Nottingham Forest – 2
Plymouth Argyle – 0
I don’t have masses of time, so this might be short but sweet – and sweet it certainly is to have picked up our third straight league win, lift ourselves to 18th in the league table and – game in hand not withstanding – elevate ourselves above the Sheep who were felled by QPR today in that non-league bloke’s first game in charge. Certainly sets the stage for friday, I am struggling to contain my excitement.
Forest bigged up Billy Davies who arrived on the pitch to a great ovation from the crowd, who had restored Cohen to midfield at the expense of the injured Thornhill, bringing in Kelvin Wilson to play at left back who had recovered from the illness which apparently kept him out of contention to face Charlton in the last league game.
Cohen rapidly stood out in a brilliant midfield showing – putting in challenges and making up his customary several miles per game. He sent Lewis on his way who teed up Nathan Tyson, but unfortunately the delivery was a shade late and he had strayed offside. Certainly the slightly late delivery of a final ball was something we’d see quite often over the course of the game.
The lead game from a freekick, Earnshaw had been fouled but continued his run – when no advantage transpired the referee brought play back and gave a freekick right on the touchline about 10-15 yards from the corner. Lewis put a dangerous delivery into the box and Earnie was in the right place to stick out a foot to put it into the net and give the Reds the lead.
It could’ve been two when Perch cushioned a header forward to Tyson, but he hit the ball just over. Another chance fell to McGugan from a freekick, from 25 yards he put it narrowly over into the leering yokels from Plymouth (who did provide much amusement during the game). As the half drew on Forest looked increasingly comfortable and it was nice to hear minimal negativity from the home fans (of course, there’s always one or two!).
Plymouth did look to have scored after a ball was lofted into the box from the right, Smith came and missed the ball – but fortunately for us (and it was difficult for me to tell), the referee gave a foul on him which allowed us to clear the pressure. It was probably the only meaningful danger that the visitors had posed so far in the game.
Earnie was unlucky not to get his second after Lewis McGugan had done really well to keep the ball in play on the right, passing well to Earnie’s six-yard box run. Earnshaw looked to have exploited Larrieu’s guess – but the keeper did excellently to block it considering he was heading in the wrong direction. Which brought us to half time in a cautiously optimistic frame of mind, immeasurably improved by news of Derby being two down against QPR.
Early in the second half there was some danger when former-Reds loanee Yoann Folly crossed to the diving-bastard Fallon, whose diving header merely hit the sidenetting – which was a shame for those fans unfortunately angled who celebrated a goal for a chunk of time. Unlucky, lads.
Forest had weathered this early pressure and hit the visitors on the counter, Tyson and Cohen had a spell of interplay which saw the ball rather fortunately ricochet to Paul Anderson who struck the ball, blatantly off target I thought, but it deflected rather cruelly and into the net to give Forest a 2-0 lead which I don’t think was unbefitting their performance.
The referee was adding to his growing unpopularity, every time a Plymouth player fell over (and it happened a lot, particularly Fallon) he gave a foul, and oddly elected to ignore Wes’s ability to run through three or four Plymouth challenges down the left and gave a foul instead. A pretty incompetent referee showing I thought.
Mackie made Chambers look uncomfortable, but fortunately when Plymouth did manage to get crosses in they weren’t able to make best use of them. Forest still looked dangerous on the counter and McGugan found Earnie who put the ball just over with Larrieu totally unmoved. Wes Morgan again was brought down on one of his crazy runs, earning Mpenza a deserved booking.
The visitors did start to push forward, but lacked cohesion and Forest worked hard to break them down and hit them on the counter. Cohen sent Anderson clear during one of these, and the loanee winger brought a fantastic save from Larrieu, the rebound falling awkwardly for Tyson who couldn’t quite make the best of it and in no time a defender was back to tidy up.
Earnie was withdrawn for Garner, he didn’t look happy about it – and interesting there was no interaction between him and Davies as Earnie headed straight to the bench to get some layers on. Plymouth somehow didn’t score when Seip was unmarked and headed the ball against the underside of the crossbar, with it somehow ending up out for a goalkick much to the relief of the home supporters!
McGugan and Cohen combined to tee up a chance for Tyson, but unfortunately the offside flag was up to prevent the chance. The game ended on a low when Duguid completely took out Tyson down by the corner flag – it looked all ends up a professional foul to me, but it only yielded a booking – and one for Tyson for dissent too. A poor and gutless performance by referee Stroud all round.
But a great and deserved result, a well deserved man of the match award for Wes Morgan, and I think I might just pop down the pub now and have a beer or two! You Reds!