Impressive display from Blues as N'Daw, Hyam and Murphy strikes seal home win
An impressive display from Town saw the Blues recorded a deserved victory, beating Nottingham Forest 3-1 at Portman Road.
A mix-up from Danny Collins and Lee Camp allowed Guirane N’Daw to run the ball home for Town in the first-half, before the Reds drew level after the break through Dexter Blackstock.
But Blues secured the win thanks to a strike from Luke Hyam, his first in Town colours, just after the hour mark before Daryl Murphy sealed the win in injury time with a cool finish.
Mick McCarthy made three changes to the side that drew with Peterborough at the weekend, with Luke Chambers and Hyam replacing Danny Higginbotham and Nigel Reo-Coker.
New signing Tyrone Barnett was also handed a Town debut, partnering DJ Campbell in attack in place of Michael Chopra.
Town were looking to make home advantage count straight from the off and an early effort from Aaron Cresswell was a signal of intent, with the left-back seeing a well-hit drive blocked away by former Blue Danny Collins after just two minutes.
Just before the 15 minute mark, a neat move saw Lee Martin centre for Tommy Smith but the defender’s header from eight yards went straight into the arms of the grateful Camp.
The Forest stopper was then at the centre of a controversial decision after 16 minutes, as he came racing out of his area to close down DJ Campbell.
Referee Andy D’Urso deemed Camp to have brought down Campbell on the edge of the area, awarding Town a free-kick, but felt that the Northern Ireland international’s actions only warranted a yellow card much to the displeasure of the Portman Road crowd.
Debutant Barnett was causing the Forest defence problems and a slack clearance from Collins saw the ball land to the Peterborough loanee after 18 minutes, who was unlucky to see a stinging drive hit the side-netting with Camp scrambling across his line.
However the visitors were looking a threat on the counter-attack and a neat turn of pace from Dexter Blackstock saw him skip away from Luke Chambers and fire in a shot, that Stephen Henderson got down well to after 24 minutes.
Two minutes later and a pass from Martin cut open the Forest defence as he found Carlos Edwards inside the area, but the skipper’s shot was charged down well by Dan Harding and deflected behind for a corner.
From that resulting corner, the ball came out to Hyam who flashed in a drive from 20-yards that flew just over the angle of post and bar, with half the crowd thinking the youngster had opened the scoring.
Elliott Ward then tested Henderson after 29 minutes, but the Town stopper was equal to the effort.
But Town’s dominance was finally rewarded as Blues broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark.
A mix-up between Collins and Camp saw the two Forest men getting in each other’s way and N’Daw nipped in to steal the ball on the edge of the box and walk the ball into the net for his first Town goal.
Sean O’Driscoll’s side were looking for an immediate response and Henderson had to be alert to an Adlene Guedioura free-kick, that the West Ham loanee palmed away from danger 11 minutes before the break.
Tow had to weather a late rally from the visitors, with first Billy Sharp rattling the bar from just outside the area before Henri Lansbury saw his goalbound effort cleared off the line from Barnett.
Forest made a double change at half-time as they looked to find a way back into the game but again it was Blues who started the stronger, Orr unfortunate to see his dipping volley land a yard wide of the target with Camp well beaten.
Forest were coming more into the game and Henderson got down well at his near-post to keep out an effort from Andy Reid, who had made a real difference after entering the fray as a second-half substitute.
At the other end, Camp pulled off a superb reaction save to deny Campbell with the ‘keeper clawing the ball away from his top corner after 57 minutes.
But the visitors were soon on level terms just before the hour mark, scoring a goal of real class.
Sharp played a neat one-two with Reid before crossing across the face of goal for Blackstock to stab home at the near post.
But Town didn’t let their heads drop and restored the lead just two minutes later. Campbell was fouled in the area by Collins and the referee had little hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Campbell stepped up but saw his penalty saved by Camp, but Hyam was on hand to fire the rebound into the roof of the net for his first ever goal for Blues.
Blues were now in the ascendency and Campbell was looking to make amends for his penalty miss, cutting inside before testing Camp with a low drive that the Forest ‘keeper saved well.
But Town weren’t finished there and substitute Murphy sealed the win in injury time, robbing Collins of possession before calmly slotting the ball past Camp and into the net to ensure the three points were staying in Suffolk.
Town: Henderson, Orr, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards, Hyam (Drury 84), N’Daw, Martin, Campbell (Chopra 89), Barnett (Murphy 56). Subs not used: Loach, Hewitt, Higginbotham, Emmanuel-Thomas Chopra.
Booked: Orr, Hyam
Forest: Camp, Hutton, Collins, Ward, Harding (McGugan 77), Gillett (Reid 46), Cohen, Guedioura, Lansbury (Coppinger 46), Sharp, Blackstock. Subs not used: Darlow, Ayala, Moloney, Moussi, McGugan.
Booked: Camp, Sharp
Att: 16,200 (787 Forest fans)