Grabban earns praise but may lose penalty role

Martin O’Neill praised Lewis Grabban for his role in Nottingham Forest’s 2-1 win over bogey side Brentford.

The striker scored his 15th Championship goal of the season but also missed a penalty, and the Reds boss felt his side were guilty of failing to make the most of their chances.

Molla Wague’s header seemed to have made things comfortable but Sergi Canos netted in the 89th minute to ensure a nervy finish.

Forest had relied on Costel Pantilimon to make a number of important saves, as they edged their way into a big win over a Bees side who had won on their previous four visits.

“Lewis did very well, he did excellently. I thought he was very good,” said O’Neill.

“I have just been told about his penalty record, which is not so good – so he might not grab the next one.

“But his whole performance was very strong. He worked hard; he worked exceptionally hard when we did not have the ball.

“I had slight concerns about him being able to do the job on his own and we tried to get help to him as quickly as possible. But there were times when he did brilliantly as an individual.”

Forest had to work hard for victory over a Brentford side who had been in good form – and who also saw Romaine Sawyers hit the post.

“I have seen a lot of Brentford in recent years and they are a very fine football side,” added O’Neill.

“In terms of really good chances for us, I was hoping we might be able to get a second goal. Leo Bonatini missed a great opportunity to make it 2-0.

“You wanted to take the game away from them a little bit, but it wasn’t to be. We missed a penalty too and we had to survive those anxious moments at the end, when they scored.

“But I am delighted to have won the game and with some really pleasing performances. Young Ryan Yates did really well for us so, yes, I am really pleased.”

Bees boss Thomas Frank felt his side had done enough to at least merit a point after seeing numerous chances of their own go begging.

“I think in this recent run we have been seeing some outstanding performances,” said Frank. “Not in all of our games, but some of the performances have been really up there.

“The next step for the team is to ensure that, not on a bad day, but on an average day, you still need to find a way to play more cleverly and more solidly and get something from the game.

“We need to learn to take a point or even win when we have an average day. I think we created enough chances to do that here.

“There were some decisions that did not go our way as well. I am not going to complain about that, but they do make a difference when those decisions drop in your favour.

“But the main thing for me is that we did create a lot of chances and the area where we need to improve is defensively.

“We might have had a penalty, there was a close offside decision, we hit the inside of the post and missed some big chances.

“All of that adds up to us not getting the point, which I felt was the minimum we deserved.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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