Matt Smith hat-trick knocks wind from Nottingham Forest’s promotion push


Promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest were made victims of their third-most-heaviest defeat of the season after a dreadful first-half showing.

This fixture was jam-packed full of significance and it was evident by the explosive nature of their starts.

Both sides had chances in the opening ten minutes. First Mahlon Romeo had a shot blocked for the visitors; Joao Carvalho then had a strong effort saved by Bartosz Bialkowski after dancing his way through the Millwall defence.

Chances continued to flow as the game progressed but it was the Lions who were on top.

Gary Rowett’s side came close to scoring when a low cross from Jed Wallace met Matt Smith in the middle, but Joe Worrall hastily cleared the danger.

The hosts were not as privy to the danger nine minutes later though when Wallace’s pin-point delivery was headed well beyond Brice Samba by the on-rushing Smith to open the scoring.

Millwall had to wait just six minutes to double their lead when another left-wing cross, this time by Mason Bennett, was turned over the line by a subtle deflection by Smith on Jayson Molumby’s strike.

Smith sealed his hat-trick with a strong header at the far-post, nodding in Shane Ferguson’s right-wing corner under poor marking from the hosts.

The hosts produced a truly awful first-half performance as they rarely showed any attacking integrity.

Forest provided much more in the second half.

Carvalho had a call for a penalty waved away when he went down under pressure from Shaun Hutchinson – it would have been soft had referee Geoff Eltringham pointed to the spot.

Lolley and Sammy Ameobi took sight of goal in a busy first ten minutes but hardly threatened Bialkowski.

Substitute John Bostock tested Millwall’s Polish keeper’s reactions midway through the half but it never looked dangerous.

Bostock produced another long-range strike, that threatened Bialkowski more, but it was too little too late as Forest remained unable to break Millwall’s threshold.

The result leaves Forest eight points behind the automatic promotion spots but with West Brom and Leeds still to play on Saturday.

Millwall, meanwhile, are two points from the play-offs ahead of Saturday’s play.


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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