Doig goal puts Forest into comfort zone

Nottingham Forest 2 Rotherham United 0
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The Independent Football

Obliged to play three matches in six days because television requires them to meet Bradford City at the City Ground on Thursday, Forest were grateful to see off promoted Rotherham in relative comfort last night.

A penalty converted by Chris Bart-Williams and a first goal of his career from the 21-year-old centreback Chris Doig put Paul Hart's team in control before half-time, earning an admission from Rotherham's manager, Ronnie Moore, still seeking his maiden First Division win, that his side had been "given a football masterclass."

Moore had prepared his players for hard work against a side who have been attracting compliments for the quality of their passing game since Hart succeeded David Platt as manager and his concerns appeared to have been well founded as Forest, having done everything but score in an accomplished performance at Grimsby on Saturday, produced another polished display.

They might have had a few more goals. Gareth Williams, 19, one of three teenagers in Hart's midfield, clipped the outside of a post from 20 yards, then the 18-year-old Jermaine Jenas fired wide after a move superbly constructed by Bart-Williams.

Back in the side after turning down a move to Birmingham last week, Bart-Williams looked keen to advertise his abilities to other potential buyers, putting his side ahead from the penalty spot after Jack Lester had been tripped by Paul Hurst on the half-hour. Then he supplied the cross that found its way to Doig to score from eight yards as Forest swept into a two-goal lead.

Rotherham's brightest spell almost brought a goal for the defender Martin McIntosh, whose header was saved by Darren Ward. But within moments Mike Pollitt pulled off a stop of equal merit to foil Riccardo Scimeca.

Forest might have had a second penalty had the referee, Richard Beeby, not seen a questionable advantage as Lester battled to shrug off Rob Scott.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Ward; Scimeca, Hjelde, Doig, Brennan; Reid (Harewood, 68), Bart-Williams, Jenas (Gray, h-t), Williams (Louis-Jean, h-t); John, Lester. Substitutes not used: Roche (gk), Edwards.

Rotherham United (4-5-1): Pollitt; Bryan, Swailes, Scott, McIntosh; Lee, Talbot (Daws, 70) Watson, Hurst, Miranda (Sedgwick, h-t); Robins. Substitutes not used: Branston, Barker, Beech.

Referee: R Beeby (Northampton).