Nottingham Forest 1 Leeds United 0: Chances wasted as Whites suffer tenth defeat despite changes
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Leeds began brightly but fell behind in the 14th minute as Forest netted with their first attack through Brennan Johnson who volleyed home after latching on to Pascal Struijk's attempt to clear a Morgan Gibbs-White free-kick.
A string of fine saves from new Forest keeper Keylor Navas then kept Leeds at bay as the hosts took a 1-0 lead into the interval. New signing Weston McKennie and Crysencio Summerville were then brought on 12 minutes after the restart followed by record signing Georginio Rutter and also Junior Firpo and then Sam Greenwood as the final change. But Forest held firm with Leeds unable to repeat their first-half display as they suffered another defeat which leaves them only outside of the drop zone on goal difference.
Leeds began well and went close in the second minute through Luis Sinisterra whose header took him past the Forest back line but new Forest keeper Keylor Navas kept out his flicked shot with a smart save. Luke Ayling then saw a firm effort blocked after a neat piece of skill and pass from Willy Gnonto but Forest went ahead through their very first attack in the 14th minute.
The hosts were awarded a free-kick on the right flank after Pascal Struijk clattered into Brennan Johnson for a foul which earned Struijk a booking. Morgan Gibbs-White swung the free-kick into the area and Struijk's attempt at a headed clearance fell straight to Johnson who netted with a brilliant volley from just inside the box.
United's response was limited and Struijk blocked a firm low drive from Gibbs-White as Forest looked for a second but the home side's Danilo was then booked for a late challenge on Struijk as the Whites looked to respond.
From the free-kick, Leeds squandered a glorious chance to equalise as Sinisterra sent a wild effort over the bar with the goal gaping as he latched on Gnonto's pull back. Another chance went begging in the 35th minute as Patrick Bamford miscued an attempt to convert Gnonto's cross which instead went through his legs and Ayling then saw his drive saved by Navas on the follow-up.
Ayling went close again moments later with a header across goal from a lovely Jack Harrison cross but Navas made another strong save and Navas saved Forest yet again in the 43rd minute when keeping out a firm low shot from Gnonto as the hosts failed to clear a cross.
Forest then threatened as Illan Meslier came racing out of his box when looking to clear but Leeds averted the danger and wasted another opening in stoppage time as Sinisterra played in Bamford only for a very heavy touch from the striker to carry the ball back to Navas in goal.
Whites boss Jesse Marsch opted not to make any changes during the interval and Forest had a chance three minutes after the restart but Gibbs-White sent a weak header straight at Meslier from a Johnson cross. Gnonto continued to cause the main Whites threat and the Italian was fouled for a free-kick from which a Sinisterra header was easily saved.
Forest's Willy Boly was then booked for tripping Tyler Adams but Forest wasted a fine opening a few moments later as Neco Williams nipped in behind Luke Ayling to find himself clean through but Ayling recovered and Williams' eventual shot sailed wide. Williams was then booked for time wasting and Marsch finally decided to make a double change in the 56th minute as new signing Weston McKennie and Crysencio Summerville replaced Marc Roca and Sinisterra.
Bamford saw a firm drive blocked as Leeds pushed for a leveller but there were nervy moments in the 66th minute as the already booked Struijk took down Johnson on the wing but avoided a second caution. Struijk and also Bamford were taken off shortly afterwards as Junior Firpo and record signing Rutter were introduced.
Forest held firm and United's Max Wober was then booked for fouling Sam Surridge who was inches away from doubling Forest's advantage following the free-kick as his curled attempt from the edge of the box was whipped just over the bar.
Marsch then made his final change with seven minutes left as Sam Greenwood replaced Harrison but Leeds could not create the chances that they did in the first half. A foul on Gnonto handed Leeds one last chance in the 93rd minute and Meslier went up for the free-kick but Forest cleared their lines and Summerville sent a shot over the bar from outside the box.
Nottingham Forest: Navas, Mangala (Aurier 46), Williams (Ayew 90), Gibbs-White, McKenna, Lodi, Johnson, Danilo (Colback 46), Freuler, Boly, Wood (Surridge 72), Subs not used: Hennessey, Worrall, Felipe, Scarpa, Lingard, Ayew.
Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling, Cooper, Wober, Struijk (Firpo 67); Adams, Roca (McKennie 57), Harrison (Greenwood 83); Gnonto, Sinisterra (Summerville 57), Bamford (Ruter 67). Subs not used: Robles, Kristensen, Greenwood, Aaronson, Joseph.
Referee: Robert Jones.