By Jack Wynne – Sports Editor
PNE suffered a blow to their push for the play-offs, losing 1-0 against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Nelson Oliveira put the home side in front, placing the ball into the back of the net at the far post after North End were caught on the counter-attack.
Joe Garner picked up his 10th booking of the season and will miss the next two matches against Bolton Wanderers and Queens Park Rangers.
Anders Lindegaard returned to the starting line-up after recovering from a stomach bug which ruled him out of the goalless draw against Brighton & Hove Albion whilst Ben Pearson replaced the injured Alan Browne.
Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman made three changes from the side which lost to Ipswich Town last weekend.
Chris Cohen, Robert Tesche and Chris O’Grady replaced Dexter Blackstock, Bojan Jokic and David Vaughan.
Oliveira looked to test PNE goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard in the 5th minute, his shot from distance flying wide of the target.
24 minutes played, Paul Gallagher’s free-kick failed to test Dorus De Vries, the ball hitting the wall and flying over the bar.
36 minutes played, Oliveira broke the deadlock, rounding off a swift counter-attack, tapping in at the far post after a square pass from Ben Osborn.
At the other end, Calum Woods had a good chance to pull North End level, his low shot stopped by De Vries.
Into the second half, Ryan Mendes spurned a great opportunity to put further distance between the two sides, heading Cohen’s free-kick straight at Lindegaard.
54 minutes played, Mendes races towards the penalty area before hitting a powerful volley straight over the cross bar.
De Vries made a fine save to stop substitute Callum Robinson’s low shot from distance flying into the back of the net.
69 minutes played, substitute Jordan Hugill almost levelled the scores, his header being blocked with a brilliant one-handed save from De Vries.
Adam Reach looked to find a way back into the match for North End, his arrowing long-range shot being tipped around the post by De Vries.
With three minutes of normal time remaining, Gary Gardner cut inside from the right before rifling a powerful shot towards goal which De Vries just managed to tip over the bar.
De Vries was the difference between PNE salvaging something out of the match and coming away empty-handed, according to manager Simon Grayson.
He added that Forest didn’t really threaten Lindegaard apart from the goal in the first half and in the second, North End looked like the only team who would go on and win the match.
Nottingham Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Mancienne, Mills, Cohen (Jokic, 71), Mendes, Gardner, Tesche, Osborn, O’Grady and Oliveira (Grant, 71). Subs not used: Evtimov, Wilson, Vaughan, McDonagh and Petravicius.
PNE: Lindegaard, Cunningham, Clarke, Wright (Robinson, 45), Huntington, Woods, Gallagher (Doyle, 76), Johnson, Pearson, Reach and Garner (Hugill, 45). Subs not used: Kirkland, Vermijl, Smith and Welsh.
Referee: Mark Brown (Hull)
Attendance: 16,747 (525 PNE fans)