Wimbledon 0 Nottingham Forest 1

Last updated : 02 March 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Nottingham Forest eased their relegation fears with a 1-0 win over bottom club Wimbledon.

Gareth Taylor's header in the fourth minute was enough to secure the points for Joe Kinnear's side and keep their unbeaten run going.

Wimbledon though looked doomed and must have feared the worst when Forest took the lead just moments after the kick-off.

Keeper Steve Banks did well to deny the visitors following a throw-in on the right but could do nothing about Taylor's follow-up which crept in at the far post.

The rest of the first half saw few chances at either end but it was Forest who looked the most incisive up front.

Marlon King was a lively threat and forced Banks into a decent save just before the half-hour mark.

In contrast Wimbledon created little up front but came within inches of an equaliser in the 34th minute when Mark Williams headed against the post following Warren Barton's corner.

The second half was a more open affair but Forest attacking pair King and Taylor found Williams and fellow centre back Peter Hawkins in commanding form.

Nick Barmby twice tested Banks first with a header and then a long-range effort but the visitors were unable to extend their lead.

Wimbledon's best chances fell to Wade Small, who flashed a shot narrowly wide around the hour mark but despite late pressure from the Dons, Forest kept their composure and held out for a vital win.

Wimbledon manager Stuart Murdoch said afterwards he was pleased with the team's performance but admitted relegation is almost inevitable.

"We asked for spirit and determination and got that. But our quality in front of goal was not good enough," he said.

"Looking at the league table we've got to be realistic. We've got 18 points all season and we're about 18 points off safety.

"It's all about building for next season now."