Rotherham United – 1
Nottingham Forest – 1
Forest started with the expected lineup, the same team as the Yeading game aside from Perch returning in place of Gary Holt. A strong bench featuring both Holts, Tyson, Lester and Pedersen giving plenty of attacking options. Rotherham started with former Reds midfielder Eugen Bopp in the middle, and with Wee Gregor Robertson on the bench, having recently come back from injury. Rotherham started the game positively, and had the bulk of possession and territory, as we’ve seen before with Forest away.
It took about thirteen minutes for Forest to explode with a great left-footed volleyed effort by Sammy Clingan – Cutler, Rotherham’s man mountain of a goalkeeper, did well to stop it, and Commons couldn’t quite get on the rebound. Shortly after this excitement, news started filtering through that Bristol City were losing, and – more bizarrely – the United of Sheffield were beating their Manchester counterparts. Commons had a shot just wide, but the game was starting to slow and get scrappy.
A dodgy backpass by Hurst nearly let Harris in too, but Cutler again was quick to respond and clear safely. Big appeals for handball game for an innocuous moment from Southall, really t’was just a corner, which was whipped in which came close – saved by Smith, Facey’s effort with the rebound was cleared off the line – the Millers fans went a bit mental thinking Southall did it with his arm (again). The ref gave another corner, which was hit to the edge of the box and was duly blazed over.
After around half an hour an Agogo turn and effort yielded a Forest corner, giving Commons a rare touch of the ball – after a botched clearance Agogo appeared to almost put the ball away, but alas from an offside position. As he did so news was both Brizzle and ManUre had equalised. Curtis seemed to have finally got hold of Partridge, who had been Rotherham’s main source of danger in the first half hour, and whilst Rotherham remained dominant it did seem to take the edge from their possession.
The first notable Bopp action was a shot from a quickly taken freekick – Paul Smith tipped it over, before the referee bizarrely ordered it retaken – which caused some momentary bedlam in the box before being cleared. Forest very much looking resigned to counterattacking, which they did here – alas Commons’ cross was a tad late and whilst Harris headed against the post he was offside. Shortly after a Bopp left-footed long ranger missed by some distance.
The Rotherham fans were a tad odd – booing Nicky Southall when he appeared to fall and land on his head/upper back from a great height, after he was treated Neil Harris kicked the ball back to Rotherham (for a goal kick), and got booed for that as well – strange characters, still, they probably don’t get out much! The game seemed to take rather an ugly twist – Harris and ex-Sheepshagger Mills had some handbags – it looked like Mills struck Harris who squared up to him – needless to say the referee missed it.
Half time came with some relief – the shenanigans previously had rather taken the pace from the game. The game was fast-paced, and Rotherham certainly had the best of it – but there were only really two clear chances – one for each side, so for all Rotherham’s possession it wasn’t being converted to chances – Forest were looking very much to hit them on the break, so given the attacking options on the bench, it promised to be a very interesting second half.
The most notable thing at the start of the second half was a poor challenge by Southall on Bopp, who could’ve stayed on his feet but opted to fall, but it probably did warrant a booking – which he got. Shortly after this Perch sent Commons through down the inside left channel, but couldn’t beat Neil Cutler’s legs – certainly you’d fancy him to have done better given his recent form – but fair play to the Millers keeper who reacted quickly and closed down Commons.
Forest now started to get a bit more possession and kept the ball in the Rotherham half, which in turn started to get the fans back on the duty of chanting for the team, and not responding to miners strike related jibes from the simpler of the Millers fans. Oddly Agogo was penalised for being a climbing frame for Pablo Mills – and the game was rather starting to calm down a bit, although Forest certainly had their tails up more so than during the first half. We did seem to have some difficulty in mastering the art of staying onside.
The breakthrough for Rotherham came from Will Hoskins, who chested the ball down brilliantly in the right channel before blasting the ball beyond the helpless Paul Smith – a great finish from the Millers prolific striker. Immediately after, Forest – who had been planning the change already – brought on Nathan Tyson for Neil Harris – so no pressure on Nathan, eh? The goal gave Rotherham some real impetus and almost immediately they had a corner – the game was starting to look a real test for Forest.
A Perch cross/shot from range was pretty far from the target, but it seemed to go right through the area and Tyson was certainly close to getting on the end of it. Shortly after Tyson tried to knock a quickly taken freekick to Agogo, but as we’d seen previously, the Millers keeper was quick to see this and intercept, but gradually I was starting to fear that the game was somewhat beyond Forest’s capability to get anything from – particularly when Tyson absolutely scythed down a Millers player – the resulting freekick was cleared and Bopp nearly made us pay by volleyed wide.
Shortly after this, Bopp seemed to take a dive over Sammy Clingan – springing up like nothing happened once the referee blindly booked Sammy – shame to see that kind of gamesmanship – perhaps an insight into the character of the German midfielder, and why we might not necessarily want him in our side. A minute later and Bopp again came close, and was blocked bravely – Rotherham were coming on strong now and turning the screw on Forest – the brief good spell we had had was looking somewhat distant.
Rotherham fans’ obsession with handballs reared its head again, with Cullip this time the apparent offender. Sammy Clingan drove forward but just didn’t release the ball early enough, it looked like he could’ve sent Nathan Tyson through. Junior Agogo seemed to be giving away freekicks for breathing, and to compound our irritation, Bristol City at this point had taken a 2-1 lead elsewhere. Forest’s attacking endeavours now were rather restricted to hopeful punts upfield. Danny Cullip had a rather rash challenge on Bopp, who this time perhaps actually was fouled despite his earlier diving antics – fortunately escaped the second booking, and the quickly taken shot from Hoskins was very well saved by Paul Smith.
Wes Morgan seemed to start doing that weird midfielder thing again – with little end product, it has to be said, but it is usually quite entertaining. Tyson and Agogo looked fairly lively, but in all honesty never seemed to trouble the Rotherham back line dramatically – with around 12 minutes left Forest started to enjoy more possession, but Rotherham did very well to stop the final ball or cross from reaching the box. Commons tried his luck after chesting it down, but put it over – not spotting Agogo in space just to his left unfortunately.
Hoskins again came close after a great ball from Bopp – Smith saved fantastically, and after a scare on the rebound Hoskins gave it to Facey who spooned it into the air, which spared some blushes, that’s for sure! Forest doubled their problems, not only huffing and puffing to win the ball, but also making hard work of keeping it too – partially down to excellent hassling from the Rotherham midfield and defence. Agogo managed to beat three of them and find Southall, who couldn’t shrug off the attentions of Woods.
With around eight minutes left Smoulderwood sent on perpetual-rumour-victim Grant Holt, in an attempt to try to give us a more effective dimension. Forest started to play more effectively – but still didn’t seem to be able to put Rotherham under any kind of sustained pressure at all. Just as I was losing faith, seemingly out of nowhere – with four minutes to go- Agogo flicked on a long ball to Tyson, who duly stuck it in the onion bag to give us a very fortunate equaliser, and his first goal of the season – Forest fans spilled onto the pitch to celebrate with Tyson until the intimidating sight of Cullip sent them back.
A couple of minutes later Forest almost had an identical chance which Tyson almost converted but for a great save from Cutler after a flick from Grant Holt, which would have been lovely – but well, a tad undeserved. Forest looked well up for it from then, Curtis almost sent Commons through who tackled in the end – but Rotherham weren’t finished either, Woods played what looked like a perfect ball for Hoskins who somehow missed it completely. Cutler, Woods and Hoskins would all be with a great shout for man of the match.
It was well into stoppage time and a Commons freekick for Forest was floated in but cleared, Rotherham at this point had gone all out defence, eventually Holt got the cross in but Breckin headed pretty much straight at Cutler, and the game was pretty much over as the whistle went after Cutlers clearance. Rough justice for Rotherham, perhaps, but a fantastic result for us – and great news for Nathan Tyson, back playing early, and back on the scoresheet – sure the winning run is over, but we’re still unbeaten in a while – and a draw away at one of the best form teams in the league is no shame at all!
Plus by visiting a friend who lives a few minutes from the ground, it’s given me a great opportunity to be smug with him now we’re reunited from the respective ends of the ground, and he’s graciously given me use of his computer to type up my match notes before we go out for a few beers. Apologies for the length of the report, but we’re six points clear, and avin’ a laugh!
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