Football: Forest capitulate to Carbone's double

Nottingham Forest 0 Sheffield Wednesday 3
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The Independent Online
This was a painful humiliation for Forest, who began with some promise but faded so miserably in the second half. They were almost as invisible by the end as their Premiership hopes suddenly seemed remote. It was a stroll for Wednesday, who have lost only once in 22 matches since the end of October.

The game changed direction with one incident, an expensive error by Bryan Roy, whose underhit back pass early in the second half let in Benito Carbone to put Wednesday ahead with the first shot on target his side had managed in 53 minutes.

Thereafter Forest, who had dominated the first half, seemed an entirely different team, drained of confidence and swept aside easily by David Pleat's hard-working side. Wednesday now look a good bet to be in Europe next season, having emerged as strong contenders for a Uefa Cup place as well as dark horses in the FA Cup.

Roy had an immediate chance to make amends for his mistake but squandered it, after which Wednesday doubled their lead with the second goal five minutes after the first. Peter Atherton's sweeping pass found Andy Booth on the right and the striker's instant low cross was crashed home from close range by Regi Blinker, the Dutchman showing rather more poise in front of goal than his Forest compatriot.

There was never any realistic prospect of a recovery by the home side, who had only Dean Saunders operating as an out-and-out striker and had only occasionally looked likely to score despite their monopoly of first- half possession. It seemed ironic, in retrospect, that the Forest "goal" disallowed after eight minutes came off the head of Wednesday's Booth, adjudged to have been pushed by Colin Cooper.

Carbone, who was allowed to conserve his energy by starting on the substitute's bench, played a hugely influential role after replacing the injured David Hirst in the first half. Three minutes from the end he rubbed salt in Forest's wounds with his second goal, following up when a shot by Richie Humphreys had been parried by the goalkeeper, Mark Crossley.

Having lost a chance to pull away a little from the relegation tangle, Forest's need for reinforcements is once more emphasised and Dave Bassett, witnessing his first home match since becoming general manager at the City ground, is under pressure to invest quickly some of the pounds 16m transfer kitty the club's new owners have made available.

In the meantime, he will encourage Forest, habitually a passing team, to adopt more positive tactics. "Until they scored I could not see us losing," Bassett said, "but for all our good approach work we played too many passes sideways and backwards."

Nottingham Forest (5-4-1): Crossley; Lyttle, Jerkan, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Clough, Haland, Gemmill, Allen (Roy, 32); Saunders. Substitutes not used: Fettis (gk), Phillips, McGregor, Blatherwick.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2) Pressman; Nolan, Walker, Newsome, Briscoe; Oakes (Trustfull, 87), Atherton, Pembridge, Blinker; Hirst (Carbone, 36), Booth (Humphreys, 83). Substitutes not used: Clarke (gk), Stefanovic.

Referee: P Jones (Loughborough).