Brentford 2 – 1 Nottingham Forest. Nottingham Forest were stunned as a late Brentford fightback denied them precious points in their fight for Premier League survival.
Brazilian midfielder Danilo marked his 22nd birthday by putting Forest ahead just before half-time, reacting quickest to steer home Morgan Gibbs-White’s shot which deflected into his path.
Brentford had plenty of the ball but created few clear chances until Ivan Toney’s 82nd-minute free-kick went in off Forest keeper Keylor Navas.
With Forest hanging on and only 10 men on the pitch after Danilo went off injured, substitute Josh Dasilva scored the 94th-minute winner which was only confirmed after a long VAR check.
After beating Brighton at home on Wednesday, Forest looked well on course for a second win in four days and earn a rare away victory.
But, with all their nearest rivals yet to play this weekend, they remain in 17th place and just a point ahead of third-bottom Leicester.
“It is a sense of massive disappointment – one that got away,” said Forest manager Steve Cooper.
“It was always going to be a tiring week with three games and there were a lot of tired legs on the pitch. It was a game of fine margins.
“We felt in a comfortable position – Brentford weren’t creating a lot of chances. The two goals we’ve given away are really disappointing and it has cost us the game.
“No problem of the effort of the players but you’ve got to do everything right until the end of the game.”
With none of the other sides in the tightly packed bottom five playing on Saturday, Forest had an excellent opportunity to put pressure on their rivals.
For a long period after Danilo’s opening goal, and with Brentford providing little threat, it looked as though Cooper’s team were going to move four points clear of the bottom three.
Forest’s survival hopes were given a significant boost when they fought back to beat a Brighton side chasing European qualification at a raucous City Ground on Wednesday.
Lifting them out of the relegation zone, the win took Forest to 30 points – with 24 of those earned in front of their own fans.
The challenge has been transferring their ability to pick up points at home into doing the same on the road.
But, after defending well for most of the match, they were denied even a point at a time when each one is so precious.
Forest had to wait 23 years for their return to the Premier League and are hoping to avoid an immediate exit.
Cooper’s task after this dispiriting defeat is to rally his players again, knowing their next game at home against Southampton on 8 May is likely to have a huge impact on their survival hopes.
Brentford have continued to defy the odds and expectations in their second season in the Premier League, having already surpassed their points tally in an impressive debut campaign.
Anything less than a win against Forest would have all but ended the Bees’ push for Europe.
While it still appears they have too much ground to make up, with the sides above them having played fewer games, Brentford maintained the pressure on the likes of Brighton, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Tottenham.
“We didn’t play our best. Sometimes you have to find a way to win and we did it ugly today,” said Bees skipper Toney.
“I think Forest are a great side, dug in well and if they stick at it they give themselves a chance of staying in the league.
“It’s still possible [for European football] but we have to focus on ourselves and give ourselves a chance.”
source – BBC