Nottingham Forest 2 Reading 1

Last updated : 16 January 2010 By Footymad Previewer
Lee Camp was the hero as Nottingham Forest fended off a spirited fightback from Reading to secure a 2-1 win at the City Ground and keep the pressure on table-topping Newcastle.

Goals from Paul Anderson and Robert Earnshaw put cruising Forest firmly in control during a one-sided first half.

But it took three fine saves from keeper Camp - including a penalty stop to deny Brian Howard - to secure a fifth consecutive home win in the Championship for Billy Davies' side, despite a late stoppage-time strike from Jimmy Kebe.

It was enough to move Forest to within two points of Newcastle, who host fellow promotion chasers West Brom on Monday night.

Forest had offered a warning of their threat more than once in the first ten minutes, with Earnshaw twice close to breaking the offside trap and Raddy Majewski seeing a shot charged down by defender Matt Mills.

But, when Forest did time their break perfectly, with Earnshaw feeding a perfect pass into the path of Chris Cohen, it sparked the attack from which the home side took an 11th-minute lead.

The midfielder's lengthening stride took him surging into space down the right and, with keeper Adam Federici coming off his line to close, Cohen unselfishly squared the ball for Anderson to lift a rising shot over the stranded keeper and high into the net.

Reading, at this stage, looked to be a side drained of confidence, with Forest able to turn defence into attack in the space of five or six quick passes, forcing Andy Griffin into making a vital challenge to deny Earnshaw a run on goal.

Anderson then turned provider in spectacular fashion as another flowing move played the winger into space down the left, where he delivered a pinpoint cross to the far post for Earnshaw, who smashed a vicious volley goalwards, forcing an outstanding save from Federici, who somehow managed to claw the ball away.

Earnshaw was not to be denied a goal for long however, as he struck four minutes before half-time to double the home side's advantage.

This time it was Majewski who provided the incisive pass, finding a gap in the Reading defence who stood flat-footed as the ball ran all the way through to Earnshaw, who swept away the chance with aplomb at the near post.

And it should have been 3-0 before the break, as Dexter Blackstock was sent racing clear in stoppage time, only to prod his shot inches the wrong side of the post with Federici beaten.

Reading made a half-time change with the experienced figure of Howard brought on to replace Kalifa Cisse, as the visitors looked to address Forest's domination in midfield.

And it breathed some fresh life into the visitors, who twice came close to pulling a goal back - only to be denied by a pair of outstanding saves by Camp.

Both were to thwart striker Gunnar Thorvaldsson, firstly from a firm diving header and then from a rising effort that seemed destined to arrow under the bar before the keeper swatted the ball away with impressive agility.

And there was better to come from Camp, who came to Forest's rescue yet again as Reading won a penalty.

There was no doubt that it should have been a spot-kick as Nicky Shorey hauled down substitute Kebe - and was subsequently red carded by referee Darren Deadman.

Howard's penalty was firmly struck, but Camp read it perfectly, plunging low to his left to push the ball away and preserve his clean sheet.

Deep into stoppage time, Kebe glanced the ball into the back of the net following a cross from Howard, but Forest held out for the final whistle, which came seconds later.