FA Cup holders Arsenal suffered a surprise 4-2 defeat at Championship outfit Nottingham Forest on Sunday to exit the competition at the third round stage.
The home side had the first attempt of the game. Ben Brereton got between two Arsenal defenders but failed to trouble David Ospina. The Gunners hit back at the other end soon afterwards, as Theo Walcott looked through on goal. However, the forward scuffed his effort and the danger was gone for the home side.
Forest came close to taking the lead on 18 minutes. Zach Clough saw an effort blocked and the rebound fell to Cash, whose first-time shot across the face of goal forced Ospina into tipping the ball around the post. The Championship side took the lead on 20 minutes. Everton loan star Kieran Dowell fired in a free-kick from near the by-line and Eric Lichaj headed home from close-range.
The Gunners equalised just three minutes later though. Walcott swung in a free-kick from the left, Rob Holding headed against the post. However, the rebound fell to Per Mertesacker to score from ten yards out. Alex Iwobi tried a placed effort just outside the area on 31 minutes, but the winger’s effort went well wide of goal. Forest had their own chance a few minutes later.
Brereton did well to beat Mertesacker before hitting an effort that looked destined for the bottom corner, but Ospina got down well to produce a good save.
The dangerous Brereton caused danger again on 41 minutes, as he attempted to pass the ball into the far corner, only for Ospina to produce another save. The home side took the lead just before half-time and it was Lichaj again. The ball fell to the defender on the edge of the area, he chested it down before stabbing a looping volley into the far corner. Ospina was well beaten.
The first attempt on goal of the second half did arrive until the 61st minute. Brereton got in ahead of Holding at the near post but missed the target with his effort. Forest doubled their lead on 64 minutes. Holding brought down Cash and referee Jon Moss pointed to the penalty spot. Brereton stepped up and put the spot-kick in the corner of the net.
Five minutes later substitute Eddie Nketiah found space in the area, managed to fire a shot in, but Smith came out of his goal to make a decent save. Arsenal looked to be back in the game with 11 minutes left. Smith slid out of his goal seemingly in command of the ball. However, the ball slipped out of his grasp and Danny Welbeck was able to fire into an empty goal.
Forest killed the game off with five minutes left on the clock. Mathieu Debuchy was adjudged to have brought down Traore when through on-goal. Referee Moss showed the full-back a yellow card, but replays showed that defender got the ball.
Dowell stepped up to take the spot-kick, only to slip and the ball ballooned up in the air before finding its way into the goal. The Arsenal players claimed that the ball hit both feet, but the goal stood.
Forest were reduced to ten men with a minute to go, as young defender Worrall picked up his second yellow card in quick successive having slid in on Welbeck. Two minutes into stoppage-time Nketiah ran clean through on-goal. However, Smith raced out and got a touch on the youngster’s chipped effort to divert the effort wide of goal.
The striker’s effort was the last of the game, as the managerless Championship side recorded a famous victory.
Did Arsenal deserve anything from their trip to the City Ground?