Cherries paint the City Ground cactus green
- Geoff Eltringham
AFC Bournemouth left Nottingham Forest fans cactus green with envy after registering their first win at the City Ground.
Scott Parker’s team, resplendent in their new third kit, triumphed thanks to goals either side of half-time from David Brooks and Phil Billing.
The Cherries were forced to play the final 30 minutes with ten men after goalscorer Brooks was sent off for picking up a second yellow card.
But although they conceded a Scott McKenna header three minutes into the second half to make it 1-1, Parker’s team ran out worthy winners.
Defender Zeno Ibsen Rossi was handed his full Football League debut as Cherries head coach Parker made one change to his starting line-up.
Ibsen Rossi, who performed admirably in the Carabao Cup first-round win over MK Dons a fortnight ago, replaced Adam Smith who was unwell.
The 20-year-old Londoner, a product of the club’s youth ranks, made 20 appearances during a loan spell with Scottish Premiership outfit Kilmarnock last season.
Loan signing Leif Davis from Leeds United, who missed the first two games of the season due to injury, was named on a very youthful Cherries bench.
With an average age of just over 22 in the 18-strong matchday squad, this was one of the youngest in the club’s recent history.
Forest brought in new loan signings Jordi Osei-Tutu from Arsenal and Philip Zinckernagel from Watford, while former Cherries strikers Lyle Taylor and Lewis Grabban were both in the squad.
Zinckernagel fired an early free-kick over the crossbar after Gavin Kilkenny had been judged to have fouled Brennan Johnson.
Ibsen Rossi blocked a speculative effort from Ryan Yates and Kilkenny charged down a Joe Lolley volley as Forest made a lively start.
The visitors were also forced to defend a number of set-pieces during the early stages, a task they rose to.
Chris Mepham was booked for a foul on Lolley after 15 minutes but Lyle Taylor escaped punishment for hauling back Lloyd Kelly just seconds later.
Great build-up play down the left involving Jaidon Anthony and Jordan Zemura created an opportunity for Billing.
But after the Danish midfielder had worked an opening, his shot from a tight angle was tipped over the crossbar by Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba.
Brooks threaded a pass to Dominic Solanke whose resultant shot was blocked by Scott McKenna as the Cherries began to find their attacking threat.
The breakthrough came in the 28th minute when Brooks bagged his third goal of the season, the winger starting and finishing a superb move.
Having gained possession just inside the Forest half, Brooks worked a slick one-two with Solanke before racing into the 18-yard box to receive the return pass.
And after holding off a couple of retreating defenders, the Wales international delicately clipped the ball past the outstretched hand of Samba and into the back of the net.
Brooks’ next involvement was a foul on Osei-Tutu, the winger following his Wales team-mate Mepham into referee Geoff Eltringham’s notebook.
As Forest went in search of an equaliser, Lolley’s shot deflected off Kilkenny and landed in the grateful hands of Cherries goalkeeper Mark Travers, the hosts’ first shot on target coming in the 36th minute.
Brooks went close to adding a second when his shot flashed across the face of the goalmouth before the Cherries were relieved to see Yates’s 25-yard drive hit the inside of the post and roll out for a goal-kick.
As the first half drew to a close, Zinckernagel’s free-kick eventually found its way to Lyle Taylor whose blistering shot was beaten away by Travers.
Anthony fired wide at the start of the second half before Forest restored parity just three minutes after half-time.
There was an element of controversy about the equaliser with Brooks penalised for a foul on Johnson which led to a fortuitous free-kick being given.
Although Brooks appeared to make minimal, if any, contact with Johnson, referee Eltringham begged to differ and awarded a foul.
And after Zinckernagel had despatched the ball into the danger zone, McKenna was there to meet it with a header which squeezed past Travers.
Billing restored the Cherries’ lead with another well-worked goal after 58 minutes, the midfielder adding his second of the season.
Brooks fed Billing who exchanged passes with Anthony before drilling a low left-foot shot past Samba at his near post.
Just two minutes after Billing had netted, the Cherries were reduced to ten men when Brooks received his second yellow card and his marching orders for tugging the shirt of Osei-Tutu.
Travers got down smartly to save Zinckernagel’s 25-yarder before Anthony had an effort ruled out for offside in the 69th minute.
Former Cherries striker Grabban replaced Lyle Taylor 14 minutes from time and almost scored with his first touch, although his header, which hit the crossbar, would have been chalked off for offside.
Fellow substitute Alex Mighten burst into the 18-yard box but fired high over the crossbar before Davis replaced Emi Marcondes in the 80th minute.
Anthony took aim from distance but drove his effort well wide before Davis almost found an unmarked Solanke with a cross as the Cherries looked for a third goal.
In the closing stages, Travers kept out another shot from Zinckernagel and Mepham made a crucial goal-saving tackle to prevent Grabban notching against his former club with virtually the last kick of the game.
AFC Bournemouth: Travers, Mepham, Ibsen Rossi, Kelly, Zemura, Brooks, Kilkenny, Marcondes (Davis, 80), Anthony, Billing, Solanke (Saydee, 90).
Unused subs: K Taylor, Glover, Moriah-Welsh, Camp, Dennis (g/k).
Booked: Mepham, Brooks, Saydee.
Sent off: Brooks.
Nottingham Forest: Samba, Lawrence-Gabriel, Figueiredo, McKenna, Osei-Tutu, Yates, Colback (Carvalho, 83), Zinckernagel, Johnson, Lolley (Mighten, 68), L Taylor (Grabban, 76).
Unused subs: Cafu, Fornah, Back, Horvath (g/k).
Referee: Geoff Eltringham.
Attendance: 25,035 (including 1,122 away supporters).