Nottingham Forest’s nine-match unbeaten run came to an end yesterday as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to fellow play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium yesterday.
Although Boro’s quality shone through, making full use of their home advantage and utilising the atmosphere to their benefit, the visitors proved to be the masters of their own downfall as they went 1-0 down through Ryan Yates’ misplaced back-pass in the 17th minute.
Previously look as though he would deal with Brice Samba’s short pass with relative ease, the midfielder seemingly wilted under the pressure from the hosts’ press and that proved to be a vital moment in the game as they went into the break 1-0 down.
Quiz: Can you name which club Nottingham Forest sold these 26 players to?
A promising spell at the start of the second half gave them the platform to pick up another good result away from home after their 4-1 hammering of Swansea City earlier this month, but they were unable to capitalise on this momentum and were punished midway through the second half as Andraz Sporar fired the ball home to leave the Reds empty-handed.
One positive that did come from the game though was Xande Silva, only featuring once for Cooper’s men since his move from West Ham United in the summer prior to this match, but made a rare appearance on the bench at the Riverside and even managed to get on for half an hour.
The 24-year-old very nearly opened his account for the second-tier side, seeing his shot come off against the post as he was unable to get his side back in the game just before the 90-minute mark.
With the attacker making a rare appearance, we had a look at how a selection of Forest fans reacted to his performance on Twitter.
#NFFC well that was painful to watch. Average looking boro side dominate is. Frightening how much better we look with Spence instead of Back. Silva looked twice the player of Taylor in this one random appearance. Game to forget, especially for Yates 🤦🏼♂️
— Matt (@sporteventsrmh) December 27, 2021
Carvalho & Silva.
The best performance I've seen from Joao in a #nffc shirt for a long time, and I really am delighted for him.
We as a fan base, and a club have a habit of writing players off before giving them a fair chance. Well guess what? Xande Silva can play ball 4/4
— Garibaldi Analytics (@NFFCGAnalytics) December 26, 2021
One of them games!!
We just have to learn by our mistakes brush ourselves down and go again.
Thought Silva looked sharp I'd give him a start and 60-70 mins Thursday got beat by a better team in Boro today…. #nffc
— Marc 'Smurf' Twaite 🇬🇧 (@MarcTwaite) December 26, 2021
There could be a place for Silva, looks a threat off the bench #nffc
— Kendo (@AndrewKendrick7) December 26, 2021
Thought silva showed some bright sparks today #NFFC
— Hassan (@Forestaremagiic) December 26, 2021
Most of our attacking threat is from the wing backs. We have no midfield. Carvalho is totally dependent on other players bringing him into the game. Xande Silva could be a player for us. We can come out of the 3 Christmas games with 6 points.#nffc
— Rich Russell (@richrssll) December 26, 2021
A plus today was Silva,he looked very lively #nffc
— Ricky (@Ricky85870078) December 26, 2021
Well that was rubbish, could’ve been a lot worse though! Xande Silva showing a couple of neat touches possibly the only positive! #NFFC
— James Lyner (@JamesLyner) December 26, 2021