Nottingham Forest’s frenzied season of referee fury looks like having a happy ending

Nottingham Forest's Ryan Yates (left) celebrates scoring his sides second goal with team-mate Anthony Elanga
Ryan Yates (left) put Forest 2-1 up, a goal that calmed the visitors' nerves at Bramall Lane - Getty Images/Rich Linley

After an excruciating season, seemingly defined by anger over referees and VAR, plus a points deduction, Nottingham Forest are finally in sight of Premier League survival.

This felt like a crucial moment for Nuno Espirito Santo as Forest secured their first away win since Boxing Day to put themselves within touching distance of safety.

Forest will all but guarantee their place in the top division next season if they beat Chelsea next Saturday.

Luton occupy the final relegation place with a poor goal difference, so Forest will head into the penultimate weekend hoping to finally put such an agonising campaign to bed.

They are also expecting to discover the verdict from their appeal over a four-points deduction for breaching financial controls in the next few days.

Forest remain hopeful of having their sanction reduced, which raises the prospect of second-bottom club Burnley being relegated without a ball being kicked.

Nuno said: “It’s a very important step but we still have to prepare and go because it’s not over.

“It has been very hard for us to manage all the situations. The points deduction, the players that went away to the African Nations Cup, the referees.

“The only way we can do things is on the pitch. That is the big advantage we have. It is in our hands to achieve the final objective.

“There are still two hard games to play. The next one will be very important for us, so let’s try there. I’m really happy but we have to keep on going.”

What a week it has been for Evangelos Marinakis, the Forest owner.

On Thursday night he watched his other club, Olympiacos, secure a famous win over Aston Villa in the Europa Conference League semi-final first leg. Forest were then charged with misconduct by the Football Association on Friday, following the remarkable post on social media minutes after the chaotic defeat at Everton last month.

He watched this game at his base in Athens, but will now feel a little more comfortable that Forest are to extend their stay in the Premier League.

Last season they guaranteed survival in their penultimate game at home, and a repeat situation is in their hands next weekend. Forest face Burnley away on the final day.

While Forest’s fate remains in the balance, Sheffield United will be operating in the Championship next season and this was another capitulation in front of their own supporters.

Relegated last weekend, United have now conceded a record 100 goals this season, the first time a team has leaked so many in a 38-game campaign. That record includes 54 goals conceded at Bramall Lane.

This was a microcosm of their sorry season, after missing a number of chances in the first half before self-destructing in the second.

The home team took the lead after Ben Brereton Diaz’s penalty, and in the opening stages you had to wonder which team was fighting for their lives.

“You’re going down with United” chanted the home fans, and Forest appeared spooked by the magnitude of the occasion.

Yet they did respond, with Callum Hudson-Odoi producing two fine finishes either side of Ryan Yates’ first Premier League goal. Hudson-Odoi must rank as one of the bargains of the season after moving from Chelsea last summer for a fee of just £3 million.

To complete another miserable afternoon for United, defender Anel Ahmedhodzic was sent off six minutes into added time after two cautions.

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, is counting down the days until he can start undertaking major surgery on his squad.

He said: “In the last 15 minutes we ran out of steam, physically we weren’t strong enough and from the mentality point they’ve taken a lot of hits this season.

“We get the ball to the top of the pitch but you’ve got to put your chances away and we’ve had 17 opportunities, not half chances, some incredibly proper chances and goals change the feel of the game.

“That has happened for the last three weeks now. We created chances but there’s no point coming in at half time and saying ‘well played’. The old deficiencies showed up.”

Forest calm relegation nerves – as it happened

05:24 PM BST

Hudson-Odoi speaks to Premier League Productions - ‘Hopefully we stay safe’

On getting the goals that gave Forest the three points...

 “We have still got two more games to go and we are relieved. We played well and bounced back from going down and got the goals we deserved. It is nice to get the goals and help the team but it was more important that I helped the team today. I want to help the team and get more goals and assists. Hopefully there are many more to come. When I hit the post I was thinking is it going to go in or not. The more you shoot, the more chance it has of going in. I am happy to help the team.”

On his second goal...

 “Hopefully the boys get more goals in this month. Hopefully, many more to come.”

On the the battle to stay up...

“It is a really important three points and we go again. We know where we are in the table and want to get out of that position. Hopefully we stay safe. The fans were fantastic and we need their support in the last two games.”

05:19 PM BST

How the bottom four looks now

  • 17 - Nottingham Forest 29

  • 18 - Luton Town 26

  • 19 - Burnley 24

  • 20 - Sheffield United 16

05:08 PM BST

Happy Forest camp

05:02 PM BST

Full-time scores

  • Brentford 0 Fulham

  • Burnley 1 Newcastle 4

  • Sheffield United 1 Nottingham Forest 3

05:01 PM BST

Bore draw in west London

There was little to report on as Brentford vs Fulham ended 0-0. 

05:00 PM BST

Final whistle gone at Bramall Lane

And it’s a vital three points for Nottingham Forest. They’ve deservedly beaten Sheffield United 3-1.

Sheffield United 1 Nottingham Forest 3

04:56 PM BST

Into injury time now

And it looks as though Forest will get the three points and Burnley are likely heading back to the Championship.

04:51 PM BST


Burnley 1 Newcastle 4

Dara O’Shea scores the dictionary definition of ‘consolation goal’. His header loops over Dubravka but it’s most definitely a case of ‘too little, too late’.

04:49 PM BST

Home fans calling it

Sheffield United 1 Nottingham Forest 3

The United fans are starting to depart in their droves from Bramall Lane.

04:48 PM BST

Not a happy chappy

Vincent Kompany
Heading back to the Championship? Vincent Kompany's Burnley are being well beaten by Newcastle today - Getty Images/Gareth Copley

04:38 PM BST

It’s all Forest

And they’re looking good for the three points with  just over 10 minutes to go.

Sheffield United 1 Nottingham Forest 3

04:37 PM BST

Meanwhile...’s still 0-0 in west London, not much riding on the match between Brentford and Fulham bar west London bragging rights (bragging rights: something that only exists in sport...)

04:32 PM BST


Sheffield United 1 Nottingham 3

Game, set, and match? That’s the 100th goal conceded by the hosts this season and it’s the second Hudson-Odoi goal they’ve conceded today. The Forest man has followed up his brilliant strike with another, cutting inside before curling the ball into the far corner.

It was a crucial minute or two at Bramall Lane with Sels brilliantly saving from Brereton so easily could have been 2-2, but instead it’s 1-3...

Hudson-Odoi with his second in a fine performance at Bramall Lane
Hudson-Odoi with his second in a fine performance at Bramall Lane - Reuters/Carl Recine
Hudson-Odoi celebrates putting Forest 3-1 up at Sheffield United
Take a bow - Hudson-Odoi celebrates putting Forest 3-1 up at Sheffield United - PA/Danny Lawson

04:27 PM BST

Problems for the Premier League

With Forest winning at Bramall Lane, and Burnley getting thumped by Newcastle, there is the prospect of a very uncomfortable situation for the Premier League,

Forest are still yet to hear the outcome of their appeal over a four-points deduction for breaching financial rules, and expect to discover the verdict in the next few days.

They remain hopeful of having their punishment reduced by one point if they do have a point added to their total, that will effectively relegate Burnley without a ball being kicked.

Is this really how the best league in the world wants the relegation places being sorted?

04:24 PM BST

Hundreds of Burnley fans have seen enough...

They may well be heading for their first defeat in nine games but this has been a capitulation from Burnley in a game they had to win and hundreds of home fans have already headed for the exits in disgust.

Having missed from the penalty spot moments earlier, Isak has now made it 4-0 to Newcastle after linking well with Wilson and that man Murphy again with the assist.

04:23 PM BST

Fancy a dip in the Trent?

There are going to be some very wet Nottingham Forest fans later tonight.

Ryan Yates has just put Forest ahead in the second half with his first ever goal in the Premier League.

Forest fans have a chant of “if Yatesey scores, we’re in the Trent” and, after such a long wait, surely hundreds of them will be in the river near the City Ground this evening.

04:21 PM BST


Burnley 0 Newcastle 4 

OK, it really is game over now as Isak atones for his missed penalty with a strike having been played in by Murphy at Turf Moor.

04:18 PM BST

Missed penalty!

Burnley 0 Newcastle 3 

Some slither of hope for the hosts to grab on to...It’s only come from a missed penalty as Muric guesses the right way from an Isak spotkick. There’s a VAR check for encroachment but it stays 3-0 to the visitors.

04:15 PM BST


Sheffield United 1 Nottingham Forest 2

HUGE (yep, it’s that huge that caps lock are necessary...) goal for Forest as Ryan Yates puts them 2-1 up at Bramall Lane.

04:12 PM BST

They’re all back under way

Any chance of a comeback for Burnley? (I reckon zilch...). Forest will certainly hope they can score the 99th and 100th goals to be conceded by Sheffield United...

04:07 PM BST

Nightmare half for Burnley

Oh dear Burnley. This was a home game for Vincent Kompany’s side to attack and win and they are losing 3-0 at half-time. They were the better side for 15 mins and Newcastle survived a loud penalty appeal when Lorenz Assignon went down under pressure from behind from Bruno Guimaraes .

But none of that matters as Newcastle have been excellent since taking the lead against the run of play through Callum Wilson. Sean Longstaff added a second and Bruno scored the third.

Interestingly, it has been Newcastle’s two exciting young full backs who helped turn the tide of the game. Tino Livramento’s turn and run began the move for the first goal and Lewis Hall’s excellent interception and then crossfield pass began the move for the second.

Since then, the visitors have toyed with Burnley and the damage could have been even more severe before the relief of the half-time whistle.

Vincent Kompany
A penny for his thoughts, it's fair to say the first 45 minutes didn't go according to plan for Burnley manager Vincent Kompany - PA/Steve Welsh

03:55 PM BST

Half-time scores

  • Brentford 0 Fulham 0 

  • Burnley 0 Newcastle 3

  • Sheffield United 1 Nottingham Forest 1

03:48 PM BST

Bruno delivers knockout punch?

The Brazilian’s strike has made it 3-0 to Newcastle before the break against relegation-threatened Burnley.

Bruno Guimaraes celebrates scoring Newcastle's third
Bruno Guimaraes celebrates scoring Newcastle's third - Reuters/Phil Noble

03:45 PM BST

Burnley falling apart

And this time it’s another piece of excellent attacking play from a full back that starts the move with Lewis Hall winning an important interception inside his own half before dribbling forward and hitting a pinpoint crossfield pass for Callum Wilson to take on his chest and run past Esteve. The centre back recovers but is held off by the Newcastle striker which creates the space for Murphy to get to the byline and pick out the unmarked Sean Longstaff. “He’s one of our own” sing the away fans. A nice moment for a player who is not always the most popular on Tyneside.

And now it’s 3-0 and it’s like watching Brazil as Gordon tees up Bruno for the third before half time. Burnley have fallen apart

03:44 PM BST

Woods hits the bar

Sheffield United 1 Nottingham Forest 1

Gibbs-White gets in a cross and the big man rises to meet it before heading against the bar - he should have scored...

03:43 PM BST


Burnley 0 Newcastle 3

Having started well this is turning into a nightmare half for the hosts. They’re now three down after Bruno Guimaraes goal - game over? The Brazilian was set up by Gordon and he gave Muric no chance in the hosts’ goal.

03:42 PM BST

Wasteful from Sheffield United

Sheffield United are on top here but wasting chances.

Forest goalkeeper Matz Sels is proving the difference, making saves from Cameron Archer and Gus Hamer.

Archer has just fired over from a few yards out and Forest are very fortunate not to be behind again.

Nuno Espirito Santo is fidgeting very nervously in his technical area.

03:37 PM BST


Burnley 0 Newcastle 2

Oh dear if you’re a Burnley fan. The visitors have doubled their lead thanks to Sean Longstaff’s goal. Murphy pulls the ball back for Longstaff, who slots it past Muric.

03:36 PM BST

Wilson hurts Burnley

Callum Wilson
Callum Wilson's goal was against the run of play as Burnley fight for their Premier League life - PA/Tim Markland

03:31 PM BST


Sheffield United 1 Nottingham Forest 1

Just the reaction the visitors needed and it’s come thanks to a great strike by Hudson-Odoi. The Forest man is played in by Danillo before curling in a fine attempt into the far corner.

That’s now 98 goals conceded by Sheffield United this season, Forest will hope they notch up the ton before the end of the day.

03:28 PM BST

Newcastle’s first bit of good play

Burnley were on top and now they are trailing to Callum Wilson’s goal. It was the first bit of good play from the visitors with Tino Livramento turn and run getting them up the pitch. The ball is worked out to Jacob Murphy down the right whose low cross initially finds Isak, whose shot is saved but Wilson taps in the rebound.

Newcastle’s No 9 had been booked seconds earlier for diving in the box and is booed and jeered by the home fans as he celebrates.

It was a really good goal from a Newcastle perspective and they almost had a second with a similar passage of play with their next attack too

03:27 PM BST

Forest taunted by Sheffield United fans

“You’re going down with the United” is reverberating around Bramall Lane.

It’s been a nightmare start for Forest, and the prospect of them joining the the hosts in the Championship next season appears very real on this evidence.

Ben Brereton Diaz has put United ahead from the penalty spot, and Forest’s start to the game after a miss from Chris Wood will have alarmed Nuno Espirito Santo.

United were relegated last weekend but these contests have always been grudge matches and this is no dead rubber for the home team.

03:26 PM BST


Burnley 0 Newcastle 1

It’s come against the run of play but the visitors won’t care about that as Callum Wilson pounces on a Arijanet Muric save from Isak’s initial attempt.

03:23 PM BST


Sheffield United 1 Nottingham Forest 0

Just what Forest didn’t want. The hosts are in front thanks to a Brereton Diaz penalty. The spotkick came courtesy of Gonzalo Montiel’s poorly timed tackle on the Chile international.

03:19 PM BST

Burnley on top

It’s fair to say that Burnley have started the better of the two teams and Newcastle have lived dangerously at the back. Jacob Bruun Larsen has looked lively and the visitors have also survived a loud penalty shout when Lorenz Assignon went down under a challenge from Bruno Guimaraes. It probably wasn’t a penalty but it is also unlikely VAR would have overturned it if the on field referee, Anthony Taylor had given it.

Vincent Kompany might not be happy about that but he will be very pleased with the way his team have started the game they need to win if they are going to get out of the bottom three.

03:17 PM BST

Brentford hit the bar

Brentford 0 Fulham 0 

Mbeumo is played in by Toney after Willian loses possession, he has a go and hit clips the crossbar. It remains goalless.

03:12 PM BST

VAR annoys again!

Burnley 0 Newcastle 0 

Kompany is convinced that his side should have had a penalty. Lorenz Assignon fell under the challenge of Bruno Guimaraes, Anthony Taylor waves play on and VAR agrees with him. That looks harsh on the hosts who, stating the obvious, could really do with an early goal.

Penalty or no penalty? Kompany was convinced...
Penalty or no penalty? Kompany was convinced... - PA/Steve Walsh

03:11 PM BST

Fulham with a chance

Brentford 0 Fulham 0

Chance for the visitors as Iwobi hits one just over the bar after good build up down the right.

03:07 PM BST

Good start from Burnley

Burnley 0 Newcastle 0 

No chances created but they’ve had a couple of corners and are seeing plenty of the ball.

03:02 PM BST

All the matches are under way

Big afternoons for Burnley and Forest, both in need of a win.

03:00 PM BST

Forest hoping to stand tall

What a week it has been for Evangelos Marinakis.

After the euphoria of Thursday night when his Olympiacos team secured a big win at Aston Villa, he will be hoping his other club, Nottingham Forest, can complete a memorable week.

Forest were also charged with misconduct by the FA yesterday for THAT social media post, and remain in deep trouble down at the bottom.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s team will move three points above Luton with a win today.

02:52 PM BST

Arsenal doing what they need to do

Which is keep on winning while having their fingers crossed that Man City somehow slip up.

They beat Bournemouth 3-0 in the early fixture today and you can catch up on the match and latest reaction here.

Declan Rice
Declan Rice scored the third in the victory at the Emirates - Getty Images/David Price

02:45 PM BST

Leave nothing on the pitch

“No fear, we go all out, no regrets”

That’s what Burnley manager Vincent Kompany has told the fans in his programme notes today.

02:34 PM BST

The return of Joelinton

Joelinton is back and on the bench for the first time since January. Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak start up front for the first time this season.

02:26 PM BST

While Burnley fight for Premier League survival...

...Ipswich have just gone up to the top-flight. Remarkable back-to-back promotions from the East Anglia club on a shoestring budget. It proves that you can achieve success without stacks of cash. But they’ll find out whether that’s the case in the Premier League next campaign.

You can follow all the ups and downs on the last day of the Championship proper, here.

Happy days for Ipswich fans
Happy days for Ipswich fans - PA/Zac Goodwin

02:18 PM BST

Brentford vs Fulham team news

Brentford: Flekken, Lewis-Potter, Ajer, Collins, Pinnock, Reguilon, Damsgaard, Norgaard, Janelt, Mbeumo, Toney. Subs: Maupay, Schade, Wissa, Jorgensen, Ghoddos, Onyeka, Roerslev, Valdimarsson, Yarmolyuk.

Fulham: Leno, Castagne, Diop, Bassey, Robinson, Joao Palhinha, Lukic, Iwobi, Andreas Pereira, Willian, Rodrigo Muniz. Subs: Rodak, Tete, Jimenez, Wilson, Broja, Cairney, Traore, Ream, De Cordova-Reid.

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)

02:16 PM BST

Sheffield United vs Nottingham Forest team news

Sheffield United: Foderingham, Trusty, Ahmedhodzic, Robinson, Bogle, Hamer, Arblaster, Brooks, Osborn, Brereton, Archer. Subs: Brewster, Grbic, Norwood, Vinicius Souza, Ben Slimane, Larouci, McAtee, Holgate, Osula.

Nottingham Forest: Sels, Montiel, Boly, Murillo, Aina, Yates, Danilo, Elanga, Gibbs-White, Hudson-Odoi, Wood. Subs: Turner, Sangare, Kouyate, Awoniyi, Toffolo, Dominguez, Niakhate, Reyna, Origi.

Referee: Christopher Kavanagh (Lancashire)

02:13 PM BST

Burnley vs Newcastle team news

Burnley: Muric, Assignon, O’Shea, Esteve, Vitinho, Cullen, Berge, Brownhill, Bruun Larsen, Foster, Odobert. Subs: Trafford, Taylor, Gudmundsson, Rodriguez, Benson, Ekdal, Fofana, Amdouni, Ndayishimiye.

Newcastle: Dubravka, Livramento, Krafth, Burn, Hall, Jacob Murphy, Bruno Guimaraes, Longstaff, Wilson, Isak, Gordon. Subs: Dummett, Joelinton, Ritchie, Barnes, Pope, Almiron, Anderson, White, Alex Murphy.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

02:04 PM BST

Premier League preview

Vincent Kompany insists he will not “overthink” the end of the season as Burnley continue their fight for Premier League safety with the visit of Newcastle today.

Burnley’s recent upturn in form has propelled them to within two points of safety, with their latest impressive performance earning a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend.

The 19th-placed Clarets have struggled on their own patch for much of the campaign but, since their 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth at the start of March, they have gone unbeaten in their last three at Turf Moor.

Newcastle have scored nine goals in their last three games but Burnley boss Kompany says there is no reason to change things with three matches to go.

He said: “You have to respect their attacking capabilities but at the same time it’s Saturday at Turf Moor. It’s a different day, different opponent, anything can happen, that’s the mindset and we’ve played good players all season so why start to overthink it now? If they are better than us well done, if not we need to make sure we are the best we can be.”

Nottingham Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo expects his side’s Premier League relegation battle to go down to the wire. Forest are embroiled in a three-way battle with Luton and Burnley to avoid the remaining two places in the bottom three.

There is still an asterisk next to Forest’s name in the table as they await news of their appeal against a four-point deduction due to breaking profit and sustainability rules. And Nuno believes even if his side win at already-relegated Sheffield United, things will not be decided until the final day when Forest play Burnley in a possible relegation shootout.

“Looking at the table and the next matches, it’s going to be until the end, it’s not going to be solved (today),” Nuno said. “We depend on ourselves and after Sheffield United it must still be in our hands so, for that, we must win.”

Brentford head coach Thomas Frank feels the club must always demand more as they look to continue to hold their own in the “brutal” Premier League.

Although Brentford lost at Everton last weekend, previous victories over Sheffield United and Luton, coupled with results elsewhere, secured the club’s Premier League status ahead of the final three matches.

A fourth consecutive season in the top flight is some achievement for Brentford, now settled in at the Gtech Community Stadium after 116 years at Griffin Park which were mostly spent battling for survival lower down the pyramid.

Frank, though, insists no-one at the west London club should be resting on their laurels.

“It is fantastic that the expectations are rising, I think that is always an indicator that you have done something very good,” Frank said. “We have made some fantastic results, I think, (but) we always want more. We want to be an asset to the Premier League, we want to develop, we want to do better, but this league is brutal. It is the best league in the world, and last year we had the lowest budget but finished ninth, which shouldn’t be possible.”

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