REPORT: NOTTINGHAM FOREST 3 ALBION 0
- Britt Assombalonga, Ben Osborn and Zach Clough (penalty) on target for Forest
- Albion lose their sixth league game of the season
- Liam Rosenior makes his first appearance in over six months
- Brighton remain six points clear of third-place Huddersfield having played two games more
Brighton & Hove Albion slipped to their sixth league defeat of the season and missed out on a chance to go top of the Sky Bet Championship, following a 3-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Britt Assombalonga’s controversial strike just past the hour mark, Ben Osborn’s late tap-in and Zach Clough's equally controversial penalty condemned Albion to their heaviest defeat of the season.
Chris Hughton made one change to the side that lost to Newcastle United on Tuesday night, as Liam Rosenior made his first appearance in over six months, replacing the injured Sebastien Pocognoli.
Albion created their first chance of the game when Anthony Knockaert made a driving run from the right-hand side and forced Forest keeper Jordan Smith into a save, while Jamie Murphy couldn’t direct his follow-up effort on target.
Bruno then played the ball into Glenn Murray, who fired the ball into the back of the net, but the strike was ruled out for handball.
At the other end Chris Cohen played a pass up to Assombalonga, who fired well over the target from distance.
Hildeberto Pereira broke forward for Forest, but Rosenior and Steve Sidwell combined well to counter the threat.
Murray attempted to liven up an otherwise lacklustre first half with a run down the right, but his cross was comfortably collected by Smith just before half-time.
Albion began the second half with a lot of possession, but struggled to break down a resolute Forest defence.
Knockaert worked the first opening after the break from a corner, but Murray couldn’t quite reach the ball, before Murphy saw his shot on the follow up blocked.
Assombalonga was played through on goal again, this time by Jamie Ward, but Albion’s high defensive line caught out the Forest number nine, who was in an offside position.
Knockaert drove a deep free-kick to the back post towards Lewis Dunk, and he headed back across goal towards Shane Duffy, who collided with the post in an attempt to reach the ball.
But despite an improved start to the half, substitute Clough’s shot was headed home by Assombalonga to give Forest the lead with 60 minutes on the clock.
Albion players protested that Forest’s number nine was standing in an offside position when he connected with the ball but having consulted with his assistant, the referee gave the goal.
Solly March was brought on in an attempt to freshen up the attack and after being teed up by fellow sub Oliver Norwood, he saw his shot tipped away.
Norwood then delivered a searching corner towards into the box but neither Dunk or Duffy could divert their efforts goalwards.
Knockaert then had a chance to level the scores with a close-range shot of his own that went over the bar.
Norwood found Dunk again from another set-piece, but the Albion defender’s header didn’t trouble Smith.
It went from bad to worse for Albion, as Osborn intercepted Stockdale's attempted clearance in the box and fired home to make it 2-0 in the 89th minute.
Then in virtually the last kick of the game, Dunk was penalised for a challenge in the box, although he appeared to connect with the ball, and Clough fired home the resulting penalty.