John's late strike sets Forest on right path

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The Independent Football

Nottingham Forest ended Watford's recent run of good form and moved up to eighth in the First Division after their 2-1 victory at Vicarage Road last night. The winner came nine minutes from time through Stern John, who turned on a cross from the right to lose his marker, and sent a deflected shot into the net.

Watford had started the brighter of the two sides, but having weathered Watford's early storm Forest settled and Watford keeper Espen Baardsen had to make a one-handed save to keep out David Johnson.

Johnson went close twice more before the interval and then forced Baardsen to make a blocking save. Watford took the lead after 53 minutes when Stephen Hughes broke to set up Gifton Noel-Williams. The striker fired straight at Darren Ward, who parried and Noel-Williams was on hand to score from the rebound.

Seven minutes later a mistake by Neil Cox saw the ball hit John and rebound into the path of the unmarked Johnson, who lashed the ball into the net.

Watford then went close through Smith on two occasions, but were caught cold after failing to clear their lines.

The Forest manager Paul Hart was delighted with his side's first away win of the season. "We have been threatening to do this on several occasions up until now and sometimes we have shot ourselves in the foot," he said. "On other occasions we have been unlucky. But I am absolutely delighted and I thought we thoroughly deserved it."

Norwich missed out on a chance to go top of the division when they were held to a frustrating goalless draw by battling Portsmouth at Carrow Road.

Two goals from Tim Cahill extended Millwall's unbeaten run to seven games with a 3-1 victory over Bradford at the New Den. Richard Sadlier opened the scoring for the Lions with a low drive in the first half before Cahill's header made it 2-0. Gary Locke pulled one back for the visitors but Cahill secured the points when he poked home Sadlier's cut back.

The strike duo of Jon Macken and David Healy kept the Preston bandwagon rolling with a 3-0 win over Sheffield United.

Macken headed home from close range after seven minutes and on the half-hour mark exposed more leaks in the United defence when his powerful shot from just outside the penalty area was parried, only for David Healy to make it 2-0.

Substitute Kevin Gallacher crowned the victory, tapping home on 87 minutes.