Joe Lolley at the double as Nottingham Forest come from behind to beat Luton Town


Nottingham Forest boosted their promotion credentials by coming from behind thanks to two goals from Joe Lolley and a Lewis Grabban penalty as they beat Luton Town 3-1 at the City Ground.

The visitors came into the game on the back of seven games without a win, but it was the Hatter who scored first when Harry Cornick rammed them ahead from close range.

Forest levelled through Lolley’s squirming shot underneath Luton ‘keeper Simon Sluga before the break.

The hosts almost went into the break ahead as a Tiago Silva freekick caused chaos in the box, but Luton held on to enter the break level.

Luton started the second half brightly but found themselves behind just before the hour-mark as Lolley grabbed his second of the afternoon with a sumptuous strike into the top corner.

Lewis Grabban wrapped up proceedings with a late penalty after Tiago Silva’s freekick struck an arm in stoppage time.

A visiting neutral would have likely had no idea that Luton Town came into the fixture in such poor form as the Hatters dominated the opening proceedings.

The Championship’s basement side contently passed around Sabri Lamouchi’s promotion-chasing Forest, causing regular problems for the Reds as the hosts produced a sluggish first-half performance.

Kazenga LuaLua won a series of set-pieces in the first few minutes as he relentlessly ran at Forest’s defence, but no Hatter was able to capitalise by providing the all-important end produce.

Forest slowly improved as Lolley began to advance further forward, exploring the space ahead of him in the left flank.

But it was the visitors who remained on top of things in the first half. A long Luton freekick picked out Dan Potts inside the penalty area, but the Hatters left-back’s effort skimmed the crossbar.

Forest captain Michael Dawson headed into the side netting but the hosts remained pegged into their half for much of the opening 45 minutes.

And Luton’s endless pressure eventually paid off as they opened the scoring on 22 minutes. Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu slid the ball between two defenders to Potts who wave able to pull the ball back to Cornich who lashed home.

Forest responded well to going behind but were unable to take chances by Silva and Albert Adomah.

Silva received a quick one-two with Lolley to storm into space just outside the area, but the Portuguese midfielder flicked his striker over the crossbar.

But Forest eventually restored parity on 36 minutes when Yuri Ribeiro’s searching diagonal ball picked out Lolley on the far-side. The Reds attacker darted forward and fired a low shot underneath Luton ‘keeper Sluga.

The hosts almost took the lead late in the first half when Silva caused chaos with a stoppage-time freekick; a shot at the far post was blocked and Michael Dawson’s rebounded header was held on the line by Sluga as the referee blew for half-time.

Luton were forced into an early chance in the second half as goalscorer Cornick came limping off, he was replaced by George Moncur.

The change evidently rattled the visitors as they lacked any attacking threat with Cornick’s departure.

And it was not long, therefore, before the Hatters fell behind.

Lolley excellently controlled a switching pass from Watson, looking up briefly he cut inside against his marker and fired a left-footed shot well past Sluga into the top corner.

Forest substitute Sammy Ameobi almost found the net with a low driven effort, but it squirmed just past the post.

The home side should have wrapped up proceedings when winger Lolley yet again created space to shoot. He shifted the ball from foot-to-foot before sending into the box, it was repeatedly fired towards goal by Luton somehow kept the ball out.

Luton then had a chance of their own to score as James Collins found space on the right flank. Tearing away down the pitch he burst into the penalty area and drew a low save from Forest ‘keeper Brice Samba.

Forest sealed all three points on the edge of full-time when Grabban calmly slotted home his fifteenth goal of the season from the penalty spot.

The result leaves Forest five points adrift of the two automatic promotion places. The Reds take on Reading on Wednesday night in their game in hand on the rest of the league – if they win that, they’ll be just two points behind second-placed Leeds United.

Nottingham Forest: Brice Samba, Yuri Ribeiro, Joe Worrall, Lewis Grabban, Ben Watson, Matty Cash, Michael Dawson (C), Samba Sow, Joe Lolley (Ryan Yates, 82), Tiago Silva, Albert Adomah (Sammy Ameobi, 67).

Unused subs: Jordan Smith, Joao Carvalho, Carl Jenkinson, Alfa Semedo, Chema Rodriguez.

Luton Town: Simon Sluga, Dan Potts, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Sonny Bradley (C), Matty Pearson, Harry Cornick (George Moncur, 50), Glen Rea (Elliot Lee, 72), Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, James Collins, Kazenga LuaLua, James Bree.

Unused subs: James Shea, Luke Berry, Andrew Shinnie, Luke Bolton, Donervon Daniels.

Referee: Tony Harrington

Attendance: 27,081 (1,554 away)


About Author

When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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