Nottm ForestNottingham Forest4LeedsLeeds United2

Nottingham Forest 4-2 Leeds United: Jack Colback double helps Forest stun 10-man leaders

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport
Nottingham Forest's Daryl Murphy celebrates his goal against Leeds United
Daryl Murphy's was the fifth goal in the space of a frantic 24-minute second-half spell at the City Ground

Nottingham Forest scored three goals in seven frantic second-half minutes as they came from behind to beat 10-man Leeds United and ease the pressure on manager Aitor Karanka.

A captivating match saw the Reds take an early lead when Jack Colback chased a lost cause and capitalised on a dreadful Adam Forshaw backpass.

Things got worse for the Championship leaders when Kalvin Phillips was dismissed for a terrible lunging tackle on Adlene Guedioura.

A stunning response saw substitute Jack Clarke sidefoot the leveller and Ezgjan Alioski smash Leeds ahead.

But Colback drew Forest level with a tidy low finish from 16 yards and Daryl Murphy's header put Karanka's men in front.

Ben Osborn's stunning finish then wrapped up the victory to end a five-game winless run and take Forest to within four points of the play-off places.

Forest hit four after Karanka headlines

A stirring Forest performance will have done wonders for Karanka's chances of staying in a job amid relentless speculation the Spaniard is to be sacked.

Another six-goal thriller saw the rumours initially gather pace as the Reds surrendered a 3-0 lead against Norwich on Boxing Day.

But Forest responded magnificently to the subsequent loss against Millwall to stun Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds, who are still a point clear at the top of the table following Norwich's draw with Brentford.

Forest showed the tenacity and spirit to suggest they are playing for their manager, coupled with more than a little quality against a stylish side who played a full part in a magnificent match, despite playing with a man down for the entire second half.

Referee Darren England sends off Calvin Phillips of Leeds United
Leeds responded impressively to having Calvin Phillips sent off by referee Darren England

But the hosts had to defend for much of the first half after Colback's composed early finish.

Mat Klich and Pablo Hernandez impressed in midfield allowing the visitors to dominate possession, while the pace and trickery of on-loan Manchester City winger Jack Harrison provided a constant threat.

Kemar Roofe had a fierce shot well saved and was denied a tap-in by Joe Lolley from a corner, while Alioski headed just over and Barry Douglas sent a free-kick a fraction wide.

The visitors will point to a controversial moment when Reds defender Jack Robinson was only cautioned for bringing down Luke Ayling on the edge of the box as the Leeds man raced towards goal.

But Forest stood firm and their high-tempo approach could have brought a second goal by the interval.

Claudio Yacob headed wide and, after Phillips was dismissed, Lolley wasted a glorious one-on-one opportunity.

Leeds riskily piled men forward after the break.

Jack Colback (right) celebrates his first-half goal against Leeds
Defensive midfielder Jack Colback had only scored one goal in 38 appearances for Forest before his double strike

Hernandez had a shot beaten away by Costel Pantilimon, but the visitors were soon level, Clarke's first-time effort going under the giant Reds keeper after neat interplay saw Roofe and Klich combine to tee up the chance.

Roofe was then just off target with a tough looping chance from the right-hand side of the box that drifted just wide.

But seven astonishing minutes saw Colback level and Murphy get the better of marker Pontus Jansson to power the hosts ahead from a corner.

The big Forest striker then turned provider with a smart pass to Osborn, who skipped into the area before crashing in the game-clinching goal.

Leeds continued to create opportunities, with Roofe going close and Robinson almost scoring an own goal, but Karanka's men saw out the win to jump from 10th place to seventh in the table.

Nottingham Forest manager AItor Karanka: "The comeback was for the fans. Their support was amazing.

"In the moments when Leeds came back, even when they scored the second one, the crowd were amazing - they supported the players.

"They supported me as well, which is nothing new. The team deserved to win. It was unfair that we had been in the kind of run we had been, without a win. In the five games where we had not won, we had played well.

"This can be a turning point for the confidence of the players. The team spirit they showed was amazing."

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa: "We didn't lose the control of the game. I would say the opposite, that we could control the game even if we had one player less.

"We had a succession of facts and all of these facts were against us. We had to play with one player less. We were a little bit fragile in defence but during the 90 minutes we did everything to win.

"The players did a very big effort. It's not a new fact that we have problems on set-pieces and it's also not a new fact that we make it easier sometimes for the opponent to have chances to score.

"But the game has these kind of risks and the fact that we dared to play, sometimes it has negative aspects like today but it also gave us a style of play that we should be faithful to."


Nottm Forest

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Pantilimon
  • 27DarikwaBooked at 81mins
  • 44HefeleSubstituted forGuédiouraat 5'minutes
  • 4Fox
  • 18RobinsonBooked at 14mins
  • 24Yacob
  • 6Colback
  • 14Cash
  • 10Carvalho
  • 23LolleySubstituted forOsbornat 65'minutes
  • 9MurphySubstituted forAppiahat 90+4'minutes


  • 5Guédioura
  • 11Osborn
  • 15Steele
  • 21Janko
  • 22Yates
  • 31Bastião Dias
  • 43Appiah


Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Peacock-Farrell
  • 2Ayling
  • 18Jansson
  • 23PhillipsBooked at 42mins
  • 3DouglasSubstituted forRobertsat 78'minutes
  • 4Forshaw
  • 22HarrisonSubstituted forClarkeat 45'minutes
  • 19Hernández
  • 43Klich
  • 10Alioski
  • 7Roofe


  • 11Roberts
  • 13Huffer
  • 34Baker
  • 40Davis
  • 46Shackleton
  • 47Clarke
  • 52Halme
Darren England

Match Stats

Home TeamNottm ForestAway TeamLeeds
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Nottingham Forest 4, Leeds United 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Nottingham Forest 4, Leeds United 2.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Leeds United. Pablo Hernández tries a through ball, but Tyler Roberts is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Mateusz Klich (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Adlène Guédioura (Nottingham Forest).

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Arvin Appiah replaces Daryl Murphy.

  7. Post update

    Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by João Carvalho (Nottingham Forest).

  9. Post update

    Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Claudio Yacob.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Kemar Roofe (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Ezgjan Alioski with a cross.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Claudio Yacob (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ben Osborn with a cross.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Pontus Jansson.

  13. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Daniel Fox (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ben Osborn.

  14. Post update

    Hand ball by Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest).

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. João Carvalho (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Daryl Murphy.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Pontus Jansson (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ezgjan Alioski with a cross following a corner.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Jack Robinson.

  18. Booking

    Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Tyler Roberts (Leeds United).

  20. Post update

    Daniel Fox (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.


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