Forest boost play-off bid with late comeback against Swansea

Nottingham Forest scored two late goals to breathe fresh life into their Championship play-off push with a hard fought 2-1 win over Swansea.

Martin O’Neill’s side twice scored headers from corners, through Daryl Murphy in the 80th minute and Molla Wague seven minutes later, as they came from a goal down to claim three vital points.

The mood at a sold-out City Ground was growing dark when a driven shot from George Byers took a big deflection off Connor Roberts to give Swansea the lead in the 76th minute.

But the Reds’ late recovery helped them keep within touching distance of the top six as they picked up just their second win in five matches.

Forest won a couple of early corners during a bright start but it was Costel Pantilimon, in the Reds goal, who had to make the first meaningful save as Daniel James looked to curl a shot inside the far post.

At the other end, Lewis Grabban looked as though he would snatch the ball from the feet of Kristoffer Nordfeldt in the goalmouth, but the keeper calmly and cheekily fed a pass between the striker’s legs, to clear the danger.

Forest midfielder Jack Colback had a pop from range, but his shot was always curling away from the far post.

Referee Jeremy Simpson then made a big call when Oli McBurnie went down in a heap in the box after Tendayi Darikwa had dangled out a boot, with the Swansea man shown a yellow card for simulation.

Pantilimon made an outstanding save to deny Matt Grimes with a thunderbolt of a shot from the edge of the box as Swansea threatened again.

The visitors dominated possession in the first half but both sides struggled to carve out meaningful opportunities.

Swansea were back on the attack after the break and Pantilimon had to get across his goal well to save a Byers header which looked to be bound for the net.

By the 66th minute, Forest had made all three substitutions, with Pele, Murphy and Joao Carvalho all introduced as the hosts looked to find some spark.

But it was the visitors who were to take the lead in the 76th minute, as a shot from Byers took a huge deflection, seemingly off team-mate Roberts. It was hard to tell whether the defender’s touch had been intentional – but it left Pantilimon helpless.

The lead was to last only four minutes however, as Forest produced an almost instant response.

A Joe Lolley corner was whipped in with pace and Murphy powered home a header from a few yards out in emphatic fashion.

Then from another Lolley corner – after his header had been brilliantly saved – the forward picked out Wague to head home the winner.

Forest held out through five minutes of time added on for a win that lifted them back to within two points off the play-off places.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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