Three-goal burst keeps play-off hopes alive

Three goals inside 20 second-half minutes against Forest kept our outside hopes of a play-off place alive at Hillsborough on Tuesday evening.

The 3-0 victory lifted us back into ninth place and four points behind sixth-placed Villa, who play their game in hand at Rotherham on Wednesday night.

Marco Matias, later to become the unlikely goal hero on the night, brought a fine save out of Luke Steele in the Forest goal in the first half while, almost immediately, Keiren Westwood foiled Joe Lolley at the other end.

Steven Fletcher headed off target just before the break but we took the lead two minutes into the second period to spark off our goal rush.

Matias picked up a loose ball from about 35 yards out and moved forward before unleashing a swerving long-ranger that flew past Steele, with the keeper seemingly not expecting the shot.

Ten minutes later it was 2-0 and this time it was George Boyd with a spectacular effort of his own as he cracked a tremendous angled drive across Steele and into the far corner of the net.

Then, with 67 minutes played, Matias struck again when he latched onto Lucas Joao’s backheel and steered the ball home after Steele had saved his initial effort.

With our next two games away to promotion-chasers Leeds and Norwich, the play-offs are still very much an outside bet but Steve Bruce, along with the vast majority of the 23,931 crowd, will have been delighted at the way we bounced back from Saturday’s injury-time defeat to Villa and so keep us in the chase to get in the top six.

Westwood, Palmer, Hector, Lees, Fox, Boyd, Pelupessy, Reach, Matias (Lazaar 87), Fletcher (Hooper 61), Joao (Nuhiu 78).

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