Forest sink Stoke to seize Championship lead

LONDON (AFP) – Nottingham Forest seized top spot in the Championship with a 3-2 win at Stoke that piled pressure on Potters boss Nathan Jones on Friday.

Sabri Lamouchi’s side sit one point clear of second placed Leeds after extending their unbeaten league run to eight matches.

Lee Gregory fired Stoke ahead in the 10th minute, but error-prone Potters keeper Jack Butland dropped Matt Cash’s 36th minute cross and Joe Lolley poked in Forest’s equaliser.

Just under two minutes into the second half, Forest completed their turnaround when Sammy Ameobi met another Cash cross with a towering header past Butland.

Forest struck again in the 61st minute as Lewis Grabban latched onto a scuffed effort from Tiago Silva to bag his fifth goal of the season.

Although James McClean glanced home Tom Edwards’ 84th-minute free-kick, it was too late to save Stoke.

Jones’ team remain in the relegation zone after nine league games without a win this term, adding to growing speculation that the former Luton manager is set to be sacked.

Leeds are among a group of clubs who could take pole position from Forest.

But former Ivory Coast and Rennes boss Lamouchi has made an immediate impact since replacing Martin O’Neill as Forest manager in the close-season, giving the former European champions renewed hope of returning to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.

“To win away from home, at a difficult stadium like this, in front of 3,000 Forest fans is a great positive for us, Lamouchi said.

“We must take confidence from this now and learn that we must control the game better, particularly when we are away from home.

“Being top changes absolutely nothing for me. Of course I understand it is very nice for the club and for the fans but we are still so far away from the end of the season.”

In Friday’s other match, Fulham got back on track with a 2-0 victory against Wigan at Craven Cottage.

Joe Bryan put the Cottagers ahead two minutes into the second half.

Tom Cairney’s superb long-range strike seven minutes from full-time ended a run of five games without a win in all competitions.

After three successive 1-1 draws, Scott Parker’s side climbed to seventh place, just one spot outside the play-offs.