Sam Surridge netted a hat-trick against his former club as Swansea City’s nine-game unbeaten run was emphatically ended by Nottingham Forest.
The hosts took the lead through Jack Colback in scrappy fashion at The City Ground before Michael Obafemi’s 12th goal of the campaign made it 1-1. But forward Surridge struck three times in the second-half before Alex Mighten scored his side’s fifth late on as Steve Cooper’s men kept their automatic promotion hopes alive while Swansea suffered their first defeat since losing 1-0 to Blackpool on March 12.
Boyhood Swan Cameron Congreve was handed his first start for the club while Ben Cabango’s absence saw Joel Latibeaudiere operate at right centre-back alongside Kyle Naughton and Ryan Manning in the back three.
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The atmosphere was electric early on, and the hosts almost made a dream start inside four minutes when Surridge beat Latibeaudiere before having a shot palmed away, with Manning then clearing off his own line as Philip Zinckernagel looked to prod home the rebound.
Cyrus Christie then had to be alert to fling a leg out at James Garner’s strike after Djed Spence found himself in acres of space on Swansea’s left flank. Forest’s pace in attack was causing heaps of problems, and Surridge had a golden chance to break the deadlock when the home side went direct, although he made a mess of his attempt to lob Andy Fisher.
Nevertheless, the Swans stuck to their principles well and started finding gaps in midfield, with the impressive Flynn Downes flourishing as a result. Manning and Joel Piroe were both unable to trouble Brice Samba with efforts, and soon after, the pace of Cooper’s men told.
Spence found space on the right before drilling into the box, and Colback prodded home after Swansea inexplicably failed to clear their lines. Referee Graham Scott initially awarded the hosts a penalty and sent off Cyrus Christie for a handball on his own line, although the decisions were reversed as the ball had already crossed the line.
After mass confusion, Swansea swiftly set about hitting back, and they responded in devastating fashion as Matt Grimes’ floated cross found Obafemi in the box. The striker took the ball under his control beautifully and beat his marker before slotting beyond Samba to level proceedings.
It served as the starting point for what proved to be a hugely frustrating spell for the home fans as several Swans needed treatment for injuries, although they were guilty of spurning some glorious chances while Fisher made excellent saves to deny the likes of Joe Worrall, Surridge and Ryan Yates.
The home side must have wondered how they were not ahead at the break, and they could well have been behind had Samba not been alert to palm away Obafemi’s driven strike on the stroke of half-time. But the Swans were undone by one of their former employers twice in the space of four minutes after the restart.
Surridge headed beyond Fisher from James Garner’s corner to put Cooper’s men back in front, and he curled into the top corner after latching on to Garner’s pass from a ruthless counter attack to give his side a two-goal cushion following a blistering start to the second-half.
Swansea looked shell-shocked, and it was Forest who continued to push for more goals, with Surridge being denied a third after firing at Fisher from point-blank range. Russell Martin responded by sending on Jamie Paterson and Olivier Ntcham for Congreve and Manning.
The visitors marginally improved having been under the cosh, although Samba was comfortable in the Forest goal as the home side looked threatening on the counter attack. With Swansea committing numbers up the pitch, the hosts hit Martin’s men on the break once again and made it 4-1 as Surridge rifled home from an acute angle after Latibeaudiere’s block deflected on to his own crossbar.
With the outcome of the game all-but decided, Forest took the sting out of the latter stages but still created chances, with substitute Joe Lolley firing wide. And the hosts added insult to injury five minutes from time as Mighten prodded beyond Fisher to complete a resounding triumph for Nottingham Forest ahead of the final week of the regular season, with Swansea ending the campaign at home against Queens Park Rangers.
Nottingham Forest: Samba; Worrall (C), Cook, McKenna; Spence, Yates, Garner, Colback (Laryea 83); Zinckernagel (Lolley 70); Johnson, Surridge (Mighten 77).
Subs not used: Horvath, Cafu, Taylor, Figueiredo.
Goals: Colback 23, Surridge 48, 52 & 69, Mighten 84
Swansea City: Fisher; Latibeaudiere, Naughton, Manning (Ntcham 58); Christie, Downes, Grimes (C), Wolf; Piroe (Fulton 78), Congreve (Paterson 58); Obafemi.
Subs not used: Hamer, Ogbeta, Smith, Joseph.
Goal: Obafemi 28
Yellow cards: Christie 24, Latibeaudiere 38
Referee: Graham Scott