‘SMART’ WARD IS KEY FOR WARBS

Ju­bi­lant man­ager bags his first win

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Michael Hale

MARK WAR­BUR­TON was left dis­ap­pointed his side did not score more de­spite goals from Eric Lichaj and man-of-the-match Jamie Ward hand­ing him his first win as For­est boss.

The hosts were win­less in six be­fore Huddersfield’s visit but they cre­ated enough chances in the first half alone to win their re­main­ing five games.

And War­bur­ton con­firmed just how good his team were af­ter they moved five points clear of the drop zone with a dom­i­nant win over the high­fly­ing Ter­ri­ers.

He said: “It wasn’t like we scraped through, it was a very solid per­for­mance.

“The only down­side was – and I say this with re­spect to David (Wag­ner) and Huddersfield – that we could have scored four or five.

“Jamie Ward worked smart. It wasn’t a head­less chicken per­for­mance, he worked smart. He gave ev­ery­thing. The word to him at half-time was ‘keep run­ning as long and as hard as you can and let me know’ – he let me know on about 70 min­utes.

“They’ve had to deal with a lot over these last few months. Here you saw the qual­ity. It’s just about hav­ing that con­fi­dence and be­lief.”

Nahki Wells pre­vented For­est tak­ing an early lead as he cleared away Joe Wor­rall’s goal­bound header.

Ben Br­ere­ton hit the sidenet­ting from a tight an­gle be­fore Wells’ cel­e­bra­tions at the other end were cut short by the lines­man. Zach Clough scuffed wide from Lichaj’s cross but the lat­ter fi­nally cap­i­talised on the hosts’ dom­i­nance as he tapped in Br­ere­ton’s pull-back.

Elias Kachunga should have lev­elled from six yards for the Ter­ri­ers be­fore Clough and Wor­rall both went close.

Br­ere­ton crossed in for Clough at the end of the first half but the striker’s header was blocked at point-blank range by Danny Ward as For­est had to set­tle for one goal in a breath­tak­ing first half where they could have scored seven.

Wells saw a cou­ple of pop­shots col­lected by Jor­dan Smith early in the sec­ond pe­riod as the Ter­ri­ers be­gan to get a foothold in the game.

How­ever, their mo­men­tum was abruptly halted as Jamie Ward latched onto a way­ward Dean White­head header and poked into the net.

Aaron Mooy nearly halved the deficit in­stantly but his piledriver flew just over the cross­bar.

Lichaj was put through by Chris Co­hen as the hosts con­tin­ued to defy their league po­si­tion, but Danny Ward was on hand, again, to pre­vent a third goal.

Michael He­fele headed marginally wide from an Aaron Mooy cross late on be­fore the lat­ter saw a low drive blocked in a poor dis­play.

But Huddersfield boss David Wag­ner in­sisted his side are not al­ready fo­cused on the play-offs.

“My play­ers are hu­mans, such per­for­mances shouldn’t hap­pen but they do,” Wag­ner said.

“We are not un­der the pro­vi­sion that we can use the (re­main­ing) six matches as train­ing matches. The race for the play-offs is still hap­pen­ing.

“We were poor in the first half. We got sur­prised by the set-up of Not­ting­ham and we were not able to han­dle it.

“Not­ting­ham was over­load­ing the mid­field and we were not able to catch them to close the gaps. We did it bet­ter in the sec­ond half but then we gave away a very unusual mis­take be­fore the sec­ond goal.”

PIC­TURES: ProS­port/Jon Hob­ley

TWO WILL DO: Jamie Ward scores Not­ting­ham For­est’s sec­ond goal

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