Nottingham Forest 2-0 Burnley

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Two second half strikes from Dexter Blackstock and Billy Sharp moved Nottingham Forest to within a point of the Championship play-offs at home to Burnley on Saturday.

A fruitless first period was soon put behind Sean O’Driscoll’s men when frontman Blackstock headed home just before the hour-mark to set the hosts on their way.

And as the confidence was lifted, Sharp added a stylish second to seal the win fourteen minutes from time - with a clinical finish after being put through on goal by Andy Reid.

Both teams began the game in similar positions in the table and it was evident on the pitch as neither side really took control of the game early-on.

The visitors were first to come close when in-form striker Charlie Austin found himself presented with a chance to add to his 21 goals this season. However, the 23-year-old prospect fired his effort wide.

And as the home side continued to look sluggish in the opening stages Austin’s strike partner Martin Paterson fired a shot of his own into the side-netting after Kieran Trippier had picked him out from the right.

Forest had a chance to take the lead themselves soon after when Lewis McGugan’s powerful free kick was driven towards the bottom corner before Clarets’ keeper Lee Grant tipped it around his post.

Henri Lansbury was back in the starting line-up for the home side and nearly grabbed an assist when his looping cross found Blackstock in the box whose header flew just inches wide.

Sean Dyche’s men should have then taken the lead after a rapid counter-attack was aided by a precise ball from Dean Marney to break Forest’s offside trap – Irish midifielder Chris McCann was sent clear but struck wide of the target.

Following the interval the Reds looked revived and began the second half in a much more positive fashion, working the ball quickly forward.

Reid had looked a threat in midfielder from the off and drove a ball in from the left for Blackstock. The striker connected with a header which was cleared towards McGugan in space – however, the talented midfielder could only hit a shot well over the bar.

And it was Reid that made the opening goal moments later, when his attractive ball from the left dropped to Blackstock who rose the highest before stretching to head the ball past Grant and into the net.

At the other end Burnley nearly got a quick-fire equaliser as Austin struck a close-range effort that was stopped by a great save from Reds’ keeper Lee Camp.

Soon after substitute Sam Vokes should have made it all square, yet with no pressure from the Forest defence the striker headed wide from eight-yards out.

But it was Sean O’Driscoll’s men that sealed the points as Reid picked up the ball in midfield before crafting a delightful through-ball to send Sharp one-on-one with Grant – the striker composed himself well to finish neatly past the advancing keeper, doubling the advantage.

The Reds now sit in 9th position in the Championship table and are just a point outside the play-off positions. They now face two tough away games before the Christmas period. The first is away at Brighton on Saturday 15th December. The game at the AMEX kicks off at 3pm.

Nottingham Forest: Camp, Hutton, Ward, Collins (c), Harding, Gillett (Moussi, 66), Lansbury (Cohen, 59), Reid, McGugan (Guedioura, 75), Blackstock, Sharp.

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Paterson (Stanislas, 73), Duff, Wallace (Ings, 81), Austin, Shackell (c), Marney, Lafferty, Stock (Vokes, 65), McCann.

Man of the match: Andy Reid

Referee: Mark Heywood

Attendance: 19,672 (Away: 926)