Chris Wood’s two Nottingham Forest goals sink Burnley to ensure survival

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Chris Wood;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Chris Wood</a> (left) celebrates scoring <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Nottingham Forest;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Nottingham Forest</a>’s second goal with teammate Ryan Yates.</span><span>Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA</span>

Even the most pessimistic of Nottingham Forest fans could enjoy the confirmation of Premier League survival on the final day, leading from the second minute of their victory over Burnley to guarantee a third consecutive season in the top flight.

A Forest loss, Luton win and 13-goal swing were required to send the visitors down at Turf Moor but none of these came to pass. With Burnley already relegated, the obstacles to salvation were almost non-existent, as a Chris Wood double proved more than enough against his former club.

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“We are very, very happy,” Nuno Espírito Santo, the Forest head coach, said. “I am proud of the way we finished this season, we all know how hard and tough this season was. It was important to finish on a high, winning and achieving the main objective: Premier League status. Our fans are going to see Premier League football next season, the best football in the world.I will celebrate with two or three beers.”

The result was confirmed by the time a quarter of an hour had ticked by. Anthony Elanga beat Charlie Taylor with pace and skill before finding Wood at the back post to ignite the away party starting very early on.

The red corner’s celebrations included anti-VAR chants but it was the video assistant who helped Forest double their lead when Wood diverted a Ryan Yates shot past Arijanet Muric in the 14th minute to finish off the game. The flag was belatedly lifted and the goal briefly annulled until the replayed showed Wood was being kept on, leading to a more triumphalist rendition about technology.

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Josh Cullen pulled one back to give the sun-drenched Burnley fans something to celebrate.

What both clubs need is stability. Burnley’s promotion last year, like Forest’s in 2022, was followed by a complete overhaul of the squad but they go back down with a group of players that will be confident of returning to the Premier League at the first opportunity under Vincent Kompany with a point to prove.

“There are no guarantees, the Championship is a tough league, every team is going to try and beat us but if we have the right mentality, then it is something to look forward to,” Kompany said.

Burnley’s most recent accounts resulted in a warning from the auditor, suggesting relegation will require players to be sold and wages reduced to help the financial health of the club. After such a dismal season, however, it is hard to envisage who could earn Burnley a profit.

Forest showed there are reasons to be optimistic as Morgan Gibbs-White looked a cut above everyone else on the pitch, while the Brazilians Murillo and Danilo are fine long-term prospects who have already proved their worth. Forest may need to sell one of their assets to avoid another points deduction, but they have a full summer of planning ahead, knowing they will be in the Premier League. If they want to add a fourth year, keeping things a little calmer off the pitch will help, but do not count on it.