Britt Assombalonga back among the goals as Nottingham Forest edge past MK Dons
Britt Assombalonga came off the bench to score his first goal in almost 15 months as Nottingham Forest condemned relegated MK Dons to a 2-1 home defeat in their Championship swansong.
After Chris Cohen handed Forest the early lead with his first goal since September 2013, Nicky Maynard levelled for the hosts after 20 minutes.
Danny Fox saw red for Forest after 37 minutes but MK Dons could not capitalise and Assombalonga's first goal since returning from a serious knee injury secured all three points.
Forest started brightly and made their early pressure pay after eight minutes when Ben Osborn's deep cross from the left sailed over the Dons defenders scrambling inside the box and into the path of the onrushing Cohen at the back post, who had the simple task of guiding the ball home with a delicate header.
But despite Karl Robinson's side failing to register a shot on target after almost a quarter of the game, they drew level with a well-worked team goal.
Midfielder Samir Carruthers set the move going with a searching ball towards Josh Murphy on the left wing before the Norwich loanee's first-time cross into the box found Maynard unchallenged and the former Cardiff and Bristol City striker tapped home his seventh goal of the season.
In what was fast becoming a tame and uneventful end-of-season finale as the interval approached, referee Stephen Martin showed Forest defender Fox a straight red card for an aggressive tackle on MK's Jordan Spence on the half-way line eight minutes before the break - leaving Paul Williams' side a man light for the whole of the second period.
The home side went close to taking the lead 15 minutes after the break when a floated corner from Murphy found substitute Ben Reeves in space at the back post but the crossbar saved Forest keeper Dorus de Vries' blushes as the ball smacked the woodwork before flying over for a goal kick.
The visitors' defence was left scrambling again minutes later as another Dons attacking move instigated by lively winger Murphy allowed Carl Baker and Maynard to have shots on target but both didn't quite have the finish to beat de Vries.
Despite the Dons' second-half pressure, Forest took the lead through Assombalonga's first goal since coming back from a 14-month spell on the sidelines with a cool finish from inside the box.
In only his fourth run-out since returning, Assombalonga looked like he had never been away as the ball nestled sweetly into the bottom corner.
Source : PA