The Media Review: Nottingham Forest

How the media reacted to our 1-0 win over the Reds.

By Nick Szczepanik • 11 March 2024

By Paul Hazlewood
Joel Veltman made his 11th start of the Premier League campaign.

Many of the Monday papers led their reports of the narrow victory over Nottingham Forest with the reactions of Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo to a certain refereeing decision, but there was also plenty to enjoy from a Albion point of view.

Intro of the day came from Neil McLeman of The Daily Mirror, who wrote that “The Amex Stadium is no place like Rome for Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton.

“The Italian’s side suffered a humbling 4-0 defeat in the Europa League knockout stage last Thursday.

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Pos Team Pld GD Pts
Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace CRY
38 -1 49
Brighton and Hove Albion
Albion Albion
38 -7 48
Everton EVE
38 -11 48

“But back in Sussex by the Sea, Albion extended their unbeaten Premier League home record to 12 games - and even kept a rare clean sheet. The Seagulls soar above Newcastle and Wolves into eighth place - and are now only a point behind West Ham in the first European place. 

“And the exuberant celebrations on the pitch and the stands showed what a difference a win makes. Even if only the third win this year came via a horrible own goal by Forest’s Andrew Omabamidele.

“Brighton’s biggest threat came from Pascal Gross’ dead-ball deliveries. An Ansu Fati header was blocked at the far post by Neco Williams after 20 minutes following a free kick from the German.

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion broke the deadlock after Jakub Moder forced Andrew Omobamidele into an own goal.

“But seven minutes later, another Gross set-piece to the near post caused confusion in the Forest defence and the ball went in off the Republic of Ireland defender.

“Adam Lallana came on to play keep possession and Brighton ran down the clock as efficiently as a Serie A side. Next is the bigger Italian job of overturning a 4-0 first leg deficit against Roma on Thursday night.”

Sam Dalling of The Guardian also noticed that new imperative. “Brighton whittling away the seconds by the corner flag is among modern football’s rarer sights,” he wrote. “But then again slender victories, achieved via the helping head of an opponent, are hardly ‘on brand’ for Roberto De Zerbi. Courtesy of Andrew Omobamidele’s first-half own goal, though, such a win is precisely what Brighton achieved. Ugly? Perhaps a tad. Necessary? Wholly.

By Paul Hazlewood
Roberto De Zerbi and Andrea Maldera show their delight as the final whistle goes.

“At times, some have questioned whether the Italian ought to incorporate more pragmatism into his approach. Certainly, under his predecessor Graham Potter, Brighton were much harder to break down. Here the resilience that has, at times, escaped them this season, was evident.

“This Sunday afternoon belonged to Carlos Baleba, who looked every bit the Moisés Caicedo replacement most assumed – simply because it is Brighton, and that is what they do – him to be.

“The 20-year-old’s combination of ballast and balance has its own splendour, and several times his athleticism prevented self-inflicted wounds as Brighton fudged attempts to pass out from the back.”

By Paul Hazlewood
Carlos Baleba won Sunday's Man of the Match award.

Likewise, The Daily Telegraph described “a Brighton team that were less open and naive than in some recent matches.

“Brighton’s victory was anything but pretty, and it got a winning goal to match, a messy own goal by Andrew Omobamidele, but Roberto De Zerbi’s side will not care. They arrested their own recent bad run of three successive defeats and extended their club-record run of unbeaten home games in the top flight to 12 matches.

“The three hard-won points were the perfect antidote to Thursday’s 4-0 defeat away to AS Roma, but although that result probably means that their European adventure is over, they showed signs that they could still mount a challenge to return to European competition next season.

By Paul Hazlewood
Bart Verbruggen helped keep Albion's fourth clean sheet in the Premier League since the turn of the year.

“This was only their third victory in the Premier League since the turn of the year and they are still struggling with an injury list that is unlikely to shrink in the short term but they are back up to eighth place after dropping to tenth on Saturday.  

“They did not look like a side reeling from a midweek drubbing and went ahead after 29 minutes. Pascal Gross in sent a free kick from the left aimed for the head of Moder but Omobamidele got there first and the ball bounced gently off his shoulder and into the net.” 

Isabelle Barker of The Sun agreed that “yesterday’s narrow win was a gleam of hope for the Seagulls getting back on track and securing European football for another season.

By Paul Hazlewood
The Albion coaching staff embrace after yesterday's win.

“You could tell how much it meant by how De Zerbi and his coaching staff embraced for a group cuddle when the final whistle sounded. 

“They came into the game only winning two Premier League games this year and slipping down to tenth place, but have soared back into eighth. 

“Simon Adingra caused havoc for Forest on the left-flank, and stung the palms of Matz Sels with a curling shot after being teed up by Pascal Gross. 

By Paul Hazlewood
Jakub Moder impressed on his first Premier League start in two years.

“Jakub Moder then forced Sels to tip out a menacing header after latching onto a pin-point Pascal Gross free-kick.

“Ansu Fati had a go with a header which would have gone in had it not ricocheted off Neco Williams.

“The deadlock was finally broken on 28 minutes - not that anyone knew much about it. 


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De Zerbi: We showed a big reaction

It all began with Gross whipping in a free-kick towards Moder who was squeezed between Andrew Omabamidele and Sels. 

“It was actually Omobamidele who turned it in and it went down as an own goal.”

Kieran Gill of the Daily Mail noted that “Gross hoped he had registered his 11th Premier League assist of the season but unfortunately, the statisticians will not count this one because his cross led to an own goal by Omobamidele.”


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Extended PL Highlights: Brighton 1 N Forest 0

On the BBC website, Emily Salley wrote that “Brighton's landmark trip to Rome may not have turned out as planned, but this hard-fought win will help boost morale among Roberto de Zerbi's men.

“It was an assured first-half performance from the home side and, while their chances were limited in the second half, they controlled the game in the dying moments to ensure they took all three points.”