Blackburn 1-4 Forest: Brennan Johnson double-fires Steve Cooper’s side into the last eight of the Carabao Cup, with Jesse Lingard and Taiwo Awoniyi also on target ahead of their Premier League return
- Brennan Johnson put the visitors ahead after just 13 minutes
- Rovers equalized on the stroke of half time through a header from Scott Wharton
- Jesse Lingard immediately made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute from a free kick outside the box
- Taiwo Awoniyi scored the visitors’ third goal late to seal Forest’s progression
- Johnson then added his side’s fourth goal time to complete an unbridled Forest victory
Jesse Lingard pleased 6,000 traveling Nottingham Forest fans after his free-kick helped the Premier League club reach their first League Cup quarter-final since 1994.
Dominant Forest led through an early penalty from Brennan Johnson before conceding the equalizer on the stroke of half time as Blackburn brothers Adam and Scott Wharton teamed up against the run of play.
But Lingard, who also scored against Tottenham in the previous round, restored the visitor’s lead with a low blow just outside the box from a self-winning set piece.
Brennan Johnson gave Nottingham Forest a brilliant start after scoring 13 minutes from the spot
He was brought down in the penalty area by Blackburn Rovers defender Scott Wharton
Jesse Lingard made it 2-1 from a free kick in the 53rd minute and retook the lead
His shot from a small tap from Neco Williams set up two deflections to goalkeeper Aynsley Pears on the wrong foot in the corner, though Forest legend Roy Keane is said to have hated the celebration as Lingard milked his moment with a powerful dance for the large group of fans.
Taiwo Awoniyi and Johnson closed out the win again towards the end with deserved third and fourth goals for the visitors.
Forest boss Steve Cooper put together a strong team after almost six weeks of inactivity, unlike Blackburn, who are hoping for promotion to the Championship, who made 11 changes after their weekend win at Norwich.
Wharton turned villain into hero when he converted his brother Adam’s free-kick after 44 minutes
Unsurprisingly, therefore, Forest appeared to be the more cohesive outfit, with 16 shots on target in the first half alone.
Pears himself excelled with excellent stops from Taiwo Awoniyi, Orel Mangala and Johnson, but could not prevent the striker from the World Cup in Wales from converting a penalty after 13 minutes.
Johnson won the award himself, his pace forced Scott Wharton to trip, then had the confidence to rattle it home despite missing one against Wolves in October.
Lingard then turned to knock off Taiwo Awoniyi to score Forest’s third of the match
Rovers had offered virtually nothing until 18-year-old Adam Wharton swung in a free-kick approaching the break and his older brother got up unchallenged to fire a header past Dean Henderson.
Cooper would have been dismayed if he had been caught back, but his crew showed the right attitude to bounce back and retake the lead.
Once ahead, he sent in Lewis O’Brien to bolster the midfield, while the excellent Johnson showed no lasting effects from a poor tackle from Jake Garrett that netted him a lot as he broke through on goal.
Johnson raced on in stoppage time to complete the rout with his right foot past Aynsley Pears
Forest won the League Cup four times under Brian Clough and the size of their support meant kick-off had to be delayed 15 minutes due to motorway problems.
Lingard and Johnson were again denied by Pears as Forest looked for a deserved third goal. It finally came when Awoniyi ran through and slid a low finish into the corner with 10 minutes to go.
Curiously, Rovers boss Jon Dahl Tomasson delayed the introduction of his star striker Ben Brereton Diaz until the last two minutes, even though he had changed the score against West Ham in the previous round.
He was on the field when Johnson raced through in stoppage time, firing a shot with his right foot away from Pears.
Blackburn vs Forest Match Facts
Blackfire (4-4-2): Pears 8: Travis 7, Phillips 6 (Hyam 72 6), S Wharton 7, Mola 5 (Edun 45 6); Markanday 7 (Dolan 72 6, Brereton Diaz 88)), A Wharton 7 (Buckley 73 6), Garrett 5, Hedges 6; Hirst 5.5, Szmodics 5.5
Subs unused: Kaminski (Gk), Pickering, Rankin-Costello, Dack
Target: S Wharton 44
booked: S Wharton
Nottingham Forest (4-3-3): Henderson 6: Williams 6, Worrall 6.5, Boly 6, Toffolo 6; Yates 6.5, Freuler 6 (Colback 83), Mangala 6.5 (O’Brien 63 6.5); Johnson 9, Awoniyi 7 (Dennis 82), Lingard 8 (Surridge 83)
Subs unused: Smith (Gk), Cook, Mbe Soh, McKenna, Lodi
Goals: Johnson pen 13 & 90, Lingard 53, Awoniyi 79
booked: Worral, Colback
Referee: Robert Jones7