Late and lucky but feisty Forest fire on

Nottingham Forest 1 Swansea City 0
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The Independent Online

If Forest are in the Premier League next season they will hope that the quality of their football is seen as the key to their success, but this was an occasion when other factors worked in their favour.

Their 10th straight home victory was achieved when Luke Chambers headed a stoppage-time winner, taking Forest back into the automatic promotion places after West Bromwich Albion's defeat at Queens Park Rangers.

Yet the key figure as Swansea's 12-match unbeaten run was ended was undoubtedly referee Colin Webster, who turned down the Welsh side's appeals for what appeared to be a clear penalty with 15 minutes left.

Even Billy Davies, the Forest manager, must have had his heart in his mouth when Chris Cohen hauled down Darren Pratley as the Swansea midfielder – for whom Forest had a January transfer bid turned down – shaped to shoot. Cohen should have been red-carded, too.

But Webster was unimpressed by Pratley's pleas. To make matters worse for Swansea, he and his touchline official missed a Forest offside just before the corner that produced the goal.

It all left Swansea manager Paulo Sousa ready to expound conspiracy theories that he might have borrowed from Rafa Benitez about the hand he believes his side have been dealt by officials lately.

"I can accept mistakes by referees, they are human," Sousa said. "But with us it is not once or twice, it is week after week. It has cost us a lot of points.

"Everybody in the stadium today could see we should have had a penalty. But what can you do?

"For the goal, too, with the offside, it was one more wrong decision. I wish somebody could explain why it happens to us so often. We deserved more than this."

Nonetheless, Sousa's team remain fourth in the Championship table and Davies felt Forest had pulled off "a tremendous result" given that he had had two key players – his centre-back Kelvin Wilson and the striker Rob Earnshaw – injured in training on Friday and lost another man seven minutes into the match when skipper Paul McKenna suffered a knee injury.

Even so he sympathised with Sousa over Webster's failure to award a penalty. "I would not be happy in his position," Davies said. "But we have had big decisions go against us against Doncaster, Coventry and Middlesbrough in the last few weeks so it was time we had one in our favour."

On balance, Forest probably had the edge in chances created. George Boyd, impressive on his debut after joining on loan from Peterborough, had a fierce volley saved by the leg of goalkeeper Dorus De Vries, then Cohen missed when he should have converted a Paul Anderson cross.

After half-time, Radoslav Majewski sent his shot over the bar after a fluid move involving Dexter Blackstock, Boyd and Lewis McGugan.

McGugan, excellent throughout, took the corner that settled matters, De Vries's failure to claim it leaving Chambers an easy task. Davies played down automatic promotion, though, saying: "With this young squad, we shouldn't really be where we are."

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