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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Ian Parker

Chris Wood brace guarantees Nottingham Forest’s top-flight status

PA Wire

Chris Wood made certain of Nottingham Forest’s Premier League status with a brace in a 2-1 final-day win over already-relegated Burnley.

There was very little chance of Forest joining Burnley in the Championship coming into the match – it would have taken defeat here coupled with a win for Luton and a 12-goal swing along the way – but Wood ensured there would be no question of that with two goals inside the opening 15 minutes.

Still Burnley’s top goal-scorer in the Premier League, Wood started the day without a goal in five matches, but enjoyed his return to Turf Moor as he reached 15 goals for the season.

Josh Cullen got one back with a deflected strike for Burnley in the 72nd minute but, after any lingering hopes of survival were extinguished at Tottenham last weekend, Vincent Kompany’s side went down with a whimper despite bossing possession.

Wood needed only 76 seconds to open the scoring. Anthony Elanga drove at Burnley left-back Charlie Taylor, back in the side ahead of Vitinho, and sent in a bouncing cross which made it all the way to Wood at the far post to prod home.

Wood had his second in the 14th minute – although he had to wait a good two minutes longer for VAR Thomas Bramall to overturn an initial offside decision after he got a toe on to Ryan Yates’ shot to put it beyond the reach of Burnley goalkeeper Aro Muric.

During their ill-fated attempts to stay up in recent weeks, Burnley had made a habit of starting strong but failing to capitalise before falling behind. But with their fate already sealed, the Clarets struggled to turn possession into clear chances.

Zeki Amdouni squandered their first real opportunity 20 minutes in, blazing wastefully over from Cullen’s cross, Wilson Odobert saw a shot deflected wide late in the half, and Amdouni dragged another effort wide in first-half stoppage time.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson came on at half-time to make his final Burnley appearance as one of two changes, with Vitinho also entering the fray, but the second half began with another chance for Wood, whose header was saved by Muric.

Muric was then stretching to push Morgan Gibbs-White’s shot to safety before Wood wasted a chance on a counter-attack, firing over after being caught in two minds.

On the hour mark, Odobert cut in from the left and sent a curling effort just wide of the post, but it did little to lift the home fans in a flat atmosphere at Turf Moor.

Instead, Forest continued to look the more likely scorers. Gibbs-White’s rising shot was deflected wide by Maxime Esteve after a good run forward from Callum Hudson-Odoi before Murillo burst through the box only to drag his shot wide.

Murillo then tested Muric with a drilled shot following a free-kick on the edge of the area, and Dara O’Shea had to get his timing right to nick the ball away from Elanga as he raced through on goal.

Burnley needed a huge stroke of luck to get back into it as Cullen’s shot deflected off Murillo to leave Sels wrong-footed, but it was not the sign of a fight-back as Odobert wasted a late chance to equalise.

Jack Cork also came off the bench to play his last game for Burnley, who face another summer of change as they drop back down to the second tier.

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