Sheffield Wednesday maintain play-off push with victory over Nottingham Forest
Sheffield Wednesday maintained their play-off push with a fourth consecutive Sky Bet Championship victory as Nottingham Forest were beaten 2-1 at the City Ground.
This was Wednesday's fifth consecutive win over Forest, who paid the price for missed chances as goals from Almen Abdi and Fernando Forestieri either side of half-time put the visitors into a 2-0 lead.
Ross McCormack had failed to net from the spot when the score was still 0-0 and, despite Ben Osborn pulling one back for the Reds with half an hour still to play, the home side only rarely threatened for an equaliser.
Rookie keeper Jordan Smith was handed his first Forest start and was tested within the first three minutes, when former Reds loanee Sam Hutchinson let fly from the edge of the box with a low shot that flew through a host of bodies.
Jamie Ward then hammered a shot against the bar for the hosts after a superb piece of control and an unselfish lay-off from teenage striker Ben Brereton.
Brereton himself had Keiren Westwood scrambling across his goal nervously as he hit an instant shot from 20 yards that found the wrong side of the side-netting.
Brereton, 17, then looked briefly to have angled through on goal down the left, but his cross to the far post was cleared, after being headed down into the danger zone by Matty Cash.
Forest will have felt disappointed not to have taken the lead but they were also thankful to Smith for ensuring they did not go behind when he made himself big to deny Jordan Rhodes, from 10 yards, when the striker looked likely to score.
The Reds should have taken the lead when Brereton threatened yet again, latching onto a through ball from McCormack, only for Westwood to bring the striker down in the box
Referee Andy Madley pointed to the spot and showed a yellow card to the Wednesday man.
It was McCormack who stepped up to take the spot-kick - but saw Westwood dive to his left to save what was a weak shot.
That came in the 27th minute and, within a minute, the visitors had taken the lead with a spectacular goal
When the ball bounced around on the edge of the box as Forest tried to clear, it was Abdi who reacted quickest, sending a rasping volley high into the corner of the net.
Daniel Pinillos fired a half-chance wide for Forest, but it was Smith who had to make an outstanding save to deny Forestieri after he had ghosted clear down the middle, just before half-time.
Forestieri was not to be denied for long however, as he doubled the visitors' lead seven minutes into the second half
Forest struggled to clear an Abdi corner and, after collecting the ball with his back to goal, Forestieri found the top corner with a shot on the turn.
Forest made two changes in the 59th minute, bringing on Britt Assombalonga and Mustapha Carayol - and a minute later they had pulled a goal back.
It was the outstanding Brereton who was the catalyst as he chased a lost cause on the left, keeping the ball in before angling towards goal and luring Westwood off his line - before cutting the ball back for Osborn, who found a gap between three Wednesday defenders on the line to finish.
Brereton came close to an equaliser with a glancing header that dropped just wide, but sixth-placed Wednesday defended solidly to move seven points clear of Norwich.
Source : PA