Brighton slumped to their 2nd defeat of the week, after a dreadful performance against Nottingham Forest. They missed the chance to return to the top of the table, and extend the gap back to 3rd to 9 points, however it remains 6 after Newcastle did Albion a favour and defeated Huddersfield in the late game.
Albion created their first chance of the game when Anthony Knockaert made a driving run from the right-hand side and forced Forest keeper Jordan Smith into a save, while Jamie Murphy couldn’t direct his follow-up effort on target. Bruno then played the ball into Glenn Murray, who fired the ball into the back of the net, but the strike was ruled out for handball. At the other end Chris Cohen played a pass up to Britt Assombalonga, who fired well over the target from distance. Hildeberto Pereira broke forward for Forest, but Rosenior and Steve Sidwell combined well to counter the threat. Murray attempted to liven up an otherwise lacklustre first half with a run down the right, but his cross was comfortably collected by Smith just before half-time. Albion began the second half with a lot of possession, but struggled to break down a resolute Forest defence. Knockaert worked the first opening after the break from a corner, but Murray couldn’t quite reach the ball, before Murphy saw his shot on the follow up blocked. Assombalonga was played through on goal again, this time by Jamie Ward, but Albion’s high defensive line caught out the Forest number nine, who was in an offside position. Knockaert drove a deep free-kick to the back post towards Lewis Dunk, and he headed back across goal towards Shane Duffy, who collided with the post in an attempt to reach the ball. But despite an improved start to the half, substitute Zach Clough’s shot gave Forest the lead with 60 minutes on the clock.
Albion players protested that Assombalonga was standing in an offside position when he connected with the ball but having consulted with his assistant, the referee gave the goal, adjudging that the Forest man had not made contact with the ball. Solly March was brought on in an attempt to freshen up the attack and after being teed up by fellow sub Oliver Norwood, he saw his shot tipped away. Norwood then delivered a searching corner towards into the box but neither Dunk or Duffy could divert their efforts goalwards. Knockaert then had a chance to level the scores with a close-range shot of his own that went over the bar. Norwood found Dunk again from another set-piece, but the Albion defender’s header didn’t trouble Smith. It went from bad to worse for Albion, as Osborn intercepted Stockdale’s attempted clearance in the box and fired home to make it 2-0 in the 89th minute. Then in virtually the last kick of the game, Dunk was penalised for a challenge in the box, although he appeared to connect with the ball, and Clough fired home the resulting penalty.
Stockdale (5); An absolute horror moment for the Albion stopper for Forest’s second, but should be cut some slack considering the amount of games he has saved for the Seagulls this season.
Bruno (6); Tough afternoon against Ward, and his ventures forward had limited success.
Duffy (7); His injury will be far worse than the result. Commanded the back like well and held Assombalonga to minimal chances.
Dunk (5); Looked to try and play out from the back plenty of times, but got a really cheap booking and gave away the penalty at the end.
Rosenior (6); Good performance from the versatile defender. Handled Pereira well, with his only blemish being booked for dissent at the end of the game.
Knockaert (6); Tested Smith in the first half with a low shot, but his end product was missing when Albion needed it the most.
Stephens (6); Was at the centre of everything when Brighton had a spell of possession, but it didn’t last long and he was soon chasing the game.
Sidwell (6); Looked good in the first half when helping Rosenior with Pereira, but never got going in the second before being replaced by Norwood.
Murphy (6); Had a couple of promising situations, but it didn’t fall for the Scot and was replaced by March mid-way through the second half.
Baldock (6); Covered distances with his endless running, but not much went his way, and looked a frustrated figure when replaced.
Murray (6); Goal rightly disallowed for the use of a hand, but generally was shutout by the Forest defence.
March (6); Had some good link up play with Rosenior and tested Smith with a long-range effort.
Hemed (5); Offered some energy, but was a real threat.
Norwood (6); Looked to try and release the front 2 at every occasion; set-pieces were very good as usual.
NFFC - BHAFC ; Clough (60)(90+8pen), Osbourn (89);
Att; 22,020 (1,919 Brighton)