England’s rugby stars did not learn from their mistakes during a World Cup final defeat to South Africa, and Luton endured the same fate against Nottingham Forest.

In Japan, set-pieces proved to be the undoing of the red roses.

Eddie Jones’ side shot themselves in the foot time and again when scrummed into submission by the Springboks.

They were offered plenty of early warnings but found themselves suffering from a serious case of sporting déjà vu.

The same can be said for Luton as Forest claimed all three points at a sodden Kenilworth Road.

Lewis Grabban let the Hatters off the hook inside 12 minutes.

As he poked an effort which sat up invitingly in front of him over the top, he must have wondered whether his big chance had been blown.

It hadn’t.

Another sighter was taken in from distance, which skidded narrowly past the post, before the Luton backline delivered an invitation which was too good to turn down.

Grabban’s pace and power took him clear, shrugging off his marker in the process, before calmly stroking into the back of the net.

Deserved

Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

In truth, that was no more than Forest deserved.

Luton had put the ball in the net a few minutes earlier, with a marginal offside call falling in the Reds’ favour (a situation replicated in the second half), but Lamouchi’s men had made more of the running.

Ryan Yates’ presence in the middle of the park offered a touch of added assurance.

Tiago Silva was charged with filling the No. 10 post and can be more assertive, push further forward, shake a few shackles and a take more calculated risks.

Matty Cash was a bundle of energy as usual, Yuri Ribeiro staked another serious claim to a regular role at left-back, Joe Worrall commanded the defensive unit and Brice Samba was only denied a clean sheet late on.

It is Grabban, though, that Forest need to fire.

Luton gave him far too many chances to get his eye back in after going four games and over a month without a goal.

They should have known better.

A proven Championship marksman, and the only out-and-out frontman on Forest’s books, does not need much of an introduction to opposition defences.

Threat

 

England were aware of the brute force possessed by South Africa.

Luton knew all about Grabban.

Neither could do anything about the most obvious threat they faced.

Grabban, with confidence flowing, continued to look lively after the interval – through the middle and down the channels – while Joe Lolley saw plenty of the ball as he continues to seek the same kind of spark as a fellow talisman.

Part of that process saw him involved as Sammy Ameobi doubled the Reds’ advantage.

After back-to-back defeats, a rain-enforced break and the first round of probing questions in 2019-20, Forest delivered the perfect response.

Being expected to win is one thing, delivering is another matter entirely – as we know all too well!

Opportunities, even when gift-wrapped, have to be taken.

The Reds, in blue and back, showed on Saturday that they are made of stern stuff.

It was not a day for keeping up with the Jones’, but definitely one to be left singing in the rain!

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