London, UK | THE INDEPENDENT |Lewis Grabban scored emphatically from close range in the dying minutes as Nottingham Forest ejected Arsenal from the FA Cup Sunday.
FULL MATCH REPORT….
Head Coach Steve Cooper made three changes from the Huddersfield match with new signings Steve Cook and Keinan Davis making their Reds debuts and Ryan Yates also restored to the XI after illness.
The Reds lined up in a 3-4-3 formation attacking the Bridgford End and Cook’s first involvement was to spread a fine crossfield ball to Djed Spence who was unfortunately unable to collect.
Within the first five minutes, Davis nearly released Philip Zinckernagel but Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal gathered at the feet of the Dane. Arsenal’s first effort came shortly afterwards when Ben White shot wide from the edge of the box.
Davis then showed his strength to hold off Rob Holding much to the approval of the home crowd. Spence was fouled on the break and then a nervous back pass from Nuno Tavares forced Leno to concede a corner as Forest started with intent.
Arsenal forced their first corner after a quarter of an hour when Spence blocked Gabriel Martinelli’s cross, and, after Samba collected from the corner and quickly released Davis, the Aston Villa loanee seemed to be fouled on the break but referee Craig Pawson ruled otherwise.
Zinckernagel’s chipped cross was then headed behind by Cédric Soares after a passage of play where Brennan Johnson escaped down the right.
Eddie Nketiah forced a corner for the Gunners after half-an-hour when his shot was deflected wide and Albert Sambi Lokonga did the same shortly afterwards as Arsenal put pressure on the Forest goal for the first time in the tie.
Mikel Arteta made an early change when Kieran Tierney replaced Nuno Tavares, seemingly due to the performance of the former Benfica full back, who reacted by throwing his glove to the ground.
Philip Zinckernagel was the first man booked by referee Pawson when he fouled Bukayo Saka as the England man broke from the Arsenal half.
The Reds had held their own against their Premier League opponents and went into the break goalless.
HALF-TIME: Nottingham Forest 0-0 Arsenal
Forest started the second half on the front foot with Djed Spence crossing from the right and creating a spell of pressure around the Arsenal box.
Eddie Nketiah then broke deep into Reds territory after a slip by Joe Worrall but his shot was blocked but The Reds then created the clearest chance of the match.
Brennan Johnson spun on halfway and accelerated down the right flank before crossing for Philip Zinckernagel whose close-range volley was superbly saved by Bernd Leno.
The Reds attacked again, this time down the left, but a one-two between Keinan Davis and Jack Colback just failed to release the former Newcastle man in the box.
Arsenal responded by forcing a corner when Gabriel Martinelli’s shot was deflected wide and, shortly afterwards, Nketiah headed Arsenal’s best chance of the match wide from Bukayo Saka’s cross from the right.
Ryan Yates was then fouled as the ball broke loose and James Garner forced a superb save from Leno from fully 35 yards with the free kick. As the ball broke loose, The Reds appealed for a penalty as Colback was bundled over by Saka but referee Craig Pawson waved away the appeals.
Steve Cooper made his first change midway through the second half as Lewis Grabban replaced Keinan Davis, who received a warm round of applause.
Eddie Nketiah then shot over Samba’ crossbar before Mikel Arteta made his second change as Alexandre Lacazette replaced Charlie Patino.
With 15 minutes to go, Djed Spence beat a number of Arsenal players near halfway only to be cynically fouled by Martinelli who was booked.
The second Forest change of the evening came when Cafu replaced Philip Zinckernagel and then Spence was booked for fouling Kieran Tierney.
The match was finely poised going into the last 10 minutes when Saka escaped in the box but Alexandre Lacazette couldn’t force the ball home amid pressure from Joe Worrall.
Then, with 82 minutes on the clock, Forest took then lead. Ryan Yates broke up Arsenal play in midfield, exchanged passes with Brennan Johnson, and crossed for Lewis Grabban to score emphatically from close range.
Three minutes were added on at the end of the second half as Cedric Soares made way for Sead Kolašinac.
The final whistle blew, with The Reds knocking out The Gunners to set up a tie against Leicester City in the Emirates FA Cup fourth round.