Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman has praised his side’s ‘superhuman effort’, as goals from Gary Gardner and Dexter Blackstock secured the Reds an impressive 2-1 win over automatic promotion contenders Middlesbrough at the City Ground.
The away side started the brighter and were rewarded for their early dominance with a rather fortuitous goal on 27 minutes, when Boro midfielder Grant Leadbitter, cut in from the right and produced a cross that beat everyone in the Forest defence and went in off the back post to give the away side the advantage.
The lead only lasted six minutes as the home side drew themselves level on 34 minutes thanks to a spectacular strike from Aston Villa loanee Gary Gardner that curled into the top left-hand corner.
The decisive winning goal for the reds transpired in the second half on 65 minutes, when a menacing counter attack cultivated in striker Dexter Blackstock stroking a low shot past Middlesborough goal keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos to give the home side the victory.
The defeat saw Boro drop out of the automatic promotion positions and into fourth place on goal difference, whilst Forest have closed the gap on sixth position to just six points with ten games of the current campaign remaining.
Forest boss Freedman, speaking to Reds Player, said that his side defended resolutely and deserved the three points after a good strong team performance.
“It was a superhuman effort to gain the three points,” Said Freedman.
“I felt we deserved it today and it was more than three points to me. We defended very well when we had to, and we attacked with good numbers and intensity. “
“Whatever anybody else says, I think it was a good all-round team performance.”
Middlesbrough counterpart Aitor Karanka, was disappointed with the manner of his side’s defeat after taking an early lead, and has reiterated the need for his side to bounce back quickly from this loss as the race for promotion to the Barclays Premier League begins to heat up.
“It’s disappointing,” said Karanka to Boro Player. “Not just for the loss of points because there are four teams on the same points now.”
“The performances against Sheffield Wednesday, Bolton and Forest were not normal, but we will have a reaction – we have a full week now to train. I am confident for the future.”
Forest will look to continue their impressive run under Dougie Freedman when they travel to Elland Road to battle Leeds United, whilst Middlesbrough will be aiming to respond to this defeat and get their promotion push back on track when they face promotion rivals Ipswich Town. Both games will be played on Saturday 14th of March.