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Forest post-match notebook: Teenager shines, 24-year-old returns to form

Nottingham Forest quickly overcame their midweek disappointment by defeating Blackburn Rovers 1-0 in a tense Championship affair.

Alex Mighten got the game’s only goal when his half volley looped over Rovers keeper Thomas Kaminski in the first half.

However, Blackburn did come close to equalising when they won a penalty after Brice Samba fouled Ryan Nyambe, but he went from zero to hero very quickly as he saved Adam Armstrong’s effort.

In the aftermath of a big victory for Chris Hughton’s Forest – who have now done the double over Blackburn this season – here are four things we learnt…

Forest
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Alex Mighten of Nottingham Forest celebrates with teammate Anthony Knockaert after scoring his team’s first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers at City Ground on February 20, 2021 in Nottingham, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Anthony Knockaert still has no luck

Surely at some point, things will start falling into place for Knockaert, who was once again frustrated by the footballing gods.

Forest started sluggishly, but they quickly got into their stride thanks to Knockaert, but he was desperately unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.

After receiving the ball, Knockaert cut in, skipped past two players and then beat the keeper…only for someone to head his effort off the line.

Knockaert was also denied two assists – firstly when his cross fell to Glenn Murray, who just shot wide and secondly when his free kick was headed against the bar by James Garner.

He got some joy as his free kick was nodded down by Joe Worrall for the first goal, but you’ll be hard pressed to find another player in the Championship whose overall team contribution isn’t backed up by figures.

Forest
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Lewis Travis of Blackburn Rovers is fouled by Alex Mighten of Nottingham Forest during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers at City Ground on February 20, 2021 in Nottingham, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Yuri Ribeiro comes back strong

Partially at fault for the desperately unjust Connor Roberts winner for Swansea in midweek, Ribeiro played like he had a point to prove against Blackburn.

He was busy within minutes as Blackburn found some joy down their left hand side and as they crossed into the box, Ribeiro denied a certain goal as he stabbed the ball away before it could find a blue and white shirt.

That set the tone for what was a very solid performance at both ends of the pitch, which was much like the Ribeiro that Forest fans took to last season.

Hughton will be very pleased that his left back bounced back so strongly after the Swansea game, as it would’ve been easy for Ribeiro to go the other way.

Forest
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Filip Krovinovic of Nottingham Forest battles for possession with Harvey Elliott of Blackburn Rovers during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers at City Ground on February 20, 2021 in Nottingham, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Alex Mighten shines again

Starts haven’t been all that regular for Mighten, potentially for a number of reasons, but he certainly delivered today.

With Forest in the midst of a relegation battle, it’s understandable why Hughton would lean towards experience, though it was the academy graduate who stole the headlines against Blackburn.

It wasn’t just his goal – an edge of the box half volley that looped over the keeper – that will please Hughton though, as Mighten was frequently tracking back and doing his defensive duties as well.

When Murray signed, he mentioned how important it was for the flair players to do their bit and Mighten’s contribution at both ends won’t have gone unnoticed by the Forest management.

Forest
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Alex Mighten of Nottingham Forest celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers at City Ground on February 20, 2021 in Nottingham, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Three home games, three clean sheets

Forest had to ride their luck at times, but the victory makes it three consecutive clean sheets at The City Ground.

When Knockaert’s weak header was intercepted by Ryan Nyambe, Brice Samba couldn’t get out of the way and took the Blackburn player clean out.

However, Samba dived correctly to keep the penalty out and Forest just about held on to secure their ninth clean sheet of the season.

It wasn’t pretty and times and it was certainly nail biting for supporters, but clean sheets are becoming more and more frequent for Forest now.

Should Nottingham Forest be looking up the pitch now after this win over Blackburn Rovers?

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