Nottingham Forest secured back-to-back league wins on Saturday afternoon, defeating Wycombe Wanderers 3-0 at Adams Park.
Glenn Murray’s brace and Anthony Knockaert’s second-half strike sent Forest on their way to a big away win, as they put further daylight between themselves and the bottom three.
Saturday afternoon presented Glenn Murray with the chance to make an impact in his first start for the club, since arriving from Brighton and Hove Albion last week.
Murray – who made a cameo appearance in midweek – wasted no such opportunity to make an immediate impact on his full Forest debut.
On seven minutes, the striker latched onto Gaetan Bong’s long punt up-field, before expertly guiding the ball over Ryan Allsop from the edge of the area with the outside of his foot. 1-0 to Forest, and a first goal in red and white for Murray.
Forest continued to push forward, and may have doubled their lead 10 minutes later if it wasn’t for Allsop being equal to Anthony Knockaert’s low, deflected effort.
But the rest of the half saw Wycombe use their physical prowess to full effect, especially in the form of Uche Ikpeazu. Joe Worrall and Tobias Figueiredo both failed to deal with the powerful forward’s size and strength throughout, as he proved to be the focal point of the Chairboys’ attack.
Shortly after Jordan Obita grazed the top of the crossbar with a teasing free-kick on the half-hour mark, Ikpeazu did find the net. The striker found space at the back post, rising above Gaetan Bong to head in from close-range whilst – fortunately for Forest – in an offside position.
No equaliser for Wycombe, then, but Gareth Ainsworth will have certainly been delighted with the way his side asserted their dominance on the game in the opening 45 minutes, winning the majority of individual battles in every area of the pitch.
The half-time whistle came at the right time for Chris Hughton and his side, in truth. Much to work on in the second half, as they looked to get back on the front foot.
Wycombe did pick up from where they left off, with Ikpeazu seeing an acrobatic effort denied from close-range by Samba.
But on 54 minutes, Forest, and Murray, were to double their tally for the afternoon.
Murray latched onto another long ball forward, bringing the ball down expertly well before being bundled over inside the area. Penalty given.
The 37-year-old got up, placed the ball on the spot before finding the top right-hand corner. Allsop did manage to get a hand to it, but the kick carried plenty of power and was too powerful for the goalkeeper. 2-0 to the visitors, two goals for Murray.
Wycombe were a frustrated outfit at this point. Not only did they believe the decision was soft, but they had a penalty shout of their own turned down five minutes later. Daryl Horgan picking the ball up inside the box amid a congested area, before going down under the challenge of a Forest defender. Nothing given by James Linington, though.
Forest looked to capitalise on their opponents’ misery and went in search of a third goal. They nearly found on 68 minutes, but Allsop managed to get fingertips on Cyrus Christie’s powerful effort across goal.
Chris Hughton made his first change in the 70th minute, replacing Luke Freeman with Joe Lolley. The latter almost made an instant impact, sending a volley just wide from the edge of the area.
But Lolley turned provider moments later, as Forest added a third goal.
James Garner found the winger out wide with a delicious, outside-of-the-foot pass. Lolley brought the ball down, before cutting it back for Knockaert to emphatically sweep home from inside the area. 3-0 to the Reds. Game, set and match.
There would be no hat-trick on the day for Murray, who was replaced by Lyle Taylor shortly after the third goal, but no could fault the contribution he made in 75 minutes.
Taylor did come close to getting himself on the scoresheet, too, Driving inside from the left, he fired a powerful effort across goal which deflected narrowly wide of the far post. Knockaert also netted his second goal of the afternoon, too, bending a first-time effort just over the bar from 20 yards.
The full-time whistle blew and Forest held onto their 3-0 lead convincingly. Back-to-back away wins for the Reds in the space of five days, with Chris Hughton’s side losing only one of their last 10 league matches. A hugely impressive performance on the road.
Wycombe still resigned to the foot of the Championship table, 12 points adrift of safety.