Nous of Commons inspires Forest win

Nottingham Forest 2 Preston North End 0
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The Independent Online

Preston's 10-match unbeaten run came to an end as Forest seized a potential lifeline in their battle to avoid relegation, two goals in the last 16 minutes - one made and one scored in a match-winning performance by Kris Commons - earning a first Championship victory in four attempts for the new manager, Gary Megson.

Preston's 10-match unbeaten run came to an end as Forest seized a potential lifeline in their battle to avoid relegation, two goals in the last 16 minutes - one made and one scored in a match-winning performance by Kris Commons - earning a first Championship victory in four attempts for the new manager, Gary Megson.

Forest had begun the week in the FA Cup quarter-final draw after forcing Tottenham to contemplate a replay at the City Ground, but it is the fear that their number may be up in the Championship that is of prime concern.

Preston arrived as the form side in the division and as Eddie Lewis and Paul McKenna took turns to test Forest goalkeeper Paul Gerrard from distance, there was every indication their run would continue.

But while Forest presented a heavily defensive line-up, Commons, having put on a one-man show at White Hart Lane, continued in similar vein.

Twice Commons made sure that the on-loan Preston keeper Chris Day remembered his debut, forcing a save from a 35-yard free-kick and a magnificent stop from an angled half-volley.

Having reached half time on level terms, Forest made an early change to 4-4-2, Megson sending on another striker in David Johnson, who made his first appearance in almost four weeks since a public falling out with his manager.

The changes worked in as much as Preston were forced back into their own half but Forest looked increasingly vulnerable to Preston's counter attacks.

They almost paid the penalty with a little over a quarter of an hour left when a shot by Lewis, given too much space on the left, cannoned off the inside of the left leg of the keeper Gerrard and spun just wide.

Forest went ahead from their next attack, however, when Commons's dribbling talents gave him the opportunity to cross from the left and Paul Evans, who had replaced Alan Rogers, headed home.

Five minutes later, Commons made the points safe with a superb goal, lofting the ball into the far corner from 30 yards out on the left after spotting Day off his line.

Nottingham Forest (5-3-2): Gerrard; Curtis, Morgan, Melville, Doig, Rogers (Evans, 54); Friio, Perch (Johnson, 54), Powell; Commons (Thompson, 90), Taylor. Substitutes not used: Doyle (gk), King.

Preston North End (4-4-2): Day; Alexander, Mawene, Lucketti, Hill (David, 86); Sedgwick, McKenna, O'Neil, Lewis; Cresswell, Nugent (Agyemang, 68). Substitutes not used: Neal (gk), Davidson, Smith.

Referee: B Curson (Leicester).

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