Controversial Hull goal condemns Forest to 2-1 defeat
NOTTINGHAM Forest suffered a second consecutive defeat as a controversial goal sealed a 2-1 win for Hull City.
The Reds were convinced Paul McShane had handled as he bundled the ball home from close range in the 69th minute, to condemn Sean O'Driscoll's side to defeat.
There had been a question mark over Hull's first goal when referee Gavin Ward pointed to the spot after David Meyler had gone down following a collision with Simon Gillett, with Robert Koren netting the penalty in the 34th minute.
Billy Sharp netted from the spot to level for Forest in the 43rd minute, at the end of a first half in which the home side had failed to impress.
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The Reds were much improved after the break – but found themselves facing defeat after referee Ward refused to listen to furious appeals from the home side that McShane had handled.
Forest had adopted a 4-1-4-1 formation to counter the five-man midfield favoured by the visitors and to provide some width to the side against wingbacks Ahmed Elmohamady and Robbie Brady.
That meant two changes to the Reds side, with Andy Reid and James Coppinger drafted in to the midfield and Henri Lansbury and Dexter Blackstock both dropping down onto the bench.
Reid, rather than playing on the left side, actually began the game as the man just off lone striker Billy Sharp, with Adlene Guedioura pushing into a wider role.
And the wily Reid almost prodded Sharp clear in the opening minute, with Paul McShane making a vital interception.
When Forest had the ball, Coppinger was also quick to support Sharp, with he and Reid only dropping back when the opposition were in possession.
A foul on Chris Cohen gave him the chance to regain his feet and bend a free kick into the danger zone, although keeper David Stockdale read it well and rose high at the far post to pluck the ball out of the air.
A quick break led by Reid saw him exchange passes with Coppinger before firing in a clever ball into the path of Sharp, who was half a yard short of connecting at the far post.
But, generally, neither side carved out an obvious opening in the first 20 minutes, with the Forest fans becoming ever more frustrated as the visitors enjoyed increasing spells of pressure.
Hutton handed Hull a chance to test the Forest goal when he needlessly conceded a corner with a poor attempt to head the ball back to Camp.
And it almost proved costly, with Elliott Ward having to clear off the line when Corry Evans beat Camp with a low shot, with David Meyler then sending the loose ball into the side netting as Forest defended desperately.
Having conceded a soft penalty on Tuesday night at Ipswich, Forest found themselves on the wrong end of another questionable decision at the City Ground.
When Simon Gillett and Meyler came together as they chased the ball into the box, the Hull man tumbled and referee Gavin Ward appeared happy to allow play to continue until his linesman flagged to signal a spot kick.
The Forest fans behind the goal – and the players - were furious, but Koren kept his composure to send Camp the wrong way and slot a low penalty inside his left-hand upright, in the 34th minute.
Eight minutes later, referee Ward was pointing to the spot again, this time at the other end of the pitch, as James Chester clipped the heels of Sharp as he progressed across the box. It was an innocuous challenge, but it was also a needless foul, as the striker ran away from goal.
But Sharp regained his feet and kept his head to power a crisp, rising shot high to the keeper's left and into the top corner of the net.
An injury time corner gave Forest the chance to snatch the lead before the break, with Cohen spurning a decent chance after his own near post flick had rebounded back to him, as he lifted a panicked shot over the bar.
Forest started the second half with a fresh sense of urgency and, following a flurry of quick passes, Guedioura was set up with a shooting chance by Reid and the Algerian bent a 12-yard shot narrowly the wrong side of the post.
A huge kick from Camp then forced McShane to concede a corner when Stockdale was slow to come off his line, but the keeper made amends by claiming Reid's corner confidently.
Guedioura had a trade mark drive charged down on the edge of the box and Cohen failed to make proper contact with a right-foot effort from the edge of the box as the home side suddenly found their attacking menace.
Coppinger then had options when he raced into space down the right, but saw his driven cross cleared by Hull's only defender, Chester, with both Sharp and Reid poised to pounce in the centre.
Hutton, Coppinger and Gillett then combined neatly to ferry the ball to Reid on the edge of the box, where the Irishman was not far off target with a powerful shot.
Guedioura had hit striker Sharp with three shots at Molineux last weekend and the Algerian was at it again as he stung the legs of his team mate with a fiercely struck shot on the edge of the box.
But there was to be another moment of controversy as Hull took the lead for a second time in a manner that left Forest seething with rage.
When Koren delivered a dangerous corner towards the far post McShane bundled the ball home at close range, but half the Forest team – including keeper Camp - were left chasing referee Ward back down the pitch, furiously protesting that the defender had guided the ball into the net with his hand.
Forest had been much improved in the second half but, with 21 minutes to play, they again found themselves behind. O'Driscoll decided to shuffle his pack by introducing Lewis McGugan and Dexter Blackstock to increase the home side's attacking threat, with Gillett and Cohen replaced.
Sharp prodded a desperate shot wide amid a melee of players as Hull pulled men back behind the ball to defend their lead.
Stockdale was booked for timewasting as Hull did everything they could to waste every last second on the clock, with referee Ward indicating that there would be at least five minutes of injury time.
The keeper had to make a fine save to deny Sharp a second goal after he looped a header towards goal, with Camp going up for the resulting corner.
Forest: Camp, Hutton, Ward, Collins, Harding, Gillett (McGugan 75), Coppinger, Guedioura, Cohen (Blackstock 75), Reid, Sharp. Subs: Darlow, Moussi, Findley, Moloney, Lansbury.
Hull: Stockdale, Chester, Evans, McLean (Proschwitz 67), Koren (Rosenior 90), McShane, Elmohamady, Bruce, Quinn, Brady (Faye 88), Meyler. Subs: Jakupovic, McKenna, Simpson, Olofinjana.
Referee: Gavin Ward, Surrey.
Attendance: 19,477 (1,740 away)