Nottingham Forest 2-1 Middlesbrough: Garry Monk left to feel hard done by as Britt Assombalonga struggles on return to City Ground

Notts Forest 2-1 Middlesbrough
Notts Forest 2-1 Middlesbrough
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Daryl Murphy netted his third goal of the season to help Nottingham Forest claim a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough, as the man he had replaced fluffed his lines on his return to the City Ground.

The Reds had taken the lead with a fine team goal finished by Barrie McKay in the 16th minute, before Murphy netted from the spot in the 80th.

Ben Gibson gave Boro hope in the 83rd minute, but Garry Monk's side would have returned north with more than that, had Britt Assombalonga not failed to convert three glorious chances against his former club, whom he left in a £15m move this summer.

Monk was frustrated with the result, but not with his side's performance.

"I can't criticise any of my players today," Monk said. "After the first 25 minutes we got to grips with them and we created some good chances of our own.

"We couldn't have done any more to create chances and opportunities to win the game.

"I feel for the players in terms of how we came off the pitch with no points. We feel hard done by. We did more than enough to win the game. Luck is part of football and we have to dust ourselves down and move on.

"If we played that game again tomorrow we would probably win it with the number of chances we had. We were not clinical enough. We need to start the games better. We can't take so long to take a grip on the game.

"But we are creating chances in every game and we need to be more ruthless. But that will come, because the players are working hard."

A Ben Osborn cross should have been the catalyst for an early goal for Joe Worrall, but the Forest defender sent his downward header right at Darren Randolph.

Kieran Dowell had shown his quality once, with a dipping shot that flew narrowly over and the on-loan Everton man demonstrated his class again, when he laid on a 16th minute goal. His first touch and turn split the Boro defence, before he slotted a precise ball into the path of McKay, who fired calmly beyond the advancing Randolph.

Jonny Howson flashed a low shot wide, but it was Forest who continued to threaten, with Dael Fry producing a vital challenge to stop Murphy.

Forest lost David Vaughan to injury in the 37th minute but his replacement Ben Brereton was inches away from winning a penalty when he was brought down on the edge of the box by Adam Clayton.

Assombalonga had the opportunity to silence the boos, but fired wide with only Jordan Smith to beat. The Forest keeper denied another former Forest man, Patrick Bamford, when he dived low to his left to push away his strike.

Adama Traore came on for Boro at half-time, and he was immediately a lively figure, with Worrall producing a last gasp challenge to deny him in the box.

Assombalonga had two golden chances in the space of a minute, but saw Smith make a fine save at his feet, before firing badly wide from eight yards.

Brereton was a key figure as Forest doubled their advantage, with referee Graham Scott pointing to the spot after Gibson had grappled him to the floor.

Murphy was the calmest man in the City Ground, as he swept a precise penalty to Randolph's left and into the bottom corner. But Forest's nerves were tested in the 83rd minute when Boro pulled one back.

A corner was half cleared and, when Fry sent the ball back into the danger zone, Gibson swept high into the back of the net.