Nottingham Forest fell to their third defeat in three Championship matches this evening, losing at home to Blackburn Rovers.
The Reds fell to their third successive 2-1 defeat of the campaign, after goals from Daniel Ayala and Darragh Lenihan either side of Philip Zinckernagel’s strike seeing Rovers return to winning ways.
Forest started the better of the two sides, with Zinckernagel forcing Thomas Kaminski into two early saves – his second strike almost finding the bottom corner after dipping goalwards.
Alex Mighten then threatened to open the deadlock, receiving the ball on the left flank following a driving Brennan Johnson run, before cutting inside and firing an effort narrowly wide of the far post.
Injuries proved problematic for Forest once again, though, and not the first time in the early stages of the season. Jordi Osei-Tutu limped off with a suspected hamstring problem on 16 minutes, with 18-year-old Fin Back coming on for his league debut.
Blackburn began to grow into the game, and soon after Ben Brereton Diaz glanced a header wide at the front post, Tony Mowbray’s side wasted a big opportunity in front of goal.
Joe Rothwell was able to dance his way into the penalty area before rolling the ball back across goal for John Buckley to fire, but the midfielder’s low effort was saved brilliantly by Brice Samba at close-range. Samba was then called into action moments later, palming away Tyrhys Dolan’s long-range effort as the game began to open up.
Forest had Samba to thank right before half-time, again, as he parried away another long-range effort from Buckley.
The half-time whistle blew, with a few boos sounding out at the City Ground from a small section of Forest fans, who had witnessed their team be wasteful in possession and struggle to progress the ball quickly in the opening 45 minutes.
They had even more reason to be disappointed two minutes into the second half, as Blackburn took the lead.
A dangerous in-swinging free-kick from Harry Pickering found the head of Daniel Ayala, who glanced in a header and found the bottom corner to break the deadlock for Mowbray’s men.
Frustrations continued to grow amongst the City Ground faithful, with every backwards pass and mis-timed touch being met with jeers and groans.
Hughton, looking to add a bit of inspiration, introduced Joao Carvalho on the hour mark, replacing Mighten shortly after Ryan Yates had an effort blocked following Johnson’s low cross across goal.
But as frustrations continued to build on Trentside, a piece of individual brilliance brought them back on level terms.
Zinckernagel received the ball out wide before driving in-field, checking back onto his left foot and thundering a low effort into the bottom corner via the post. An equaliser for the Reds on 69 minutes, at a time where the City Ground crowd were beginning to turn.
A double change was then made by Tony Mowbray, who was now the manager looking for a response. Dolan and Rothwell replaced by Harry Chapman and Jacob Davenport, ahead of what promised to be an enthralling final 15 minutes.
Buckley was to be left frustrated by Samba once again on 82 minutes. A long ball was hit over the top for Chapman to chase, with the winger weaving his way into the area and pulling it back across goal. Buckley fired his effort on target, but straight into the goalkeeper’s palms.
But with five minutes remaining, Blackburn found a late winner.
Samba was unable to claim a deep cross, with Blackburn allowed to put the ball back into the danger area. After Sam Gallagher had a header cleared off the line, Darragh Lenihan was then on-hand to nod the loose ball into an empty net from the penalty spot to grab the winning goal.
The night was to go from bad to worse for the hosts, too, as on the stroke of full-time, Jordan Gabriel was shown a second yellow card for a late tackle on Chapman, with Forest ending the night with 10 men.
The full-time whistle blew with a chorus of boos ringing out on Trentside, as Forest fell to their third 2-1 defeat in three games.
A return to winning ways for Blackburn, however, with Mowbray’s men yielding seven points from their first three matches and showing plenty of fight to claim their second win of the season here.