Match report: Nottingham Forest 2 United 1

Saturday 30 December 2023 19:36

Manchester United ended 2023 with a frustrating 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest.

Erik ten Hag's side failed to spark at The City Ground and, after a flat first half, fell behind to a strike by Nicolas Dominguez. Marcus Rashford levelled with his third goal of the season, from an Alejandro Garnacho pass, which threatened to provide a platform for the visitors, but it was not to be. 

Breaking after a Christian Eriksen drive was saved by Matt Turner, Forest scored a carbon copy of their opener with Morgan Gibbs-White this time making the most of being afforded far too much space by stroking past Andre Onana.

Despite over 10 minutes of stoppage time being played, there was no way through again as we suffered our first defeat at the ground since 1992.

Andre Onana punches the ball away from his goal.


Although there was a shot within the opening minute, with Dominguez's strike blocked by the head of Kobbie Mainoo and flying out for a corner, the first half was sadly lacking in any real goalmouth action and overall quality.

Raphael Varane escaped when deflecting a cross by former Red Anthony Elanga across the face of goal, with it appearing as though it could have gone into his own net for one nervous moment.

The hosts were marginally the better side, as United struggled to create anything of note, despite Forest keeper Turner looking a little nervous when in possession.

There was one shot on target by the Reds, but it was barely worth a mention, as Aaron Wan-Bissaka's effort was blocked at source and trickled through to Turner.



Ten Hag introduced Scott McTominay, in place of Mainoo, but the pattern of the game remained largely the same. A second change saw Amad on for Antony, making his first appearance for the club since facing Young Boys, in the UEFA Champions League, back in December 2021.

Our first shot in anger after the break was a cracking one, by Diogo Dalot, but the defender was out of luck. Meeting a pass by fellow full-back Wan-Bissaka, the Portugal international smacked a post from distance, with a drive that beat Turner in the Forest goal.

However, we were unable to build on that moment, as things became fractious with a booking for Gibbs-White, following rash challenges on McTominay and Jonny Evans actually firing the hosts up. The opening goal then arrived on 64 minutes and it was all far too easy from a United perspective. Elanga fed Gonzalo Montiel who, in turn, picked out Dominguez in space inside the box, to place his finish past an unsighted Onana with his right foot.

Garnacho connected with a Bruno Fernandes corner but the volley went into the ground and landed on the top of the net but an equaliser did arrive, with 12 minutes left. Turner's errant pass out was won by Garnacho, on the stretch, and he kept his cool to progress and accurately feed Rashford, whose instant first-time finish bent past Neco Williams and beyond the wrongfooted Turner.

Everything hinged on one dramatic minute as Garnacho set up a shot by Eriksen, but Turner dived to push it away. Although Amad was onto the rebound, Fernandes tried to dummy the intended pass and, instead, Forest broke in numbers. Capitalising on poor marking, Elanga passed to a grateful Gibbs-White, who rifled past Onana to make it 2-1.

An Eriksen corner led to Fernandes volleying goalwards but a deflection ended up aiding Turner, who stuck up a hand to divert it over the top. The same move saw the skipper's shot, soon afterwards, spark handball shouts inside the area but there was nothing doing. Amad controlled a drilled pass by fellow substitute Sergio Reguilon to force another stop out of Turner, and Eriksen stubbed an Amad pass wide at the death, but time ran out on the Reds, who end 2023 in disappointing fashion.

Jonny Evans in the thick of things at The City Ground.


Forest: Turner; Montiel (Williams 74), Niakhate, Murillo, Aina (Toffolo 87); Danilo (Mangala 87), Dominguez (Hudson-Odoi 79), Yates (c); Elanga (Boly 87), Wood, Gibbs-White.

Subs not used: Vlachodimos, Tavares, Worrall, Kouyate.

Scorers: Dominguez 64, Gibbs-White 82.

Booked: Gibbs-White, Mangala.

United: Onana; Wan-Bissaka (Reguilon 90), Varane, Evans, Dalot; Mainoo (McTominay 46), Eriksen; Antony (Amad 54), Fernandes (c), Garnacho; Rashford.

Subs not used: Bayindir, Kambwala, Gore, Hannibal, van de Beek, Pellistri.

Scorer: Rashford 78.

Booked: Dalot, Varane, Garnacho, Eriksen.