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Ireland legend Hughton gets his Forest reign off to perfect start

Elsewhere in the English Football League there were assists for Irishmen Alan Judge, Corey O’Keeffe, Nathan Collins and Swords native, Peter Kioso.

Hughton, a potential future Ireland manager, got his Forest reign off to a good start.
Hughton, a potential future Ireland manager, got his Forest reign off to a good start.
Image: PA

CHRIS HUGHTON, A hero of Euro 88 and one of the few Irish players from that era to make it in management, marked his first game in charge of Nottingham Forest with a late 1-0 win at Blackburn in the Sky Bet Championship.

Hughton, who replaced Sabri Lamouchi after Forest’s four-game losing start to the season, will have been extremely encouraged by the performance of his new charges at Ewood Park.

The visitors looked solid and took hold of proceedings as the game wore on, with Thomas Kaminski saving well from Lyle Taylor and Sammy Ameobi, who also struck a post.

They were eventually rewarded in the 90th minute through Joe Lolley’s deflected strike and, although there was a touch of fortune about it, there was nothing lucky about the win, which ended a run of six straight league defeats.

Rovers were blunted by Forest’s organisation – as former Brighton, Newcastle, Norwich and Birmingham boss, Hughton, had his fingerprints all over this win.

Tony Mowbray was without Ireland international Derrick Williams and Joe Rothwell as both are self-isolating, but their captain, Meath’s Darragh Lenihan, returned and his smart block prevented Lewis Grabban from scoring in the first minute.

blackburn-rovers-v-nottingham-forest-sky-bet-championship-ewood-park Meath's Darragh Lenihan was back to captain Blackburn. Source: PA

Rovers bossed the possession in a cagey first half but Hughton’s men almost hit the front in bizarre fashion in the 20th minute when Irish full-back Cyrus Christie’s looping cross clipped the bar and had Kaminski scrambling.

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Both sides were guilty of giving away possession cheaply and real quality was at a premium in an opening half that saw one solitary shot on target, when former Forest man Ben Brereton shot tamely at Brice Samba.

Forest went close five minutes into the second half when Ameobi released Grabban, whose cross from the byline beat Kaminski but the diving Ryan Yates could not quite get over the header and it sailed just over the crossbar.

They spurned an even better chance in the 64th minute when Figueiredo was given the space of the six-yard box to meet a Luke Freeman corner but could only direct his free header straight at Kaminski, who gathered at the second attempt.

Kaminski received a more thorough examination 15 minutes from time when Ameobi unleashed one from a tight angle that stung the goalkeeper’s palms and, moments later, he did well to palm Taylor’s wickedly swerving shot wide.

Ameobi’s piledriver beat Kaminski but clattered the woodwork with two minutes to go, but Forest were not to be denied in the final minute.

Lolley cut inside from the right and let fly with a powerful shot that took a wicked deflection and completely wrong-footed Kaminski, marking a perfect start for Hughton.

Elsewhere, there were assists for Mansfield Town’s Irishman, Corey O’Keeffe, in their 3-1 defeat to Bradford, while Ipswich’s Irish international, Alan Judge, set up Freddie Sears as the Tractor Boys defeated Accrington Stanley and Nathan Collins had an assist in Stoke’s win at Luton.

Peter Kioso, the 21-year-old Irish defender, also had an assist on his Bolton debut.

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