Tunnicliffe grabs the only goal as Luton win at Forest for the first time since 1983

Championship: Nottingham Forest 0 Luton Town 1

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 10:23 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 7:48 am
Ryan Tunnicliffe celebrates his winning goal at Nottingham Forest
Ryan Tunnicliffe celebrates his winning goal at Nottingham Forest

Ryan Tunnicliffe scored for the second game in a row as Luton Town picked up their first win at Nottingham Forest since March 1983 with a terrific 1-0 victory this evening.

Going into the contest, the Hatters had endured a miserable time of it at the City Ground, losing seven and drawing five of their last 12 visits, not triumphing since club legend Ricky Hill's strike decided a Division One contest almost 38 years ago.

It looked like that run would continue after a first half that the hosts dominated, going close through Glenn Murray but Luton dug in, crucially getting through to half time with the scores goalless.

Once Tunnicliffe had put them ahead just after the hour mark, they then saw out the rest of the game with very few alarms, while could have even added to their tally in the latter stages.

The Hatters made three changes from Saturday's superb comeback 3-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Harry Cornick and Glen Rea in for Tom Ince, Joe Morrell and Martin Cranie, meaning the team that ended the contest starting this one.

Forest started the brighter, experienced striker Glenn Murray left completely unmarked to put a free header goalwards that Simon Sluga parried, before Anthony Knockaert directed his effort from Joe Lolley's inviting cross over.

Lolley then set off on a driving run from inside his own half, but his finish was poor, dragging well wide from 25 yards.

Town took a while to threaten the hosts' area, Elijah Adebayo mistiming his jump at the far post from Mpanzu's cross and Cornick's effort blocked.

Murray was still a problem in the air, his downward header dropping wide of the target, while Cyrus Christie also had a pop on 18 minutes, failing to locate the target on his left foot.

Forest did finally test Sluga again midway through the half, as the Croatian fisted away Lolley's blast after a well-worked free kick and then gathered Cafu's deflected follow up from outside the box.

It was all the hosts in terms of meaningful chances, Knockaert delivering a wonderful cross from the left that was met by Murray, but stretching, he volleyed a few inches over the top from a matter of yards.

Luton could never make the most of their odd opening, Cornick blazing a cross behind following Jordan Clark's adventurous foray upfield, as still Forest pressed, Knockaert's radar remaining awry after a short corner.

On the stroke of half time, Adebayo managed to get into the home area, but despite committing a few defenders, saw his shot repelled away.

After the break, Forest tried their luck again from range, while the increasingly impressive Kal Naismith produced an excellent sliding block to prevent Murray breaking the deadlock.

Just before the hour, Sluga made a superb save to keep the scores goalless, as a speedy counter saw James Garner pick up possession and from 16 yards, unleash a drive that was destined for the bottom corner until the keeper reacted brilliantly to turn it behind with his left hand.

Luton went straight up the other end and should have had the lead themselves, Clark's angled volley deflecting for Adebayo but eight yards out, he shanked straight at Brice Samba, when a truer connection would have seen the net ripple.

Samba was picking the ball out of the net though on 64 minutes when a good passing move started by Clark saw the ball played out wide to Mpanzu.

He whipped an excellent cross into the area and Tunnicliffe showed superb desire, as he had done on Saturday, to be first to the ball, stretching out a leg to divert a volley beyond the keeper for a shock lead and the first goal the hosts had conceded at home in over three and a half games.

It should have been 2-0 to the Hatters on 73 minutes, as Adebayo did tremendously to create an opening by the byline, teeing up Clark, but he couldn't quite pick out the bottom corner.

Buoyed by that goal, Town's performance levels increased dramatically, their passing sharper, everyone a yard quicker, with tackles being snapped into as well.

It had the opposite effect on the hosts, who all of a sudden became laboured, with their passes going astray and shots becoming more in hope rather than expectation, particularly when Cafu was within 30 yards of goal.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's low daisycutter was gathered by Samba as Forest never looked capable of producing a grandstand finish, meaning Town made it back-to-back Championship wins for the first time since September, recording yet another 1-0 away success, and climbing up to 13th in the table.

Forest: Brice Samba, Cyrus Christie, Tobias Figueiredo, Joe Worrall ©, Yuri Ribeiro, Cafu, Joe Lolley (Sammy Ameobi 68), Glenn Murray, Filip Krovinovic (Lyle Taylor 68), Anthony Knockaert (Alex Mighten 79), James Garner.

Subs not used: Jordan Smith, Loic Mbe Soh, Jack Colback, Luke Freeman, Carl Jenkinson, Tyler Blackett.

Hatters: Simon Sluga, Jordan Clark, Dan Potts, Matty Pearson, Kal Naismith, Glen Rea ©, Jordan Tunnicliffe, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu, Harry Cornick (James Bree 85), Elijah Adebayo (James Collins 81).

Subs not used: James Shea, Danny Hylton, George Moncur, Luke Berry, Martin Cranie, Sam Nombe, Tom Ince.

Booked: Naismith 61.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson.