Nottingham Forest’s nine-game unbeaten run in the Championship came to an end yesterday afternoon, with Middlesbrough running out as 2-0 winners at the Riverside Stadium.
A Ryan Yates own goal, and an Andraz Sporar strike, earned the Teessiders all three points against a Forest side who have enjoyed an excellent rise to the top end of the division after a poor start.
The defeat means that forest now find themselves in ninth place but are just two points from the much-desired play-off positions.
Here, we take a look at three things we learnt about Forest during yesterday’s 2-0 defeat…
Quiz: Can you remember Nottingham Forest’s last 16 Boxing Day results?
Brice Samba shone through a difficult game
Middlesbrough were excellent against Forest, with Brice Samba having perhaps his busiest game of the season thus far.
Not only did he impress with his shot-stopping ability, but his composure when in possession and subsequent distribution was another positive to come from yesterday’s clash.
Samba has been excellent for Forest this season and could be key for the Reds should they be able to continue operating around the play-offs.
They struggled to create
It is not very often where Forest struggle to create enough opportunities in a match but yesterday was a perfect example of just that.
Philip Zinckernagel, and the midfield three, found it difficult to provide Lewis Grabban with enough service, and whilst Brennan Johnson was a brighter spark, he also found it quite hard to be as influential as usual.
They will not be too concerned, as this could just be a one off, but with the January transfer window just around the corner, yesterday’s lack of creativity could make Cooper delve into the market.
It is not all bad news
Every team struggles during a game in the Championship, and Forest will be hoping that yesterday was their rare difficulty.
The Reds have been excellent since Cooper was appointed and are still well within the play-off mix at present.
It is now about responding positively to this latest setback, and whilst a 2-0 defeat is disappointing, credit has to go to Boro who looked brilliant.
Forest remain within the play-off mix, which seems to be expanding once again, which in the grand scheme of things is an excellent achievement when considering how the season began.