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The City Ground (ATT 29,008) 3rd May 2009 - Kick off 13:15 Ref: K Stroud

N Forest Nottingham Forest vs Southampton So'ton

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So'ton 1

Forest end season on high

Forest give home fans final day hooray with 3-1 victory

By Elliot Ball.   Last Updated: 03/05/09 4:03pm

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Davies: Final day win

Davies: Final day win

Nottingham Forest came from behind to end their season on a high as they beat Southampton 3-1 on Sunday.

Bradley Wright-Phillips gave relegated Saints the lead but goals from Joe Garner, Luke Chambers and Robert Earnshaw sealed victory at the City Ground.

Saints were sharper and more determined than their counterparts in the opening 45 minutes and had already hit a post through Jason Euell when Bradley Wright-Phillips slotted home his sixth league goal of the campaign after 16 minutes.

The strike brought some cheer to 2,018 Saints fans who were in buoyant mood despite the crisis club starting next season in League One on minus 10 points and still looking for a buyer to save them from extinction.

But Forest responded after the break and Garner levelled matters midway through the second half with a sublime lob over the stranded Kelvin Davis.

And somewhat undeservedly, Chambers headed the hosts in front three minutes from time before Earnshaw added an even later third.

The nature of the bottom-of-the-table clash was a far cry from both clubs' glory years - with Forest celebrating the 30-year anniversary of their first European Cup triumph and Saints facing their first season in England's third tier since 1960.

Changes

Forest boss Billy Davies made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Blackpool last weekend - a result which, combined with Norwich's defeat to Reading, secured the east midlands club's Championship status as Lewis McGugan, Guy Moussi, Garath McCleary and Earnshaw all came in.

Mark Wotte, meanwhile, made just one switch to his starting XI, Morgan Schneiderlin taking the place of Paul Wotton.

And it was the visitors who almost broke the deadlock with just over a minute gone as Euell glanced Lloyd James' cross on to a post before David McGoldrick fired the rebound inches wide when he should have done better.

But Southampton did not have to wait long for the breakthrough.

Adam Lallana found Wright-Phillips with a perfect through-ball that split the Forest rearguard and the winger neatly slotted the ball under Paul Smith.

Forest were playing like a team already assured of their Championship status but the lively Earnshaw was a constant threat, despite Saints goalkeeper Davis failing to make a save inside the opening half-hour.

Smith was called upon to make a solid stop to deny James at the other end, while Chris Gunter flashed an effort across the face of goal just minutes before the break.

Second half

The opening 10 minutes of the second half did little to raise excitement among the 29,008 crowd.

Earnshaw volleyed Moussi's delicate chip over the crossbar from 10 yards with 58 minutes gone, attempting to lob Davis, while substitute Garner headed off-target from close range shortly after.

Neither goalkeeper had been called upon to make any real save of note with 25 second-half minutes gone but Forest levelled matters out of nowhere in the 73rd minute.

Sub Paul Anderson found Garner in space on the edge of the penalty area and he in turn found the net with a sublime lob that left Davis with no chance.

And with the game heading for a draw, Chambers rose to head home a late corner.

McGoldrick almost levelled at the other end immediately after, while Joel Lynch almost put through his own net.

But Earnshaw added a third after Davis parried Arron Davies' effort to extend Forest's end-of-season unbeaten run to an impressive six games - leaving Southampton with just one win over the Reds in their last 12 meetings.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Derby County 14 26
2 Watford 14 26
3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 14 26
4 Bournemouth 14 24
5 Middlesbrough 14 24
6 Norwich City 14 23
7 Nottingham Forest 14 22
8 Blackburn Rovers 14 22
9 Charlton Athletic 14 22
10 Ipswich Town 14 21
11 Cardiff City 14 19
12 Sheffield Wednesday 14 19
13 Brentford 14 19
14 Reading 14 18
15 Millwall 14 17
16 Rotherham United 14 17
17 Huddersfield Town 14 17
18 Leeds United 14 16
19 Wigan Athletic 14 15
20 Fulham 14 14
21 Brighton and Hove Albion 14 13
22 Bolton Wanderers 14 11
23 Birmingham City 14 11
24 Blackpool 14 6

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