Report: Nottingham Forest 4-1 Bolton
Ten man Wanderers suffered a 4-1 defeat against Nottingham Forest at The City Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Chris Burke opened the scoring for the home side with nine minutes gone, while Michail Antonio doubled their advantage ten minutes later.
Adam Le Fondre's penalty in first half injury time gave Bolton hope, but the dismissal of Matt Mills for a second bookable offence shortly after the restart hit the Whites hard.
Having previously seen Tim Ream stretchered off, Andrew Lonergan was next to leave the field in the same manner as he conceded a penalty kick which Henri Lansbury duly despatched, while Burke notched his second of the game moments later to round off the scoring.
There was a first start for Filip Twardzik in a Bolton shirt, while Matt Mills also returned to the starting XI following a spell on the sidelines through injury.
Elsewhere, Emile Heskey was also included in the matchday eighteen having overcome his recent hamstring problem.
Forest started the stronger of the sides, with Henri Lansbury seeing his free-kick from just outside the box saved by Andrew Lonergan inside the opening two minutes of the clash.
Wanderers responded with an attack of their own, with Liam Feeney slicing his effort whilst unmarked on the right hand side of goal while Barry Bannan blasted his own shot high and wide.
The home side continued to push forward however, with Ben Osborn’s run into the box seeing Lansbury consequently slam the ball over the bar under pressure from Tim Ream.
Having pressed inside the opening stages of the clash, Forest eventually broken the deadlock as Burke, capitalising on a slip by Twardzik, saw his initial shot parried by Lonergan, but made no mistake on the rebound as he slammed the ball home
from close range with nine minutes gone.
Boosted by their opener, Forest continued to pile on the pressure but were unable to break through with Wanderers themselves finally finding space in the home side’s half of the pitch to test the Reds’ backline.
Out of nothing however, Forest doubled their advantage in the 18th minute as Michail Antonio powered towards goal, turned his man on the edge of the box before drilling the ball home past a stranded Lonergan in the Bolton goal.
Despite finding themselves further behind in the clash, Bolton almost halved the deficit in the 22nd minute as Josh Vela unleashed from distance, but the midfielder’s shot flew narrowly over Karl Darlow’s crossbar.
A goalmouth scramble followed after a Bannan corner with Matt Mills and Dorian Dervite both attempting to fire home through a crowded box, but neither could prevail as Forest cleared their lines.
Lonergan was soon called back into action though, being forced to deny Lansbury’s close range header with a third goal seemingly imminent.
A tactical change for Wanderers on the half hour mark saw Ream revert to left-back and Feeney move into the right-back berth, but an injury to the former moments later saw the introduction of Dean Moxey.
With Ream leaving the field on a stretcher to applause from all four side of The City Ground, the game got back underway with the home side pushing in a bid to extend their lead as the half drew to a close.
On the stroke of half time however, Wanderers were handed a lifeline as, following a foul on Clough in the area, Adam Le Fondre lashed home the resulting penalty kick to give Bolton hope at the break.
With Emile Heskey replacing Twardzik at the half time break, Wanderers started brightly with the frontman causing problems for the Forest defence from the off.
Just three minutes into the half though, Bolton were dealt a bitter blow as Mills received a second yellow card for hauling down Antonio just outside the box.
Heskey then proceeded to take his place amongst the Bolton backline, lining up alongside Dervite in the heart of defence.
Tempers began to flare from thereon in, with late challenges flying in from both sides while Dexter Blackstock narrowly avoided going into the referee’s notebook for his tackle on Dervite.
The game began to transcend into a very scrappy affair, and with 14 minutes of the half gone Forest were handed an opportunity to extend their lead as Lonergan fouled Blackstock in the box.
With the keeper taking a kick to the face for his troubles, Ben Amos came on for his first appearance for the club, with the shot-stopper unable to keep out Lansbury’s resulting penalty.
Just three minutes later and it was four for the home side, Burke notching his second of the game from just inside the area following a scramble for possession on the edge of the box.
Frustrations were evident for Wanderers, with Le Fondre next in the book for a late challenge on the half way line.
The home side were still in the ascendancy with their man advantage visibly evident as the game headed towards its conclusion but found themselves running into a stubborn Bolton backline.
Bannan did enjoy an opportunity to reduce the deficit, but his drilled free-kick from distance pinged around the penalty area before being cleared away.
Wanderers did push forward in the ten minutes of added time with Clough causing problems down the left flank and in and around the area, but his efforts were in vain as the full time whistle went.