By Matthew Benton-Smith
A night to build on at the City Ground as the Reds were defeated 1-0 by Luton having controlled large chunks of the game.
🔴 𝗧𝗘𝗔𝗠 𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦 🔴
— Nottingham Forest FC 💙 (@NFFC) March 2, 2021
Chris Hughton made only 1 change that started the East Midlands Derby on Friday night as Sheffield United loanee Luke Freeman was replaced by former Huddersfield winger Joe Lolley.
A quick start saw the first chance come early on for the Reds’ as Murray headed goalward but it was too close to Luton keeper Sluga and was easily saved. Krovinovic also had an effort from well outside the area but it drifted wide of Luton’s left-hand post.
Forest were looking to capitalise on Luton’s failure to maintain possession as they created plenty of opportunities and had a lot of action in the final third. If anything was going to let the Reds’ down tonight it would be a lack of clear-cut opportunities and a failure to take the chances they can create.
There was another great opening for Glenn Murray as Anthony Knockaert put over a sublime ball and Murray steered the ball just wide, and looked rather embarrassed by his failure to convert another easy chance.
It was goalless at half time but it was Forest who certainly looked to be the side in more control of the game at the break.
Half-Time: Nottingham Forest 0-0 Luton Town
The Reds’ continued the second half just how they started the first, looking to attack and create chances but were still failing to capitalise. Luton also forced a couple of chances up the other end and looked more comfortable in possession but never really looked to trouble Chris Hughton’s reds.
Luton started to look more attacking resulting in the Hatters going 1-0 up as Tunnicliffe tapped a brilliant cross past Brice Samba. The Reds’ knew that they were going to regret missed chances if they didn’t act quickly and possibly look to change the way they played as Luton were starting to read Forest very successfully.
The Hatters became gradually more and more attacking and nearly made it 2-0 as they fired plenty more shots at Brice Samba, one of which flew narrowly wide of his far post as the Reds’ lost their tempo and started to look defeated. Hughton brought on Mighten, Ameobi and Taylor in an attempt to bring some creativity, flair and ultimately some goals to the game for the Reds’.
In the end, it was forest who struggled with possession and creativity and were outclassed by Luton for the remainder of the second half, a mix of this and a failure to take their opportunities earlier in the game resulted in a 1-0 loss for the Reds’ on home turf.
Full Time: Nottingham Forest 0-1 Luton
Man of The Match: Anthony Knockaert
(Featured Image Credit @NFFC Twitter)