Nottingham Forest recorded a third straight Championship defeat to open up their 2021/22 campaign. Despite a fine Philip Zinckernagel strike to level the scores at the City Ground, Blackburn secured a 2-1 victory with a late header from Lenihan. Here is how I rated Chris Hughton’s reds on the night.
Brice Samba – 6/10
The Forest ‘keeper looked like an accident waiting to happen but despite this he came up with some decent saves, notably a fine stop when Blackburn looked destined to open the scoring in the first half, diving to his left hand side and averting the danger. His other saves were ones that you’d expect him to make but he still got down well to avoid any embarrassment. He might well have done better from the initial free kick that came in which led to the winner and some of his decisions particularly with his feet didn’t help lift the mood at the City Ground.
Fin Back – 6/10
The 18 year old stepped in following an injury to Osei-Tutu in the 17th minute. He dealt with the pressure well on the whole but lacked quality where he made up for it with enthusiasm. A couple of unforced errors and despite bombing on the overlap never really looked like adding anything incisive in the final third. He stuck to his defensive duties securely and did okay with his passing of the ball.
Tobias Figueiredo – 6/10
You’ve got to applaud the big central defender for trying to force Forest onto the front foot despite him not really having the tools to do so as he tried to drive into midfield on a few occasions throughout the match. Unfortunately some of his passing went astray and there were a few nervy moments at the back. Overall though his job is to defend and he did well with what was thrown at him.
Scott McKenna – 6/10
Again a solid enough display without really dominating proceedings. His hospital pass to Gabriel made life difficult for the full back and he got a second yellow card after being caught on the ball late on. Won his fair share of duels.
Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel – 6/10
A late sending off for the 22 year old but a player that should come out with some credit from the game on Tuesday night. Having to switch from right back to left back, he defended with good concentration and put himself about, when the game needed to come alive he at least was willing to take a few risks and use his speed to get at the Blackburn defence. His night was probably summed up by making a fantastic headed clearance off the line only for the rebound to be followed in for the visitors winning goal.
Ryan Yates – 4/10
For both the defensive midfielders I feel Chris Hughton has to take the blame for their scores. The lack of rotation and blend of qualities in this area of the pitch unsurprisingly stifled Forest’s attacks where it was painful to witness. The Captain for the night just couldn’t get the ball moving to any real effect, making a series of errors throughout the 90 minutes. Defensively he fell over marking Ayala for the opening goal and got outrun by the opposition midfield, more so in the first half. There were plenty of battling qualities and some good moments, but it wasn’t enough.
Jack Colback – 4/10
Really not a good look on the Forest boss that it took 85 minutes for Colback to be taken off, mainly due to a knock. His game was summed up when he received a booking for a wild challenge after the whistle had already gone for another foul. Perfectly fine at holding his position and being solid defensively but it’s just not good enough to impose yourselves on games and that’s exactly what the City Ground faithful were asking for, too many careless touches and never any real danger of getting the tempo going.
Philip Zinckernagel – 8/10
Near enough all of the Reds best moments came from the Watford loanee as he started fast, firing off a couple of shots which called the Blackburn ‘keeper into action. He stood up a lovely cross for Grabban in the first half and while he may have lost the ball a few times he was always prepared to make something happen. His goal was a moment of inspiration, firing a left footed strike from outside the area hitting the post and going in.
Brennan Johnson – 5.5/10
His lack of involvement in the game was the issue rather than the young attacker himself as when he did receive the ball he looked bright and a threat. His vision wasn’t always there when it came to picking a pass, instead trying to run at the Blackburn defence and running into trouble arguably. He fizzed in a dangerous cross in the second half which nearly resulted in a goal but a night where he didn’t see enough of the ball as he would’ve liked.
Alex Mighten – 6.5/10
Boos as he was substituted on the 64th minute but directed at the manager as the left winger was very willing to try and open the game up albeit it was difficult to really keep passages of play alive. He had the acceleration to keep his full back on alert which is why his substitution was surprising, despite nothing quite coming off up to that point it looked like Forest would’ve been a better team for his presence being on the pitch.
Lewis Grabban – 5.5/10
Realistically whilst the main man up top didn’t look like fashioning something for himself you have to have sympathy with him being starved of the service needed for him to score the goals. He frequently looked to occupy the spaces out wide just to get involved in the play but his link up play wasn’t particularly secure although he did well enough to retain the ball in the build up for the equaliser.