A late penalty by striker Lewis Grabban was enough to give Nottingham Forest a 1-0 win over Rotherham United at the City Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Forest were frustrated for much of the game with neither side really possessing the cutting edge to take the lead. However, iin the 85th minute, Grabban converted from the spot to give the Reds all three points after Ben Osborn had been clumsily brought down in the Rotherham area.
Manager Aitor Karanka made two changes to the side that triumphed 2-1 over Sheffield Wednesday in midweek, Ben Watson and Gil Dias coming in for Jack Colback and Matty Cash.
The first chance of the game came in the fourth minute as Forest were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Rotherham area after a foul on Ben Osborn. Lewis Grabban stepped up to take it, fresh from scoring his first goal for Forest against Wednesday, but his tame effort struck the wall.
Both teams struggled to create clear cut chances in the first half with neither ‘keeper being called into any meaningful action.
For Forest, Lewis Grabban and Gil Dias both saw efforts blocked on their way through to goal whilst Ben Osborn saw his shot from inside the area deflect up and out for a corner.
One of Rotheram’s few chances came thanks to Ryan Manning who struck a powerful effort from 25 yards which went high and wide of the Forest goal.
Forest would have been desperate to get the opening goal and they nearly got it in the 48th minute. A cross from the right by Saidy Janko found Joao Carvalho in the middle and he controlled the ball well before forcing a shot against the upright.
It was a much improved display by Forest in the early stages of the second half and they went close again to getting the opener, Gil Dias seeing a curling effort held well by Marek Rodak.
In the 78th minute, Rotherham had their best chance of the game as they almost took the lead. Richie Towell was fed down the right of the Forest area and from a tight angle, he forced Costel Pantilimon into a smart save at his near post.
With five minutes to go, Forest took the lead. Ben Osborn charged into the Rotherham area and was brought down by Ryan Williams. Lewis Grabban stepped up and calmly sent Rodak the wrong way to seal the victory for the Reds.
FOREST XI (4-2-3-1): Pantilimon; Janko, Hefele, Fox, Robinson, Guedioura (Lolley 60’), Watson ©; Dias (Cash 72’), Carvalho (Bridcutt 93’), Osborn; Grabban
SUBS NOT USED: Steele (GK), Goncalves, Dawson, Darikwa
ROTHERHAM XI: Rodak (GK), Mattock, Vaulks, Ajayi, Wood ©, Proctor (Smith 45’), Towell (Taylor 87’), Manning (Palmer 71’), Vassell, Williams, Jones
SUBS NOT USED: Price (GK), Vyner, Forde, Wiles
REFEREE: Robert Jones
ATTENDANCE: 27,479 (1,291 away)
FOREST MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Danny Fox