After Willy Boly was controversially sent off for a second yellow card, Nottingham Forest battled back against Bournemouth but still lost 3-2 at the City Ground. Here’s what the national newspapers had to say
If anyone was in doubt, this match provided compelling evidence that there are simply too many flaws in football’s ever-evolving laws. Nottingham Forest made a formal complaint about the referee, Robert Jones, after a contentious defeat at Manchester United in August and his decision to give Willy Boly a second yellow card for a tackle on Adam Smith 24 minutes into this contest, despite Boly cleanly winning the ball, left Forest dumbfounded, wiping Professional Game Match Officials Limited off the Christmas card list. Under the rules VAR was powerless to intervene. One can only wonder what the officials at Stockley Park must have been thinking.
Forest will point to that decision, leaving them to play with 10 men for more than 70 minutes, as a major factor in a crushing defeat at home to Bournemouth. It seemed as though Forest had successfully rallied to earn a point but Dominic Solanke completed his hat-trick deep in second-half stoppage time, looping a header from Smith’s cross into the far corner, to leave Nuno Espírito Santo sick. Only Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah have scored more top-flight goals than Solanke this season. Has Nuno, who last managed in Saudi Arabia, really missed the Premier League?
Dominic Solanke was the hat-trick hero as Bournemouth came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest and maintain the club’s impressive run under Andoni Iraola.
But the hosts, led by new head coach Nuno Espírito Santo, will feel hard done by with the defeat coming via a 94th-minute winner and after a controversial sending-off in the first half which left Forest with ten men from the 23rd minute.
When Chris Wood scored Forest’s equaliser in the 74th minute it looked as though the Nuno era was about to get off to a positive start with a hard-fought point. But then Solanke popped up as he headed past Matt Turner for his first Premier League hat-trick, taking his tally in the competition to 11 this season, with only Manchester City’s Erling Haaland having scored more in this campaign.
Welcome back to the Premier League Nuno Espirito Santo. One hundred minutes of goals, drama, and an utterly dreadful refereeing decision, too.
Dominic Solanke’s hat-trick secured Bournemouth a Premier League record with their fourth successive away win but, unfortunately for the in-form striker, the focus will centre on referee Robert Jones.
The official’s decision to send off Forest defender Willy Boly in the 23rd minute, after a perfectly timed challenge on Adam Smith, was inexplicable and left the club’s owner, Evangelos Marinakis, absolutely furious. Nuno has been away from English football for just over two years but just one match into his return is already having to address referees and Var.
Boly’s dismissal was after a second caution but Var cannot review the incident unless it was a red card offence – another clear and obvious reason that the process is failing and bewildering. Does football need Var to intervene on even more decisions? On this evidence, perhaps it does.
Dominic Solanke completed a last-gasp hat-trick to earn Bournemouth a 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest and ruin Nuno Espirito Santo’s first game in charge at the City Ground.
Forest had looked like overcoming the controversial first-half red card of Willy Boly to earn a worthy point after Chris Wood had headed them level in the 74th minute.
But Solanke, who had earlier scored twice in seven minutes to overturn Anthony Elanga’s opener for Forest, broke their hearts when he headed home in the fifth minute of time added on.
Forest will have grave complaints about the 23rd-minute dismissal of Boly, who was sent off for two yellow cards, with referee Rob Jones brandishing the second despite the defender clearly winning the ball.
Nuno, who replaced the sacked Steve Cooper earlier in the week, will be enthused by what he saw from his side, but he has inherited a relegation battle and Forest could be in the bottom three if results do not go in their favour in the Boxing Day fixtures.
Ask every Premier League manager what they would like for Christmas and it is a fair bet that most would get rid of VAR.
After the latest pantomime, this time at Nottingham Forest, it seems fair to ask many more howlers it will it take for somebody to admit the system needs a rethink?
Dominic Solanke will not have the praise he deserves for his match-winning hat-trick, with the decisive goal coming in the fourth minute of added time. That is because Nuno Espirito Santo’s first game as Forest manager since replacing Steve Cooper saw his side forced to play for three-quarters of the match with 10 men due to one of the most ludicrous decisions of the season.
When Rob Jones showed Willy Boly a second yellow card for a clean tackle on Adam Smith in the 23rd minute, it was a clear and obvious error and could surely be corrected. Right? Wrong. VAR, you see, is not permitted to intervene on yellow cards and so Boly had to leave the field.
Of course we cannot have VAR judging every booking. It is already ruining the spectacle in its current form. But if it is helpless to act in the face of such a colossal blooper, what is it there for?
Dominic Solanke bagged a sensational second-half hat-trick to spoil Nuno Espirito Santo’s debut.
But furious Forest fans were in no doubt referee Rob Jones did even more damage to their cause after he controversially sent off Willy Boly to leave Nuno’s team fighting with 10 men for almost 70 minutes.
Solanke took full advantage of Boly’s absence by bullying Forest in the air to score with two textbook headers as he netted his first Premier League hat-trick.
His contribution meant Bournemouth have taken 16 points from the last 18 available as Iraola led the Cherries to four Premier away wins on the spin for the first time in their history.
Any concern Nuno might have had about the reception he would receive from a support still smitten by Steve Cooper, turned out to be unfounded.
Warm applause met the new man’s arrival and in return he applauded all sides of the City Ground before beating his heart and the new Forest badge he now represents.