Ipswich hit back in style
At first sight, nothing has changed at the top of the Championship with the two teams above Ipswich both continuing their winning ways, but, crucially, their super six enabled them to virtually wipe out the advantage Sunderland had over them on the goal-difference count. After three defeats, Ipswich's biggest win under Joe Royle represented a dazzling return to form.
Forest were not the opponents they would have chosen to cure a losing habit.
The visitors had just won two games on opponents' grounds in the previous seven days, a feat that had proved beyond them on any of the previous 16 occasions they had played away from the City Ground this season. If anyone could fray those Suffolk nerve-ends a little more, surely Forest, in bullish form and confounding relegation predictions, were the team to do it.
Royle left out Darren Currie in favour of Matt Richards, which might have reduced Ipswich's flair, but which was designed to make them less porous than of late. Tommy Miller started as if he had a point to prove, urgent and imaginative with his pass-and-move combinations just outside the penalty area.
Twice in the first 15 minutes it afforded him shooting opportunities, as Darren Bent and then Shefki Kuqi played their part with the return pass. The first Miller put too high, and with the second he forced Paul Gerrard to save low.
Forest struggled to create anything. Ipswich clearly needed a goal to give full expression to their talents. A left-wing corner caught Forest napping to provide the breakthrough, Richard Naylor losing his marker and able to steer in Jim Magilton's delivery.
Now Ipswich were more recognisable as the team that Portman Road has always believed would lead them to automatic promotion, David Unsworth putting a cross against an upright and Westlake always willing to follow Miller in driving forward.
Gerrard had taken a bang in preventing an earlier Bent charge and it appeared to take its toll on the goalkeeper's judgment as he was left flapping as Kuqi headed down. With Gerrard straining but never quite getting to the ball, Westlake had a simple finish.
It should have been three before half-time as Bent easily by-passed Gerrard who had gambled on being first to the long ball and lost out. Nevertheless, the striker was less than decisive with his shot and that enabled Chris Doig to rescue the situation.
Forest continued to struggle with Bent's pace. It led to a third goal in the 51st minute as Miller swept home his colleague's pull-back from the line. Andrew Melville was the embarrassed defender. Next Wes Morgan felt the draught as Bent sped away, the despairing challenge earning a penalty which Miller converted.
Bent turned Melville again, producing an opening which Fabian Wilnis headed against the bar. Kuqi profited from the rebound. Bent found his reward on the score sheet when, on 76 minutes, his low drive struck a defender on its way past the hapless Gerrard.
Trevor Haylett (Daily Telegraph)