|Sharp 22||Venue: The City Ground
|Trotter 3, Henderson 60, Wood 76, Keogh 84|
MILLWALL scored three second-half goals to stun Nottingham Forest and extend their unbeaten run to seven matches.
Liam Trotter’s sublime opener had been cancelled out by Billy Sharp in an end-to-end first-half, but the Lions took control after the break and goals from Darius Henderson, Chris Wood and Andy Keogh secured an impressive win.
Tottenham loanee Adam Smith was handed his debut at right-back in place of the suspended Alan Dunne as Kenny Jackett made just one change to the side that beat Huddersfield Town 4-0.
Karleigh Osborne and Jack Smith returned to the bench after injury as Dany N’Guessan and Therry Racon dropped out of the matchday squad altogether.
There were less than 30 seconds on the clock when Reds ‘keeper Lee Camp was forced into his first save of the afternoon, gathering Wood’s dipping effort at the second attempt as Millwall came flying out of the traps.
And they were rewarded for their strong start in stunning fashion when Trotter cut in from the left wing and bent a curling shot around his marker and into the top right-hand corner from the edge of the area in the 3rd minute.
Forest came close to an immediate response when Radoslaw Majewski took aim from distance only to fire into the side netting, before the midfielder was forced off with injury and replaced by Adlene Guedioura.
In the 15th minute, winger Andy Reid broke clear down the left-hand side but, off-balance and under pressure from Smith, fired tamely at David Forde, while Chris Taylor’s shot was parried by Camp at the other end.
The Lions appeared to be in control of the game but were pegged back in the 22nd minute, against the run of play, when Sharp exchanged passes with Simon Cox before curling the ball into the far corner.
The visitors were momentarily shaken by the equaliser and it took a vital defensive header from Mark Beevers to prevent Sharp heading in a quick-fire second.
But they regained their composure thereafter and restricted Forest to just the one chance before the break, which saw Reid chip the ball straight into Forde’s arms in the 32nd minute.
On the stroke of half-time, Taylor’s inswinging delivery picked out Henderson on the penalty spot but he headed well over when, had he let the ball run, James Henry was better-placed to score at the far post.
The second-half was slow to get going and there was not a meaningful effort on target from either side until the 57th minute when Reid fired in a 25-yard free-kick that Forde gathered with ease.
Minutes later, Henderson’s hooked cross at the end of a quick counter-attack was met by the onrushing Henry, only for the winger to head over.
But the pair reversed roles on the hour mark to restore Millwall’s lead as Henry’s pin-point cross was powered home by the head of Henderson to make it 2-1.
Forest rallied after falling behind for the second time in the match and forced a string of corners, two of which were excellently punched clear by Forde, as they searched for another equaliser.
But in the 76th minute, a misplaced pass in midfield handed possession to Henry, who picked out the supporting run of Wood. The New Zealand striker cut inside and curled a shot towards the far corner, which took a heavy deflection and trickled past Camp.
The Lions were rampant now and with Forest pushing men forward, they were able to add a killer fourth goal on the break in the 84th minute. Taylor’s cross was deflected into the path of substitute Keogh, who flicked the ball home from close range to complete the rout.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Moloney, Collins, Harding, Gillett (McGugan, 76mins), Cohen, Reid (Blackstock, 71mins), Cox, Sharp, Majewski (Guedioura, 15mins) Ward. Subs not used: Tudgay, Coppinger, Lansbury.
Millwall: Forde, A.Smith, Lowry, Abdou, Shittu, Beevers, C.Taylor, Trotter, Henderson (Keogh, 81mins), Wood, Henry. Subs not used: M.Taylor, Feeney, Osborne, J.Smith, Wright, Malone.