Match ends, Nottingham Forest 3, Huddersfield Town 1.
Nottingham Forest 3-1 Huddersfield Town: Lewis Grabban leads Reds to win
Two goals from Lewis Grabban helped move Nottingham Forest up to fourth in the table with victory over Huddersfield Town, who face the growing prospects of suffering back-to-back relegations.
Grabban took his season's tally to 19 goals with a stunning first-half volley which was followed up by a coolly taken finish a minute into the second period.
Before Grabban's decisive double, Sammy Ameobi hit the post and blocked a goal-bound Karlan Grant effort at the other end, while Huddersfield also had a compelling first-half penalty appeal turned down by referee David Webb after Alex Pritchard was felled by Ben Watson.
Andy King flicked a second-half header on to the woodwork as the Terriers looked for a way back into the game, but victory to mark Sabri Lamouchi's first anniversary as Forest boss was completed by Ryan Yates late on.
Huddersfield, relegated from the Premier League last season and now sitting in the Championship drop zone with seven games remaining, finished with 10 men after Juninho Bacuna was shown a straight red card for kicking out at Nuno da Costa.
They did, however, pull a goal back in the seventh minute of injury time, Grant scoring a penalty after Joe Worrall brought Fraizer Campbell down.
The win behind closed doors at the City Ground moves Forest above Fulham in the table, putting them seven points clear of seventh place and to within seven points of the top two.
Grabban scores crucial double
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the league into a 104-day hibernation, was still being felt by Huddersfield in the build-up to the trip to Forest, with confirmation that full-back Danny Simpson would not see out the season with the Terriers.
Four days after Simpson's imminent departure was confirmed, his omission was among three changes made by manager Danny Cowley following their defeat by Wigan Athletic.
Forest were quick to create the first big chance of the day, with Grabban linking up with Joe Lolley, whose cut-back pass found Ameobi racing free into the box.
While his powerfully struck low shot had Terriers goalkeeper Jonas Lossl well beaten at his near post, the ball somehow stayed out as it flashed across the face of goal after hitting the woodwork.
Forest captain Watson was fortunate not to concede a penalty on 21 minutes, knocking Pritchard down as he skipped into the box.
A well-worked free-kick routine on the edge of the area just before the half-hour mark led to Huddersfield's best first-half chance, only for Ameobi to intervene by hacking Grant's shot over the bar.
Despite the Terriers looking the more industrious for long periods of the first half, it was the Reds that took the lead - Grabban showing brilliant technique with a close-range volley after being picked out by Worrall at the far post.
He found the back of the the net again with supreme poise after the restart, running on to a magnificently weighted through ball from Ameobi before sliding his shot past Lossl.
Grabban went close to competing his hat-trick, while Ameobi, Lolley and Joao Carvalho also had chances for a Reds side that got a deserved third when Yates nodded home from a corner.
As for the Terriers, they remain in the bottom three on goal difference, with their first goal since football's resumption coming after Bacuna was sent off in the 89th minute.
Lamouchi celebrates anniversary
Forest's win to consolidate their place in the play-offs came a year to the day since Frenchman Lamouchi replaced Martin O'Neill as boss.
Under O'Neill, who won two European Cups with Forest as a player and lasted less than six months on his much-heralded return as manager, the club finished ninth in the table and eight points off the play-off spots.
Lamouchi arrived at the City Ground as the Reds' 13th full-time boss in just over eight years.
Despite taking the Ivory Coast to the 2014 World Cup as manager and guiding French side Rennes to Europa League qualification during his stint with the Ligue 1 club, his appointment came with none of the fanfare or expectation placed on his predecessor.
But what he has done is instil stability, a sense of excitement at the City Ground and a real belief that the East Midlands club can secure a place in the Premier League for the first time this century.
Lamouchi was grateful that the milestone was marked with such a potentially season-defining win.
"I'm happy because it was a fantastic gift to me from the players after exactly one year [as Forest manager] - three points in a really crucial moment," he told BBC Radio Nottingham.
"It was a good result, but with the performance I was not so happy at all because we can play much better, and I know that.
"After three months, the most important thing was to win today.
"To play at the City Ground, when usually our fans are always behind us, to play in an empty stadium, in this atmosphere is so strange, so congratulations to the boys because the great performance [we needed] was to win."
Huddersfield boss Cowley says his side will fight for their survival, after suffering three successive defeats for the first time in his managerial career.
"We hadn't been in the relegation zone since the end of October and this is not a good time to lose three games in a row - not that there ever is," he said.
"But I trust these players as footballers and I trust them as human beings. While we are down at the moment and disappointed, we are not out; we are not dead.
"We will get up and go again. We will fight really hard at Birmingham and [at home to] Preston."
- 8WatsonBooked at 44minsSubstituted forMightenat 90+1'minutes
- 28SilvaSubstituted forCarvalhoat 73'minutes
- 23LolleySubstituted forBostockat 90+2'minutes
- 40JohnsonSubstituted forYatesat 45'minutes
- 19AmeobiBooked at 62minsSubstituted forda Costa Jóiaat 73'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 9da Costa Jóia
- 38DuhaneySubstituted forBacunaat 74'minutesBooked at 89mins
- 12StearmanSubstituted forStankovicat 70'minutes
- 6HoggSubstituted forChalobahat 60'minutes
- 10WillockSubstituted forCampbellat 70'minutes
- 21PritchardSubstituted forSmith Roweat 60'minutes
- 32Smith Rowe
- David Webb
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Nottingham Forest 3, Huddersfield Town 1.
Goal! Nottingham Forest 3, Huddersfield Town 1. Karlan Grant (Huddersfield Town) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Penalty Huddersfield Town. Fraizer Campbell draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest) after a foul in the penalty area.
Trevoh Chalobah (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nuno da Costa (Nottingham Forest).
Attempt saved. Alex Mighten (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Foul by Lewis O'Brien (Huddersfield Town).
Ryan Yates (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. John Bostock replaces Joe Lolley.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Alex Mighten replaces Ben Watson.
Nuno da Costa (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Juninho Bacuna (Huddersfield Town) is shown the red card for violent conduct.
Jon Gorenc Stankovic (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Nuno da Costa (Nottingham Forest).
Attempt blocked. Trevoh Chalobah (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Corner, Huddersfield Town. Conceded by Matthew Cash.
Goal! Nottingham Forest 3, Huddersfield Town 0. Ryan Yates (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Joe Lolley with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Jonas Lössl.
Attempt saved. João Carvalho (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Joe Lolley with a through ball.
Attempt missed. Harry Toffolo (Huddersfield Town) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Emile Smith Rowe.
Attempt missed. Trevoh Chalobah (Huddersfield Town) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Juninho Bacuna with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Huddersfield Town. Conceded by João Carvalho.
Attempt saved. Juninho Bacuna (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.
Juninho Bacuna (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest).
Attempt blocked. Karlan Grant (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Harry Toffolo.
Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Juninho Bacuna replaces Demeaco Duhaney.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. João Carvalho replaces Tiago Silva.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Nuno da Costa replaces Sammy Ameobi.
Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Jon Gorenc Stankovic replaces Richard Stearman.
Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Fraizer Campbell replaces Chris Willock.
Attempt blocked. Karlan Grant (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis O'Brien.
Attempt missed. Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Foul by Andy King (Huddersfield Town).
Tiago Silva (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Lewis Grabban (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right misses to the left. Assisted by Sammy Ameobi with a through ball.
Foul by Trevoh Chalobah (Huddersfield Town).
Ryan Yates (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.