Nottm Forest 0-1 Blackburn: Match Report
Blackburn give themselves a relegation lifeline with win at Forest
A Tommie Hoban header was enough to secure a 1-0 win for Blackburn to give them hope of Championship survival - and drag Nottingham Forest right back into the fight against relegation.
Hoban converted powerfully from a corner in the 78th minute to stun Mark Warburton's side, who find themselves back within two points Rovers, who occupy the final spot in the bottom three.
Tony Mowbray's Rovers had not won in seven games - but fought their way to three points that will have them believing they can still beat the drop.
Blackburn made five changes to their side, amid an injury crisis that had robbed them of numerous key players, including striker Danny Graham, keeper Jason Steele and Craig Conway, who failed a fitness test.
Forest were unchanged, as they looked to replicate their win over Huddersfield last weekend, which had edged them closer to Championship safety.
Zach Clough might have given the home side the lead in the fourth minute, following a cut-back from Chris Cohen, but saw his low shot deflected wide of the post. Ben Brereton, Forest's 17-year-old striker, then ghosted between two Blackburn defenders and into the box, but failed to muster any power in his shot.
When Armand Traore fouled Connor Mahoney on the edge of the box, it gave Mahoney the chance to fizz in a curling free-kick that flew just wide of the far post by a narrow margin. A sloppy Blackburn pass sent Jamie Ward charging into the penalty area, but Elliott Ward recovered to make a vital block.
Forest were finding chances hard to come by, with Eric Lichaj bending a shot high and wide, following a short corner routine. Hope Akpan came close with a glancing header for the visitors.
Forest's Brereton twice threatened in first half injury time, seeing a shot deflected over and a spectacular long range effort miss by a tiny margin.
The Reds brought on Michael Mancienne for Matt Mills at half time and switched from a 3-5-2 to a 4-1-4-1. A Clough free-kick required an acrobatic save from David Raya.
Mancienne sent a header just over the bar and Traore fired a shot wide of the far post, as Forest continued to toil without reward. Another Forest sub, Britt Assombalonga, set up a chance for Clough on the edge of the box, but his effort was wild.
And it was Blackburn who were to take the lead from a corner as Mahoney delivered a superb ball towards the far post, where Hoban was arriving to power a downward header into the back of the net from a few yards.
Raya had to make a truly outstanding stop to keep Forest at bay, as Assombalonga hit a shot on the turn that seemed certain to find the net.