went close with a solidly struck free kick from 20-yards out forcing former England keeper Robert Green to jostle the ball wide for a corner.
Yet it was the East Londoners who took the lead after a great break – ex-Bolton midfielder Matt Taylor fizzed in a low ball from the left and Luke Chambers failed to connect properly for the clearance allowing the ball to hit him and deflect past Lee Camp in the Forest goal.
Three minutes later former Newcastle midfielder Nolan got a second for the Hammers after a long corner found the head of James Tomkins at the back post – he headed the ball across for Nolan who comfortably put the ball past the bemused Camp.
The home side had two chances to strike back immediately. The on-form Ishmael Miller sprang clear on the right wing but crashed his shot into the side netting, before Green tipped McGugan’s shot on to the post following Chris Gunter`s weighted cross.
However West Ham were not finished yet and scored again moments later sending a few home fans heading for early half time refreshments – Reid heading down Joey O’Brien’s cross in the box for the unmarked Cole who rose to head past Camp from a yard out.
The Hammers could have had four before the break after the Reds again gave them time and space in front of goal – Cole sending the ball across the six-yard box to Nolan who had bags of time but sent the ball wide of the far post.
In the early stages of the second half Forest pushed forward to no avail and McClaren decided to bring on summer signings Matt Derbyshire and Andy Reid in an attempt to salvage something from the game.
The change proved an effective one seven minutes later as Forest scored what was probably the best goal of the game. Cohen and Joel Lynch combined well on the left and Lynch cut the ball back precisely to find Findley who fired the ball into the roof of the net giving the Reds a flicker of hope.
The noise around the City Ground was soon subdued however as the visitors scored again. Forest failing to clear from yet another West Ham corner – allowing Taylor to loft in a defence-splitting cross to the feet of Reid – who had looked confident all game and calmly slotted past Camp.
Forest carried on until the final whistle but never looked like scoring and it was the away side that came closest in the third minute of stoppage time when Nolan’s shot was deflected just wide off Reds’ defender Wes Morgan.
Findley also came close to snatching a consolation in the dying seconds after beating Hammers’ keeper Green only to see his shot casually cleared off the line by the collected figure of Tomkins.
Forest remain without a home win in the Championship and play Southampton next on September 10th. The game is at St Mary’s and kick-off is at 3pm.