Goals from Jamie Mackie, Andy Reid and Henri Lansbury sealed a 3-0 win for Nottingham Forest against ten man Bolton Wanderers at the City Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Mackie put Forest on their way, scoring in the second minute before Reid doubled the hosts’ advantage early in the second half with a sublime volley from the edge of the penalty area.
With the score at 2-0, Whites midfielder Darren Pratley received his marching orders for a second bookable offence for a foul on Chris Cohen, before Lansbury completed the scoring with a diving header at the back post.
On a cloudy afternoon at the City Ground, manager Dougie Freedman made two changes to his side from last weekend’s draw against Reading.
Winger Robert Hall and striker Craig Davies came into the fray for their first league starts of the season, replacing Jermaine Beckford and David Ngog, with the latter not involved in the 18 man squad.
Forest, under the guidance of Billy Davies, named new recruit Kelvin Wilson in their starting line-up, with the centre half having recently joined from Scottish champions Celtic.
And it was the hosts who made the perfect start to the game, taking the lead with only two minutes on the clock through summer signing Mackie.
With a pass from midfield slicing the visitors defence wide open, former QPR favourite Mackie cut inside from the left flank to arrow a shot beyond Adam Bogdan into the far corner.
Forest were moving the ball around elegantly but with a real tempo, as Wanderers looked to settle into the contest after falling behind early on.
Tough tackling midfielder Jay Spearing was the first player to go into Mark Haywood’s notebook in the 17th minute after a strong but late challenge on Reds playmaker Andy Reid.
Soon enough, Bolton began to have their say on the game in the Midlands. Current club top goal scorer Pratley, cleverly switched play out wide for Alex Baptiste to swing a cross into the penalty area towards Davies, however the Whites’ lone striker was unable to direct his header on target.
Defender David Whether rattled the Forest cross bar on the half hour mark as he came close to scoring his first goal since a brace against Blackburn Rovers in 2012 at the Reebok Stadium.
Rising above the Reds backline, Wheater expertly connected with Robert Hall’s in swinging free-kick only to hit goalkeeper Karl Darlow’s frame. Pratley was first to respond to the rebound, however the linesman ruled the midfielder to be in an offside position.
Spearing’s fellow central midfielders Pratley and Medo both received yellow cards before the end of the first half, with Reid the first Forest player to be booked after a fiery opening 45 at the City Ground.
It was the same story for Bolton Wanderers as Forest raced out of the traps and doubled their lead early in the second half.
A low cross from the right hand side worked its way to the edge of the penalty box for Reid to fire a powerful volley into the bottom right hand corner.
Forest could have made it three moments later when defender turned striker Greg Halford escaped the Bolton defence, only to see his shot come back off the post.
Matters soon worsened for the Whites when Pratley received a second yellow card and his marching orders following a late challenge when going up for a header with Chris Cohen.
Responding to the early second half drama, manager Freedman made his first two changes, Davies replaced by Beckford and Samni Odelusi coming on for Hall.
However, the substitutions didn’t alter Bolton’s fortunes as Nottingham Forest grabbed a third through former Arsenal trainee Lansbury.
From the same position as their second, Halford fired a low cross from the right hand side for Lansbury to sneak in at the back post and steer a diving header past a helpless Bogdan in the 65th minute.
From there on in, Forest were comfortable, seeing out the final 20 minutes at the City Ground, with Bolton now focusing on getting back on the right road when Queens Park Rangers visit the Reebok Stadium next weekend, in the early kick-off.