Chris Hughton’s side still sit in the bottom three, without a point to their name, after a poor showing against Blackburn Rovers. It was easily the Reds’ worst performance of the season, as they showed little intent to get forward and struggled to string a pass together.
The game began in a similar vein to those before it — Forest started on the front foot and took the game to Blackburn, with both Alex Mighten and Philip Zinckernagel testing the Rovers keeper.
Jordi Osei-Tutu’s game was cut short by a suspected injury, causing him to be replaced by Fin Back after just 15 minutes. Back featured as a right-back, with Jordan Gabriel shifting over to the left.
Tony Mowbray’s side began to grow into the game soon after, with Ben Brereton heading wide and Brice Samba being called into action on multiple occasions to keep the scores level. It went from bad to worse for Forest in the second half, as former Red Daniel Ayala headed home Harry Pickering’s free-kick just minutes after the restart.
After that Forest really began to struggle, all passes seemed to either go sideways or backwards, and those that went forward were either over-hit or easily intercepted. João Carvalho was introduced to replace Alex Mighten, and whilst it allowed for some fresh legs going forward, the decision to replace an attack-minded player instead of one of the two holding midfielders left fans confused.
It took a piece of individual brilliance for the equaliser. Zinckernagel, who has been in great form since arriving from Watford, drove the ball forward before firing past Thomas Kaminski, to level the score 1-1.
With the clock ticking down, Samba’s poor attempt to clear an incoming free-kick left the Reds vulnerable at the back. The ball was quickly played back into the box, with Sam Gallagher’s resulting header being cleared off the line by Gabriel. But the Forest defenders could only stand and watch, as Darragh Lenihan’s follow-up header sailed into the back of the net.
The action didn’t stop there, however, as Gabriel, who had already been booked, received a second yellow for a challenge on Harry Chapman.
Aside from the result, Forest were very lacklustre. Zinckernagel was once again fantastic, but he was the only one to have a good game. Samba was somewhat impressive — I, for one, thought he had a good game – but he was directly at fault for Blackburn’s second goal, and there can’t be any disguising that. Samba has now made three mistakes that have led to goals this season.
Ryan Yates and Jack Colback, underwhelmed in midfield as it becomes evidently clear the pair can’t play together. Neither of them had any ambition to get the ball forward, and Yates’ poor passing gave the ball away too many times. The same could be said about Tobias Figueiredo, who struggled to make even the simplest of passes in the second half.
This is a squad void of quality and void of confidence, and with a difficult run of games to come it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Unless Forest can pull off a shock result against Stoke City on Saturday — or bring in some new signings before deadline day — Hughton may not have long left in the Forest dugout.