Nottingham Forest 2-0 Leicester: Player ratings as Johnson brace downs the Foxes

Brennan Johnson is Nottingham Forest's joint-top Premier League scorer this season with four goals
Brennan Johnson is Nottingham Forest's joint-top Premier League scorer this season with four goals / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Brennan Johnson's brace earned Nottingham Forest a 2-0 victory at home to Leicester City in an east Midlands derby win which lifted the hosts five points clear of the relegation zone.

Steve Cooper's side extended their unbeaten run at the City Ground to eight games across all competitions, last losing in front of an invariably fervent home ground all the way back in September.

The promising run of form which lifted Leicester out of the relegation zone before Christmas has well and truly been punctured by the World Cup break. Since returning from international duty, Brendan Rodgers' side has lost all four of their Premier League matches, and are now precariously perched in 15th place, two points above a drop zone of three teams locked on the same 15-point tally.

Johnson punished Leicester's profligacy shortly before the hour-mark. With Morgan Gibbs-White shifted into the number ten position following the introduction of Sam Surridge, Forest's record arrival took full advantage of the yawning space between Leicester's blue shirts in transition to slide Johnson in behind.

The scrutiny of VAR would eventually reveal that Johnson had timed his dart behind Wout Faes perfectly, haring onto Gibbs-White's pass, rounding his international colleague Danny Ward and poking a 56th-minute opener into the net.

The same pairing struck again with just five minutes to play. As Leicester tossed bodies forward in search of an equaliser, Gibbs-White shrugged off Wilfred Ndidi's limp attempt at a tackle to stab the ball forward to Johnson. Striding past the inexperienced Lewis Brunt with a confident first touch, Johnson lifted his second goal of the game into the far corner.

Harvey Barnes - whose father Paul represented Forest's city rivals Notts County in the 1980s - spurned multiple chances to renew family rivalries with the Tricky Trees. On either side of half-time, Barnes had the ball at his feet barely 12 yards from goal only to miss the target on both occasions.

Ultimately, Dean Henderson was only forced into one straightforward save as Forest secured their largest Premier League victory since beating Sheffield Wednesday by the same scoreline in 1999.

Nottingham Forest player ratings (4-3-1-2)

GK: Henderson (7); RB: Aurier (8), CB: Worrall (7), CB: McKenna (6), LB: Lodi (7); CM: Yates (6), CM: Freuler (8), CM: Mangala (7); AM: Scarpa (7); ST: Johnson (9), ST: Gibbs-White (9).

Subs: Colback (7), Surridge (6), O'Brien (6), Williams (6)

Leicester player ratings (4-2-3-1)

GK: Ward (6); RB: Castagne (6), CB: Amartey (6), CB: Faes (6), LB: Thomas (6); CM: Ndidi (6), CM: Mendy (6); RW: Albrighton (6), AM: Tielemans (7), LW: Barnes (6); ST: Vardy (6).

Subs: Brunt (6), Iheanacho (6), Praet (6)

Player of the match - Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest)