Championship
Nottm Forest3Ipswich0

Nottingham Forest 3-0 Ipswich Town

Britt Assombalonga
Britt Assombalonga's 14th goal of the season gave Forest a vital three-goal cushion with just over 20 minutes remaining

Britt Assombalonga grabbed a double as Nottingham Forest avoided relegation on goal difference with an emphatic win over Ipswich at a sell-out City Ground.

Assombalonga's penalty settled early nerves and Chris Cohen's deflected strike made it 2-0 after the break.

With relegation rivals Blackburn and Birmingham both winning, Forest's safety was still not certain.

But Assombalonga then sealed victory with a fine solo strike to ensure Blackburn drop out of the Championship.

The closing stages were played out in relative comfort, safe in the knowledge that Blackburn's 3-1 lead against Brentford still left Tony Mowbray's Rovers three goals shy of forcing Forest into the third tier of English football for the third time in their history.

Thousands of Reds fans raced onto the pitch to celebrate their survival at the final whistle.

Forest fans celebrate their Championship survival
The euphoria among Forest supporters was clear during a pitch invasion at the end of the game

However, despite a blistering Forest start which brought four shots on goal in the first two minutes it was a nervy first half.

Both Rovers and Birmingham led early on and Forest keeper Jordan Smith had to make two magnificent saves - most notably to deny Dominic Samuel's fierce deflected shot.

But Eric Lichaj, who had earlier wasted a great close-range chance, took a quick throw-in and, after the ever-alert Jamie Ward was smashed to the ground by keeper Bartosz Bialkowski, Assombalonga blasted the penalty into the top corner for a half-time lead.

Forest's longest-serving player and club captain Cohen made it 2-0 and Assombalonga made amends for seeing his spot-kick brilliantly saved to add a third following a quickly taken free-kick.

Forest's Fawaz failings

Fawaz Al Hasawi
Fawaz Al Hasawi took over control at Forest in the summer of 2012

The relief as thousands of fans ran onto the pitch was clear, but the frustration and pain following a dreadful season was equally obvious. The bigger picture is that supporters are resentful it has come to such a desperate situation.

Five years under Fawaz Al Hasawi's ownership have seen the two-time European Cup winners finish progressively lower each season. The promise was to take the club out of the division but not back down to League One.

Increasing anger from fans, amid a backdrop of failed takeovers and a seemingly never-ending succession of managers culminated in this season's miserable relegation scrap.

Another attempt to buy the club by Evangelos Marinakis - the owner of Greek champions Olympiakos - is well advanced.

Reds fans are taking nothing for granted, but the feeling of enough is enough is palpable and a summer of stability under manager Mark Warburton and the new owners - if that deal goes through - is the clear aim.

Nottingham Forest manager Mark Warburton:

"We can never allow ourselves to be in this position again. Ever. I said to the boys we must make a vow to make sure this never happens again.

"The last few weeks have hurt but we have to remember this feeling and make sure we never experience it again. It can't be allowed to happen.

"A relegation dogfight is not what we are about and I am confident it won't happen next season, and I say that because I have seen the quality within the squad.

"I've seen enough in the seven or eight weeks I've been here to know that with a good pre-season behind us we can put a marker down next season."

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy:

"I thought the first half was pretty even, we matched them. They had the better of the second half and maybe that was because they had more to play for.

"In the end it's brilliant, it's like Nottingham Forest have won the league. The scenes have been brilliant. It was either going to be a wake or a celebration and up until they scored the penalty it could have been a wake. But good for them, good for Mark Warburton.

"In the end that game has probably summed our season up - some good, some bad and some indifferent."

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Newcastle462971085404594
2Brighton46289974403493
3Reading46267136864485
4Sheff Wed462491360451581
5Huddersfield46256155658-281
6Fulham4622141085572880
7Leeds462291561471475
8Norwich4620101685691670
9Derby461813155450467
10Brentford4618101875651064
11Preston461614166463162
12Cardiff461711186061-162
13Aston Villa461614164748-162
14Barnsley461513186467-358
15Wolves461610205458-458
16Ipswich461316174858-1055
17Bristol City46159226066-654
18QPR46158235266-1453
19Birmingham461314194564-1953
20Burton461313204963-1452
21Nottm Forest46149236272-1051
22Blackburn461215195365-1251
23Wigan461012244057-1742
24Rotherham4658334098-5823
View full Championship table

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