Nottingham Forest v Luton
Sunday January 19, 12:00
Nottingham Forest aiming high
Two goals in the space of a minute deep into second-half stoppage-time saw Nottingham Forest play out a 1-1 draw against Reading in their most recent outing. Ben Watson's 96th-minute volley looked to have earned the Reds a dramatic away victory and extend their winning run to four games, only for Reading to immediately respond from the kick-off.
The astonishing 60 seconds was out of keeping with a game lacking much in the way of goalmouth drama. The Tricky Trees edged a tight first half which saw each team muster just one attempt on target with Reading then enjoying the lion's share of second-half chances with Reds goalkeeper Brice Samba called into more regular work as the two teams pressed.
Head coach Sabri Lamouchi remained philosophical about the result and performance post-match, saying, "This was our fate, we'd never made a mistake before. We did our jobs for 95 minutes then it was a long ball, cross and an own goal. Yes, probably, we lost concentration after scoring. I just feel upset for the boys because, after our goal, they also thought the game was done."
Luton unable to arrest slide
Rock-bottom Luton fell to their 18th Championship defeat in 27 matches since winning promotion to the second-tier following a 2-1 home reverse to Birmingham last weekend. The visitors were ahead inside the opening five minutes, only for James Collins to bring the Hatters level from the penalty spot after the break. Parity, however, was short lived.
Town were deservedly behind at the break with Luke Berry's heavily deflected free-kick the best they could muster. Luton improved in the second half and were level just after the hour. But, after Dan Potts gave the ball away in his own half, Birmingham clinically settled proceedings with a breakaway goal, despite the Hatters' best efforts for a late equaliser.
Post-match, Luton boss Graeme Jones bemoaned key injuries and a lack of available budget for Town's struggles, saying, "As I've said over and over again, we need our best players on the pitch and we need to get some new players in to have a chance of competing at this level. You have to hold your hands up. But we're under enormous financial restrictions."
Hapless Hatters toil on their travels
Nottingham Forest triumphed 2-1 at Kenilworth Road in the reverse meeting between the pair back in November. It was only the duos third head-to-head league encounter since 1994 with the Tricky Trees enjoying a W2-D0-L1 supremacy in that sample; the Reds are also unbeaten in their most recent 11 home matches against the Hatters since 1982 (W6-D5-L0).
Nottingham Forest 1.608/13 enjoy a better points per-game record on their travels than at the City Ground under Sabri Lamouchi but the Reds have also performed with aplomb when welcoming Championship strugglers. The Tricky Trees boast a W5-D1-L0 return at home to bottom-half clubs, silencing four of their six visitors from the wrong end of the table.
Luton 5.805/1 arrive on the back of 12 league defeats in 15 fixtures since mid-October and the Hatters struggles have been accentuated by a wretched record on the road. Town have been beaten in 12 of their 14 games as guests, conceding an average of 2.57 goals per-game away from their Bedfordshire base. That includes a W0-D0-L7 return at the top-half.
Nottingham Forest have notched in all bar four of their 26 league outings under Sabri Lamouchi, and whilst the Reds might not be the most prolific of the leading lights in the Championship, the hosts boast enough offensive ability to take advantage of Luton's troubles on Sunday afternoon.
No Championship side has seen more Over 2.5 Goals winners than Luton (87%) in 2019/20 with Town's defence most at fault. The Hatters have kept a solitary shutout and shipped two goals or more on 18 (67%) occasions already - 11 of which arrived in 14 away contests.
Nottingham Forest are too short to support in the Match Odds but we can grab the Tricky Trees at 1.85 by backing the Reds to triumph, as well as scoring Over 1.5 Goals, via Betfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi market.