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Championship: Nottingham Forest help play-off chances with 1-0 win over Birmingham

Nottingham Forest avoided notching up a 13th Sky Bet Championship game without a win - and kept their faint hopes of making the play-offs alive with a 1-0 win over Birmingham.

A second-minute goal from Matt Derbyshire was enough to end a frustrating run for Gary Brazil's side and lifted them to within three points of sixth-placed Brighton.

Missed chances almost cost the home side dear, as Lee Clark's Birmingham came close to what would have been an undeserved equaliser through both Chris Burke and Paul Robinson at the City Ground on Saturday.

But while the Blues were ultimately left still looking over their shoulders following this 1-0 defeat, results elsewhere went in Forest's favour, giving them fresh hope of making the top six, after ending their run of 12 games without a league victory.

The statistics showed that Forest had enjoyed 65 per cent of the possession in the first half, but the Reds' main concern will that the key stat was that they held only a 1-0 lead following 45 minutes in which they had almost entirely dominated.

It took barely one minute for Forest to take the lead, with Jamie Paterson sliding a simple, but incisive pass into the path of Derbyshire, who duly kept his head to slot under the advancing Darren Randolph.

The rest of the half followed a similar path, with the Reds repeatedly carving out chances but failing to show the same level of cutting edge.

Ben Osborn sent a header over the bar, following good work from Derbyshire. Danny Fox forced a capable save with a bending free kick and Derbyshire flashed another, clever effort just wide of the far post.

Forest were utterly dominant, with Blues mustering little threat at all, aside from lumping hopeful high balls in the direction of towering striker Nikola Zigic. But the Reds will have been left frustrated after seeing further chances go begging at the other end.

Osborn was unlucky to see a low, placed shot bend just the wrong side of the near post from 20 yards and, from a similar position, David Vaughan angled a shot just a few inches wide of the far upright, as Forest continued to pin the visitors back.

But half-time arrived without another goal - and Birmingham, unsurprisingly, were more urgent after the break.

When Darlow collided with his own defender, Jamaal Lascelles, when coming to claim a Burke cross, it looked as though Birmingham would profit, but Danny Collins was on hand to clear.

Normal service was resumed as Osborn sent Paterson racing clear, only for Randolph to deny Forest a second goal with a powerful save.

Birmingham should have levelled when Burke crossed for Zigic, but the big striker sent his header straight at a grateful Darlow, from close range.

Burke thought he had scored when he flashed a shot across goal, only for a deflection to take it wide of the post. From the resulting corner, Paul Robinson was denied by an outstanding save from Darlow, who pawed his header around the post.

Sub Darius Henderson almost put the game beyond Birmingham with a curling shot that went wide, but Forest were still able to hold on for a precious win - their first since February 11 when they won 3-0 at Huddersfield.


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Headlines for Notts Forest this week

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  • Championship: Nottingham Forest help play-off chances with 1-0 win over Birmingham


  • Nottingham Forest avoided notching up a 13th Sky Bet Championship game without a win - and kept their faint hopes of making the play-offs alive with a 1-0 win over Birmingham.

  • Championship: Forest boss Gary Brazil hopeful on play-offs after win over Birmingham


  • Nottingham Forest caretaker boss Gary Brazil has told his players to go to Leeds on Monday and prove they can still barge their way back into the Sky Bet Championship play-off reckoning after Saturday's 1-0 victory over Birmingham.

  • Transfer news: Nottingham Forest's Jamaal Lascelles shrugs off gossip


  • Nottingham Forest's Jamaal Lascelles says he is learning how to handle the expectation of being a £5million-rated defender.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Nottingham Forest's Chris Cohen hoping to impress new boss


  • Chris Cohen believes he, and every other member of the Nottingham Forest squad, must prove themselves to incoming boss Stuart Pearce.

  • Championship Chat: Bowyer job on line


  • James Dixon praises the clubs for the Hillsborough tributes, slams Blackburn, talks up QPR's promotion chances and tips Millwall to stay up.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Nottingham Forest midfielder David Vaughan making injury progress


  • Nottingham Forest midfielder David Vaughan has stepped up his comeback from injury by playing 45 minutes for the Under-21s.

  • Championship: Nottingham Forest boss Gary Brazil impressed by Matt Derbyshire


  • Nottingham Forest caretaker boss Gary Brazil says that Matt Derbyshire is doing the right things to earn a new deal at the club.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Gary Brazil wants Nottingham Forest to restore some pride


  • Caretaker boss Gary Brazil concedes it is 'very hard' for Nottingham Forest to make the Championship play-offs - and wants the players to restore some pride at the very least.

  • Sky Bet Championship: QPR overcome Nottingham Forest 5-2 at Loftus Road


  • QPR secured their first Sky Bet Championship victory in four outings with a 5-2 win over hapless Nottingham Forest, who are now without a win in 12 league games.

  • Championship: Gary Brazil sees Nottingham Forest play-off push as unlikely


  • Nottingham Forest caretaker manager Gary Brazil admits that a play-off push is "very hard now" after a heavy defeat at QPR.

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