Nottingham Forest 0-3 Southampton

Southampton kept on course for a return to the Premier League with a thumping win at struggling Nottingham Forest.

Nigel Adkins' table toppers went ahead in the first half when Guly Do Prado tapped in David Connolly's cross.

Luke Chambers was sent off for Forest for an elbow on Connolly, who then finished from close range for his sixth goal of the season.

Morgan Schneiderlin later found the bottom corner with a well-struck right-foot shot from long distance.

The Saints remain top of the Championship, ahead of second-placed West Ham on goal difference, after a first away victory in the league since 5 November.

Forest - who had striker Marlon Harewood back in their starting line-up for the first time in nine years - are languishing in the drop zone after a fifth straight home league defeat.

The leaders dominated from the off, deservedly leading through Do Prado, but Joel Lynch could have levelled before the break, only to head over when Lewis McGugan picked him out at the far post.

Referee Eddie Ilderton showed Chambers a red card after he led with his arm in a 49th minute aerial challenge with Connolly, the much-travelled striker then doubling the lead just past the hour from Schneiderlin's pass.

Schneiderlin hammered in the third and there was still time for Forest keeper Lee Camp to deny Lee Holmes, Daniel Fox and Dean Hammond in the dying stages.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Forest manager Steve Cotterill told BBC Radio Nottingham:

Decisions cost Forest - Cotterill

"You're going to be second best with 10 men against top of the table. The first-half performance wasn't as good as it has been and it has been pretty good for quite a while now. They were better than us. I didn't think we got the rub of the green with any decisions. But maybe we didn't earn it.

"Luke Chambers doesn't think he elbowed their player. I couldn't complain about it because from where I was I couldn't see properly but I was annoyed at the way people were in the fourth official's ear. I don't think it is right. People should walk away from it and leave it to the referee.

"But it's an indication that just about everything that can go wrong is going wrong for us. These are tough days."

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins:

"You have to earn the right to play football and we did that. We gave a very disciplined defensive performance that enabled us to go and control the game. Our principle is to pass the football and we did that very well.

"We have some exceptionally good footballers in this team and they demonstrated that. I know everyone will be talking about the sending-off but I thought we were in control of the game anyway so I don't think that would have affected the outcome.

"We scored three times and we could have had more and to win two successive away games without Rickie Lambert is very pleasing."

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