Goal drought over as Tudgay leads from the front
Nottingham Forest endured a miserable finish to 2011 but began the new year by ending a 10-hour goal drought to beat Ipswich at Portman Road.
Forest arrived in Suffolk having failed to score in the seven npower Championship games since Marcus Tudgay's injury-time strike in a 3-2 victory for the Reds in the reverse fixture at the City Ground on November 19.
It was Tudgay who broke the duck after five minutes before Garath McCleary extended the lead before the half-hour mark.
Ipswich pulled a goal back from the penalty spot midway through the second half through Grant Leadbitter but Tudgay sealed the win with his sixth goal of the season 12 minutes from time.
The result was not enough to lift Forest out of the relegation zone but it moved them level on points with Bristol City and to within three of Ipswich, who have now lost five of their last six home matches in the league.
Managers Paul Jewell and Steve Cotterill each made two changes from the sides they picked on New Year's Eve.
Ibrahima Sonko was suspended after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season on his return to former club Reading so Ivar Ingimarsson was recalled to the Town defence by Jewell, who sprang a surprise by bringing in midfielder Andy Drury at the expense of seven-goal striker Michael Chopra.
Joel Lynch was missing through suspension for Forest so midfielder Guy Moussi was once again asked to fill in alongside captain Luke Chambers at centre-half.
The fit-again George Boateng replaced Moussi in the middle of the park to make his first appearance for Cotterill since he became boss in mid-October. A change of formation also saw Andy Reid come into the Forest midfield for injured striker Robbie Findley.
Tudgay should really have given the Reds an earlier lead but he lobbed over the crossbar when through one-on-one with goalkeeper Arran Lee-Barrett.
The former Derby and Sheffield Wednesday striker made amends almost immediately, firing home from Reid's pass down the right-hand side of the area when the angle looked as though it might be against him.
Lewis McGugan tried his luck with a couple of long-range efforts, the first of which forced a save from Lee-Barrett.
At the other end, Ipswich briefly threatened when Jay Emmanuel-Thomas worked keeper Lee Camp with a header midway through the first half.
Forest scored a second after 26 minutes when McCleary advanced goalwards and unleashed a 25-yard piledriver into the top left-hand corner.
McGugan continued to pepper Lee-Barrett's goal from distance. Emmanuel-Thomas was less successful with a couple of efforts for the hosts before half-time.
Forest should have put the game beyond Ipswich at the start of the second half.
Reid would have stabbed home McCleary's cross had it not been for Ingimarsson's intervention. The ball broke to McGugan but he sent his shot over the crossbar from 12 yards out.
Lee Martin threatened and substitute Nathan Ellington went close as Jewell's side looked like getting back into the game.
And they did just that in the 75th minute after Greg Cunningham tripped Emmanuel-Thomas. Leadbitter's spot-kick struck both posts before nestling in the back of the net.
However, Town's glimmer of hope was short-lived as Tudgay cleverly directed his header from Reid's cross into the bottom corner.
Camp was called into a rare piece of action late on to tip a long-range effort from Emmanuel-Thomas round the post.