Perch gives Forest hope
Reds out of drop zone as Sky Blues struggle on the road again
Last Updated: 18/04/09 6:00pm
A solitary strike from James Perch just moments after the half-time interval helped Nottingham Forest to a much-needed 1-0 win over Coventry on Saturday.
The Reds eased out of the Championship relegation zone as a result and are now three points clear of trouble with two games remaining.
For the Sky Blues, their woes on the road continue and they are fortunate to have been spared a basement battle this season by their form on home soil.
Both managers made two changes from the sides they fielded in their respective Bank Holiday Monday fixtures.
One was forced upon Billy Davies after Kelvin Wilson was sent off in Forest's battling goalless draw at Sheffield United.
Another defender Ian Breckin also dropped out of the starting line-up as midfielders Paul Anderson and Lewis McGugan were recalled.
Aron Gunnarsson and Robbie Simpson returned from injury to boost Chris Coleman's options for Coventry.
They came into the side at the expense of Marcus Hall and Kevin Thornton.
Gunnarsson's long throws caused Forest problems early on and it was from one of his long launches into the box that the first chance arrived.
McGugan's headed clearance only went as far as Guillaume Beuzelin on the edge of the area and the Frenchman's first-time shot flew just over the crossbar.
Beuzelin flashed another effort wide after 11 minutes before Clinton Morrision warmed Paul Smith's palms from 12 yards out.
Despite Coventry's dominance it was Forest who came closest to scoring after 20 minutes when Luke Chambers headed McGugan's inswinging corner against the crossbar.
The half-time introduction of Garath McCleary for the injured Anderson breathed new life into Forest, who went ahead immediately after the restart.
Following good build-up play down the right, Dexter Blackstock held the ball up and laid it into the path of Perch and he guided his shot past Keiren Westwood from 12 yards out.
It took two Coventry defenders to halt a marauding run from McCleary and the 21-year-old threatened again with a 15-yard shot just before the hour mark.
Westwood kept the Sky Blues in the game midway through the second half with a parrying save to deny Chris Cohen.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 18th Apr
Reading0 - 0Barnsley
Plymouth0 - 3Doncaster
N Forest1 - 0Coventry
Watford0 - 1Birmingham
Swansea1 - 0Bristol C
Sheff Wed2 - 0Southampton
Preston6 - 0Cardiff
Charlton2 - 2Blackpool
C Palace1 - 0Derby
Wolves1 - 0QPR
Sky Bet Championship
|1||Queens Park Rangers||20||42|
|8||Brighton and Hove Albion||20||31|