EPL

Morgan Gibbs-White the star as Nottingham Forest boost survival hopes

By Sports Desk April 02, 2024

Morgan Gibbs-White inspired Nottingham Forest to a vital 3-1 victory over Fulham which eased their Premier League relegation concerns.

Gibbs-White put in a virtuoso display in a golden first half which saw Forest cruise into a 3-0 lead.

After setting up Callum Hudson-Odoi’s opener, he watched as Chris Wood made it 2-0 before completing the scoring with a fine finish on the stroke of half-time.

That sublime opening 45 minutes laid the foundations for just a second league win of 2024 for Forest and the first since they were deducted four points for breaking the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules last month.

That opened up a three-point gap over Luton, who occupy 18th position and visit title-chasing Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Forest had to endure a nervy time as Tosin Adarabioyo’s header gave Fulham a lifeline and the visitors spent most of the second half knocking on the door.

The Cottagers needed a late comeback to earn a point at bottom-placed Sheffield United on Saturday but they could not repeat the feat here as they paid the price for a shambolic opening half-hour.

Forest made a flying start by going ahead in the ninth minute.

A fine turn from Gibbs-White created space for himself and he set Hudson-Odoi away with an audacious outside-of-the-boot pass.

The former Chelsea winger did the rest, advancing into the penalty area before cutting inside and firing into the bottom corner.

Gibbs-White was in the mood and he almost laid on a second for Hudson-Odoi with another fine piece of skill, making a fool out of Tosin, but his team-mate could not finish as Bernd Leno came out well to block.

Leno will not want to see replays of the moment Forest did double their lead in the 19th minute.

Wood received the ball with his back to goal 25 yards out, turned and seeing Leno take several steps to his left, planted a shot into the opposite corner, which was totally unguarded.

The hosts were electric and should have been 3-0 up soon after but Anthony Elanga clipped the post after a one-two with the vibrant Gibbs-White.

Fulham boss Marco Silva had seen enough and made a triple substitution after 33 minutes.

Alex Iwobi, Sasa Lukic and Harry Wilson were hauled off for Tom Cairney, Adama Traore and Willian, but the changes did not stem the tide.

Forest capped off a golden 45 minutes with another brilliant goal in first half added time as Gibbs-White played a one-two with Danilo and slotted home into the bottom corner.

What a difference 15 minutes can make as Fulham came out after the break and immediately gave themselves hope.

Tosin climbed highest from Andreas Pereira’s corner and glanced a looping header into the far post.

Willian and Cairney both had shots blocked as the visitors continued to push, but Forest came within inches of killing the game as Neco Williams cut inside and saw a deflected effort crash off the crossbar.

They needed that to go in as Fulham continued to push with Tosin denied by a fine save from Forest goalkeeper Matz Sels, with Kenny Tete heading the resulting corner against the crossbar.

Willian was a whisker away with a curling effort and Traore thundered a shot into the post, but Forest held on for a seismic victory.

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