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Nottingham Post

'Outplayed' - How the national media reported on Nottingham Forest's win over Sheffield United

It has been a fair while since Nottingham Forest were last involved in a play-off campaign, 11 years to be precise.

But the Reds put themselves in a good position to reach Wembley Stadium for the Championship play-off after beating Sheffield United 2-1 at Bramall Lane.

Jack Colback and Brennan Johnson scored a goal in either half before Sander Berge's header reduced the deficit in second-half stoppage time.

READ MORE: Nottingham Forest have cause for regret but message is clear ahead of second leg against Sheffield United

ALSO READ: Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest player ratings - Colback and Johnson give Reds advantage

Plenty of journalists were in the press box for the play-off clash, and here is a look at how the national media reported on Forest's win.

The Guardian

Steve Cooper and Nottingham Forest have taken a big step towards history, but this would not be the Championship play-offs without a sliver of drama. Even the most optimistic Sheffield United supporter would have admitted that a two-goal deficit heading into Tuesday’s return leg at the City Ground was a fair outcome given how they had been largely outplayed here.

Which makes what happened in the final few seconds all the more fascinating for the balance of this tie at the halfway point. Make no mistake, Sheffield United are still underdogs going into the return leg, but who knows how big a moment Sander Berge’s goal in stoppage time could be. It was undoubtedly the scrappiest goal Berge will score in his career but it could also turn out to be the most important if Paul Heckingbottom’s side can reach Wembley from here.

Read the full report here

Daily Mail

A lifeline. A glimmer of hope. The slightest chance that maybe, just maybe, Sheffield United can go to Nottingham Forest this Tuesday and win to stay in this Premier League promotion chase.

That's what Sander Berge's stoppage-time header gave them on Saturday. United hate the word 'hoodoo', knowing it refers to the fact that they hold the worst play-off record in English football.

They've failed in eight attempts at securing promotion this way, and their ninth isn't off to the best start. But to pin this defeat on a 'curse' would be doing a disservice to Steve Cooper's Forest.

Read the full report here

The Times

Nottingham Forest took a big step forward in their bid to return to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years, dominating a lethargic Sheffield United side and producing a goal in either half, firstly from Jack Colback and then from the excellent Brennan Johnson.

Paul Heckingbottom’s side will have to play much better to get back into this tie, when even mastering the basics looked beyond them at Bramall Lane in the first leg of this Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final. However, they are not without a chance thanks to a late goal from Sander Berge forced the ball into the Forest net from a corner.

Read the full report here

The Sun

They have always loved their goalscoring heroes at Forest…and in the likes of Trevor Francis, Garry Birtles and Stan Collymore there have been a few. Yet while young Brennan Johnson clearly has a way to go before he reaches the heights of some of those stars from the golden days, he is definitely going the right way about it.

In fact if you asked any fan right now and the chances are the young Welshman would get as big a vote as any of them, after his season in the sun reached a new level here. Johnson, still just over a week short of his 21st birthday, struck the killer second goal which took his side oh so close to the Championship play-off final. All in front of his dad, former Forest striker, David as well, who looked on as proud as punch from the stands.

Unlike most of those around it, it must be said, as the Blades were left staring at yet another play-off hangover.

This is their ninth attempt to win promotion in this end-of-season shoot-out and they have yet to taste success. Clearly one over the eight means yet another hangover.

Read the full story here

The Telegraph

It is 23 years since Nottingham Forest last operated in the top division but, under the shrewd management of Steve Cooper, they have never been so close to ending that painful exile.

Forest’s upward trajectory under Cooper has been one of the stories of the season and they have edged towards booking a place in the Championship play-off final after this victory, which had their supporters chanting about Wembley long before the final whistle. Cooper inherited a team bottom of the table after the dismissal of Chris Hughton in September, yet has produced a stirring transformation which could yet secure promotion to the Premier League.

No manager in the division has racked up more points than the Welshman, and goals from Jack Colback and Brennan Johnson - an 18th of the season for the forward - put Forest in control before a potentially pivotal consolation from Sheffield United’s Sander Berge deep into added time.

Berge’s late header could yet have a huge impact on Tuesday’s reunion at the City Ground, as United bid to recover from eight previous failures in the play-offs.

Read their full report here

Are you confident heading into the second leg? Let us know in the comments section below...