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Hatters take first-half lead but promotion hopefuls Forest hit back

19 January 2020

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The Hatters suffered a 3-1 defeat against Nottingham Forest in the Sky Bet Championship at the City Ground this afternoon.

Town had taken the lead through Harry Cornick midway through the first half, but Joe Lolley equalised for the hosts in the 36th minute.

It was Lolley who put Forest ahead before the hour-mark and Lewis Grabban secured all three points from the penalty spot in the last minute of the game.

Graeme Jones made three changes to his team following defeat against Birmingham City last weekend with Dan Potts, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Glen Rea returning to the starting line-up - the latter making his first league start in 13 months following a serious knee injury.

Town made a very positive start and had a couple of presentable opportunities during the first 10 minutes, both courtesy of set-pieces from James Bree.

First the right-back produced a deep free-kick from the left which narrowly eluded the reach of both Potts and Matty Pearson. His second delivery found Potts perfectly from a central position and after his header came back out to him, the left-back fired inches over the bar from close range.

After continuing their strong start to the game, the Hatters opened the scoring in the 23rd minute as Harry Cornick rounded off a brilliant team move.

It all started with Simon Sluga, who sprayed the ball wide to Kazenga LuaLua and he in-turn found Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu inside.

The midfielder then played a perfectly timed ball to the byline for Potts, who swiftly pulled it back to Cornick inside the box, where he managed to steer his first-time effort into the far corner.

After playing his part in the goal, Sluga was alert to keep Town ahead as he produced a fantastic reaction save to keep out Lolley’s dangerous corner delivery which took a touch off Matty Pearson on the way through.

However, the Hatters' defensive resilience was broken nine minutes before half-time as Lolley equalised for the hosts.

Yuri Ribeiro played an inch-perfect ball wide to the winger, who drove forward and finished low past Sluga.

Forest had a dangerous free-kick on the stroke of half-time which Joe Worrall was on the end of, but Sluga stood tall to deny him.

The home side did take the lead in the 57th minute as Lolley scored his and Forest’s second of the game with a fantastic effort into the top corner from 18-yards out after cutting in from the right.

Forest had chances to extend their lead during the remaining half-an-hour, notably when Worrall was denied at the back post and substitute Sammy Ameobi saw his 20-yard effort go just wide of the post.  

Town weren’t going down without a fight though, and did create a good chance with 10 minutes to play. Moncur played a smart ball down the line for Collins to run onto, he took the ball towards goal and forced Brice Samba into a smart stop at his near post.

But in the dying embers, referee Tony Harrington pointed to the spot after Silva’s free-kick struck the arm of Sonny Bradley in the box.

Grabban took the resulting penalty and rolled the ball down the middle of the goal to seal the points for the hosts, who move up to fifth in the Championship table, while the Hatters remain four points adrift of safety at the bottom.


FOREST: Samba, Cash, Worrall, Dawson (C), Ribeiro, Watson, Sow, Silva (Carvalho 90), Lolley (Yates 83), Adomah (Ameobi 67), Grabban. Subs not used: Smith, Jenkinson, Semedo, Chema

Goals: Lolley (36, 57) Grabban (90)


TOWN: Sluga, Bree, Pearson, Bradley (C), Potts, Rea (Lee 72), Tunnicliffe, Mpanzu, Cornick (Moncur 50), LuaLua, Collins. Subs not used: Shea, Berry, Shinnie, Bolton, Daniels

Goals: Cornick (23)

Yellows: Rea, Tunnicliffe, Potts


Referee: Tony Harrington

Attendance: 27,081 (1,554 Hatters)

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