Nottingham Forest – 3
Port Vale – 0
Forest finally served up a belated Christmas treat for nervous Forest fans in a game that turned out to be a stroll rather than a canter, despite being on great form up until now, Port Vale had obviously over-indulged on their Christmas dinners as they were never at the races in this very one-sided game. For us, it was great to finally see us control a game for a full 90 minutes on our own pitch and run out more than deserving 3-0 winners in a not-particularly-hotly contested fixture.
Port Vale are rather like the Notts County of the Potteries; with their rag-tag and bedraggled followers determined to enjoy the fixture – but, should any of the chav-like followers from the A50 be reading – it really is rather childish to chant disparaging things about Brian Clough; it used to really wind me up, now it just makes me lament the absence of wit that seem to be at the disposal of the modern football fan. Fair play to the evidently pissed up band of council-house dwellers nearest us in the upper Bridgford though, they were determined to have a good day regardless of how appalling their team were!
Forest lined up in the familiar formation, with Thompson coming in again in Wes Morgan’s usual position, and Perch back in midfield alongside Clingan – with Agogo, Tyson and Commons making the forward three. Vale of course had the unmistakable Danny “the crab” Sonner in midfield – who is one of the few former players who you have no fear of coming back to haunt you, he was predictably utter horseshit as were most of his teammates – hard to believe Vale are as high as they are in the league on today’s showing!
The first goal came after 13 minutes when John Thompson played the ball down the right to Junior Agogo, who rifled a cross where Nathan Tyson audaciously flicked the ball in with his heel to the delirium of the bumper Boxing Day crowd. I imagine it’s a goal we’ll be seeing a few times come goal of the month or even season, a great piece of skill from Tys who had little other option given the ferocity of Junior’s cross. And so the first half was to play out – Forest were dominant although the only other clear cut chance was a Southall effort from the edge of the box which was cleared off the line by the impressive Pilkington.
McGregor was busy kicking lumps out of anything that moved with no intervention from the referee; he did eventually pick up a booking for taking out Southall (after gone 80 minutes), but he should’ve walked long before then with almost constant fouling and niggling on Commons and Tyson in particular! The second half started with Vale having probably their only good spell of the game, Tyson did have a chance to get onto a Commons cross, but couldn’t quite connect – and shortly after was substituted, with a slight hobble as he walked off the pitch and straight to the dressing room. Grant Holt replaced him in a straight swap.
Kris Commons – who hadn’t played too badly, but was being marked carefully, was subsituted for Jack Lester, with a bit of dissent from the crowd, it must be said – but that was soon forgotten about when Jack held up the ball and played Grant through the smash the ball home from around 12 yards to give us a deserved 2-0 lead after 66 minutes. Jack had a few opportunities but they were thwarted by the linesman’s flag more than once – from my vantage point I couldn’t really tell whether t’was the linesman or Jack who were in the wrong.
At this point Vale had visibly given up the ghost – they were uncontesting Forests’ heavy possession, and slightly frustratingly Forest seemed content to sit back a bit; but eventually Sammy Clingan broke with the ball and spotted an unmarked Grant Holt on the left, and picked him out with a great cross-field pass, leaving Grant with the not inconsiderable task of beating Mark Goodlad from around 18 yards with a tremendous finish which was the last notable action of the game. Oh yes, and Gary Holt came on for the hardworking Agogo at some point before this, too – Agogo had had a good game, he and Tyson are rapidly becoming by partnership of choice upfront.
All in all, a good solid win – the first time I’ve seen Forest fully dominate a whole game at home this season, and 3-0 was not remotely flattering, we could’ve had more. The perfect response from the Reds – we could’ve ended up 3rd today had results gone badly, as it is, we remain top with a 2 point gap, 5 points from 3rd placed Oldham as Bristol City only managed to draw. We needed the win, and we got a convincing one – we need to take this form into the Tranmere and Oldham games and start to build a gap at the top again, but well done Reds – a good, solid performance!
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