Nottingham Forest’s Polish midfielder Radi Majewski struck a hat-trick on Tuesday evening as Billy Davies’ men put six past Huddersfield in a resounding 6-1 victory at the City Ground, writes Shaun Wheatcroft.
The new Reds’ manager was looking for his first win since re-joining Forest but the game got off to a bad start for the home side as Huddersfield started brightly - opening the scoring early-on with a fine goal from striker James Vaughan.
However, the goal proved merely a catalyst to spark the hosts into life, and they were soon level as Majewski grabbed his first of the night before Elliott Ward gave the Reds the lead with a headed effort just minutes later.
And before the break the Terriers were stretched again as Majewski added two more superb goals to his tally, giving Forest a 4-1 advantage going into the interval.
Despite chances for Town in the second period, the match was put beyond all doubt as Henri Lansbury netted before Darius Henderson took number six - condemning new Huddersfield boss Mark Robins to defeat in his first league game since taking charge.
The visitors began the game well and for the opening 15 minutes looked the better side – Vaughan’s overhead kick seemed to be heading in with just three minutes on the clock, only to be stopped by the post.
But not to be disheartened, the Norwich loanee kept pushing and did score soon after when Neil Danns found space to cross - Vaughan poking out a foot to put the ball over Reds’ shot-stopper Karl Darlow and into the net.
The goal seemed to rouse the home side into life, who immediately went on an attack of their own, however, midfielder Andy Reid struggled to break through in the final third and the chance petered out.
But Forest did score twice in just three minutes soon after, albeit with a fortunate equaliser as Lansbury broke into the box one-on-one with Town keeper Alex Smithies before scuffing his effort into the path of Majewski – the Pole finishing with ease from close range.
The second goal, which doubled the home side’s advantage, was better calculated – Reid’s free-kick from deep on the right perfectly placed to pick out the rising Ward whose towering header made it 2-1 to the Reds.
Huddersfield were not prepared to give up just yet, and had their own spell of threatening attacks. Former Crystal Palace striker Sean Scannell twisted past Adlene Guedioura in the Forest midfield before firing an effort on goal that was well stopped by Darlow.
At the other end of the field Forest came close to a fourth on two occasions - Majewski’s corner was met by Dexter Blackstock whose header was deflected onto the crossbar before Lansbury broke into the box and shot well wide of the target.
However, the former Arsenal man was soon involved again as the Reds did make it 3-1 – the midfielder’s clever backheel found Blackstock who teed up an arriving Majewski to fire home low into the bottom corner from 20-yards.
And before the break the Polish star completed his hat-trick – Reid’s ball towards the middle was expertly dummied by Simon Cox to land at Majewski’s feet, and the former Polonia Warsaw man did the rest – unleashing a powerful shot that flew into the top corner from 25-yards.
After the teams emerged from the tunnel for the second period both sides wrestled for possession, but it was the Reds that again proved dominant.
Lansbury got the goal his performance deserved nine minutes into the half when he raced through the Huddersfield defence with ease before sliding his left-footed effort under Smithies and into the net to make it five.
The visitors continued to search for a route back into the game and came close when substitute Scott Arfield forced Darlow into a fantastic sprawling save just after the hour-mark.
But the final nail was driven into the coffin late in stoppage-time as Reid’s left-wing cross found the unmarked Henderson who headed home his first goal for the club and Forest’s sixth of the evening.
The win takes the Reds to within six points of the play-off positions and within four points of nearest rivals Brighton. In their next outing Forest will take on Charlton at the Valley on Saturday 23rd February. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Nottingham Forest: Darlow, Jara Reyes, Ward (Collins, 58), Halford, Cohen (c), Lansbury (McGugan, 68), Guedioura, Majewski, Reid, Cox, Blackstock (Henderson, 75).
Huddersfield Town: Smithies, Woods, Norwood (Gobern, 58), Clarke (c), Scannell (Arfield, 46), Clayton, Novak (Sinnott, 74), Vaughan, Danns, Hunt, Lynch.
Man of the match: Radi Majewski.
Referee: Paul Tierney.
Attendance: 26,938 (Away: 1,452).