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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at The City Ground

Jackson heads the winner in five-goal thriller at the City Ground as the Blues win 2-3

The City Ground Picture by Paul Lagan
The City Ground Picture by Paul Lagan

By Paul Lagan at the City Ground

Nottingham Forest 2 v Chelsea 3

Nicolas Jackson's header eight minutes from time secured all three points for Chelsea in a see-sawing match that started in carnival mood for the home side, but ended in a degree of frustration.

Earlier losses by Luton and Burnley all but secured Premier League action next season at the City ground.

They needed a point but the loss is not terminal as they have a vastly superior goal difference to Luton with a game in hand and three points ahead.

The frustration at the defeat means it's technically not safety but I would not put any money on a 11-goal change around next week.

Chelsea played their part in an otherwise entertaining encounter – going ahead on eight minutes through Mykhailo Mudryk, before City turned on the pressure to take the lead before late strikes from substitute Raheem Sterling and Jackson sent the Chelsea faithful home down the M1 happy with thoughts of possible European football at SW6 a possibility..

Chris Wood almost increased the carnival atmosphere within two minutes of kick-off then a simple ball over the Chelsea defence saw the New Zealand striker free to run at goal.

But Djordje Petrovic was quick to get off his line and snaffle the ball on the edge of his area, before Wood has the chance to shoot.

The Blues were under the cosh in the early exchanges, but bizarrely with their first attack, on eight minutes, they scored.

A lovely Cole Palmer ball found Mykhailo Mudryk on the left. The Ukraine winger took a touch to take him just inside the Forest penalty area, and he stroked a sublime curling daisy-cutter of a right footer, past Matz Sels.

After Benoit Badiashile needlessly gave a foul away, a simple free-kick by Morgan Gibbs-White was met by the unchallenged head of William Boly who nodded home.

But VAR decided to intervene for a potential offside.

But in the end, it was given and Forest were deservedly level on 16 minutes.

Sels was in action on 32 minutes, denying Nicolas Jackson who had punched free of the home side's defence. The stopper blocked the effort at his near post for a corner.

Conor Gallagher got a yellow card for upending ex-Chelsea mate Callum Hudson-Odoi on 34 minutes. Luckily for him Marc Cucurella was deemed to be close enough to not make it a last-man preventing a goal-scoring opportunity. And thus a red card.

Much to the annoyance of the home fans.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

But it was much the same, the home side on the front foot.

Ryan Yates had a effort, on 53 minutes shaved the post with an edge of the area left-footer as the Reds went for the jugular.

Palmer should have done better with a clipped volley a minute later but could not direct his effort goalwards.

Quite how Wood missed a sitter on 56 minutes is anyone's guess.

Inspired by Hudson-Odoi – the winger's byline pass was met at the far post by Gibbs-White, whose header bounced off the post into the boot of Wood, who somehow conspired to volley the ball over the cross bar. He was six yards out.

Pochettino had seen enough and decided to make changes – on came Malo Gusto and Christopher Nkunku – off went Non I and Badiashile.

Thiago Silva hit the far post with a glancing header on 68 minutes after an excellently executed curling free-kick by Palmer on the right, picked out the soon-to-be-leaving Brazil defender.

A wonderful breakaway by Hudson-Odoi turned the Chelsea defence apart. He was very unlucky to see his edge of the area curler ping off the top of the crossbar on 71 minutes.

Next up was Raheem Sterling, on for Mudryk a minute later.

Forest turned it around with 16 minutes on the clock, and having had a couple of testers that almost worked, Hudson-Odoi does what he does best and the perfect right-footed curler went past the desperate dive of Petrovic to make it 2-1.

Hudson-Odoi was a subject of a £35million offer from Bayern Munich in 2019. He stayed at SW6 thanks to the persuasive powers of then boss Frank Lampard.

It did not go as planned at Chelsea and he was eventually shifted out the door in a £3million move to Forest.

Fellow academy start Reece James returned to action after a long injury lay-off since December on 79 minutes, replacing Gallagher.

Anything Hudson-Odoi can do, Sterling can try, and with 10 minutes left on the clock, he replicated the effort and saw his right-footer smash the inside of the Forest goal to level the score at 2-2.

James' first contribution was to set up Jackson with a perfect byline cross and in-running Jackson headed home to give the visitors a 2-3 lead.

They saw out the remaining seven minutes of added time.


Teams: Chelsea: Petrovic, Cucurella, Badiashile, Silva, Mudryk, Madueke, Chalobah, Jackson, Palmer, Gallagher, Caicedo

Subs: Bettinelli, Disasi, Sterling, Ugochukwu, Nkunku, James, Colwill, Gusto, Casadei

Nottingham Forest: Sels, Gibbs-White, Wood, Hudson-Odoi, Niakhate, Yates, Danilo, Montiel, Boly, Murillo, Aina

Subs: Turner, Sangare, Kouyate, Awoniyi, Tomfool, Dominguez, Origi, Omobamidele

Referee: Tony Harrington


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