Report: Nottingham Forest 3 Ipswich Town 0 – Blues capitulate as Forest secure safety
Ipswich Town capitulated on the final day of the season, losing 3-0 as Nottingham Forest comfortably secured their Championship safety.
Britt Assombalonga coolly converted a 43rd minute penalty, then Chris Cohen’s deflected long-range strike found the top corner to further ease any nerves inside a packed City Ground.
Assombalonga had another penalty well-saved by Bartosz Bialkowski in the 66th minute, but the bustling striker made amends three minutes later when smashing an angled shot home at the near post.
It meant that Blackburn Rovers – managed by former Town favourite Tony Mowbray – were relegated to League One, despite their 3-1 win at Brentford.
Town end a hugely disappointing campaign with three successive defeats. A final position of 16th is their lowest end position since 1959.
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Backed by a noisy, near capacity crowd of 28,249, Forest burst out the blocks and swarmed the Blues’ goal in the opening moments. Town weathered the storm though and, as news filtered through that Blackburn and Birmingham had taken the lead at Brentford and Bristol City respectively, the home side became increasingly edgy.
Keeper Jordan Smith made a diving stop to deny Grant Ward’s arrowed shot early on. He produced an even better save in the 37th minute, brilliantly reacting to finger-tip Dominic Samuel’s deflected effort onto the bar.
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Forest needed a moment to settle the nerves and it arrived two minutes before the break. Myles Kenlock – who had endured a torrid first half – switched off at a long throw, leaving Jamie Ward in a race with keeper Bartosz Bialkowski for the ball at the near post. Ward, with his foot raised, got the first touch but then clattered into Town’s keeper.
The referee pointed to the spot and Assombalonga smashed home the resultant spot-kick.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy replaced Kenlock with Josh Emmanuel at the break, then switched to a wing-back system.
Forest began to see more and more of the ball, doubling their lead in the 57th minute when Cohen’s well-struck shot from 25-yards took a deflection before finding the top corner.
McCarthy made another tactical reshuffle, putting Emmanuel to left-back, and the homegrown full-back made a clumsy foul on Ward to concede a 65th minute spot-kick. This time, Assombalonga’s well-hit penalty was well-saved by Bialkowski.
Three minutes later, the Blues defence parted and Assombalonga strode forwards before smashing a high shot inside the near post.
- Reaction to follow.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST (4-2-3-1): Smith; Lichaj, Mills, Worrall, Mancienne; Vaughan, Cohen (cpt) (Cash 85); Ward (Brereton 79), Osborn, Carayol (Clough 14); Assombalonga.
Unused subs: Evtimov, Lam, Tshibola, Vellios.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-2-3-1): Bialkowski; Spence, Chambers (cpt), Berra (Webster 85), Kenlock (Emmanuel 46); Skuse, Huws; Rowe, Ward, Sears (Moore 68); Samuel.
Unused subs: Gerken, Downes, Dozzell, Pitman.
Referee: A Davies