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The City Ground (ATT 26,501) 26th December 2008 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: P Dowd

N Forest Nottingham Forest vs Doncaster Rovers Doncaster

Forest felled in basement battle

Rovers climb off the bottom

Last Updated: 26/12/08 5:44pm

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Heffernan: Bagged a brace

Heffernan: Bagged a brace

Doncaster lifted themselves off the foot of the Championship table with a 4-2 victory at Nottingham Forest.

A crunch contest at the City Ground between two sides battling against the drop was virtually wrapped up before the break.

Paul Heffernan, Martin Woods and Richie Wellens had the visitors three goals clear inside 45 minutes, putting Rovers in complete control.

Heffernan then doubled his tally for the day shortly after the hour mark, before a Sam Hird own goal and a late effort from Joe Garner restored some respectability to the scoreline for the Reds.

To compound the hosts' misery, they also finished the game with 10 men, Julian Bennett picking up a leg injury after manager Colin Calderwood had made his maximum three substitutions.

The result heaps huge pressure on the Forest boss and ensures his side remain entrenched in the bottom three.

Calderwood made two changes to the side which won 2-0 at Southampton last time out, with James Perch and Lewis McGugan replacing Matt Thornhill and Arron Davies.

Doncaster also made two alterations from their last outing - a 1-0 defeat to leaders Wolves - with Matt Mills and Woods replacing Adam Lockwood and Jos van Nieuwstadt.

Forest striker Rob Earnshaw saw an early effort deflected wide by Hird before Rovers took the lead in the 12th minute.

Earnshaw carelessly gave the ball away in his own half and Woods made good progress down the left before crossing for Heffernan to nod home from six yards.


The hosts struggled to muster much of a response and they suffered a further blow when Kelvin Wilson picked up an injury and had to be replaced by Davies.

Shortly before the half hour, Earnshaw forced Rovers goalkeeper Neil Sullivan into action with a powerful drive from 12 yards, but it was to be Rovers who grabbed the game's second goal after 33 minutes as a slick passing move ended with Woods sublimely lobbing the ball over Lee Camp from the edge of the area.

With the home fans' frustration growing, Doncaster then added a third on the stroke of half-time as Wellens curled home a delightful free-kick from 20 yards after he had been upended by Joe Garner.

Joel Lynch and Paul Anderson were hauled off by Calderwood at the break, with Bennett and Nathan Tyson coming on in their place.

Bennett's stay proved to be a brief one as he was forced to withdraw through injury within five minutes of his arrival, leaving Forest a man short.

Heffernan then added Doncaster's fourth after 65 minutes with a header from close range, prompting large swathes of the home support to leave the ground in fury.

Forest did manage to pull a goal back three minutes later when Hird attempted to block a shot from Garner and succeeded only in helping the ball into his own net.

However, the goal provided little in the way of consolation for the beleaguered home side and even though Earnshaw struck the bar shortly afterwards, the mood around the City Ground remained bleak.

Mark Wilson and Mills threatened to add to Rovers' tally late on, but their efforts were both well saved by Camp.

Forest reduced their deficit to two goals with five minutes remaining when Garner fired home from Chris Cohen's left-wing free kick but, by this stage, the result was already secured.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Watford 12 24
2 Derby County 12 23
3 Middlesbrough 12 23
4 Norwich City 12 21
5 Nottingham Forest 12 21
6 Ipswich Town 12 20
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 12 20
8 Charlton Athletic 12 19
9 Bournemouth 12 18
10 Brentford 12 18
11 Sheffield Wednesday 12 17
12 Cardiff City 12 16
13 Blackburn Rovers 12 16
14 Leeds United 12 15
15 Rotherham United 12 15
16 Reading 12 15
17 Huddersfield Town 12 15
18 Millwall 12 13
19 Wigan Athletic 12 11
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 12 11
21 Birmingham City 12 11
22 Fulham 12 10
23 Bolton Wanderers 12 8
24 Blackpool 12 6