Chambers: Topped off a decent performance with a goal
Nottingham Forest – 2
Sheffield Wednesday – 1
I must admit I was a bit worried when I saw the team, following the injuries picked up against the Sheep left us without Anderson and Cohen, seeing McCleary and Anderson enter the side. Better news (sorry Joel) was that Lynch wasn’t available, giving Joe Heath a chance to impress at left back. It was heartening to hear Billy Davies speak of moves being afoot to bring in some players – because we have some key injuries and a thin squad.
However, another three points sees us four points clear of the bottom three, on a great run of form and hopefully giving the players increased confidence to kick on to safety as quickly as possible. It was a miserable evening which proved to have an impact on players ability to pass and control the ball well, and despite the short distance it was an impressive away following from the Yorkshire club, ready to spur on their side to victory. It’s also always nice to see Lawsy back at the City Ground.
It was a scrappy start, with Wednesday having the first attempt on goal straight at Smithy at which point an end to end game started to develop. Arron Davies looked lively early doors, and Tyson continued his recent good form – breaking down the left and crossing which almost paid dividends when an Owls clearance rebounded off a defender and headed goalward, but too gently to trouble the keeper. As we’d seen before, though, just as Forest showed promise, they went behind.
A corner was hit in, Tys wasn’t able to get his head on to it to clear allowing Wood to head down for Johnson to score. Frustrating given the timing, and myself and many other fans weren’t quite in the same mindset that the players are lately, because that’s the kind of sucker punch that’s taken the stuffing out of Forest before our recent run of form. Fortunately today that was to prove not the case, as Forest were to hit back quickly.
There aren’t words to describe the tremendousness of the throughball that Garath McCleary picked out – the winger broke forward centrally from his own half, taking on a couple of Owls players before picking out an absolutely perfect pass to release Nathan Tyson who had made the perfect run to meet it, took it in his stride before unleashing a powerful shot over Lee Grant and – and I’ll admit I was worried it was going over – into the top of the net to give us an emphatic equaliser.
Shortly after this Francis ‘wingnut’ Jeffers lost the ball lazily to Joe Heath, and decided to respond by lunging in on the youngster with both feet off the ground, leaving him floored and in need of treatment. Unusually the referee was very decisive and immediately held aloft a well deserved red card. It took Jeffers a while to leave the pitch and for play to resume, when it did the visitors’ dirtiness continued – Lewis Buxton was fortunate to only be booked for an ugly challenge on Davies. These incidents had distracted from a resurgent Forest, so eventually half time was a welcome break.
The second half began with a booking for Brecks, definitely a foul on Tudgay – the resultant theatrics probably cost him the card. The freekick was taken from out on our left, and it was a good delivery by Gray which found Tudgay unmarked on the back stick, he headed into the side-netting though – fooling many of the visiting fans into thinking they had retaken the lead, much to the amusement of the home supporters.
It was the home fans’ turn to look a bit silly following that, Tyson was clearly fouled as he played McCleary through, who broke through and finished with aplomb past Grant. Unfortunately he was offside so it was disallowed, the referee not really thinking that there wasn’t much advantage in that situation and not bringing back play to where Tyson was fouled. As the half went on, it was increasingly tough to tell which side had ten men as Wednesday moved the ball well.
Earnie had picked up a bit of a knock, and was withdrawn for Joe Garner, and as Forest continued to struggle to make headway, Davies withdrew his increasingly anonymous namesake for Thornhill as Forest started to press home their advantage in numbers – McCleary and Tyson combined well to force a save from Grant. Their tails most definitely up, finally McGugan delivered a great corner which found Chambers at the near post, he headed it across the goal and it went in off the far post to an erupting City Ground.
We thought it was going to be three too, Tyson won the ball on the right and passed to an unmarked Garner whose early shot was curling beautifully inside the near post – Grant did very well to get a strong hand to it and concede a corner. It was a tense finish with the visitors piling on pressure – but Forest brought on Moloney and shored up, and whilst it was nerve-wracking, held strong and got another well earned three points. A cracking way to spend an evening!
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