Forest claim first away points at Crystal Palace!

Crystal Palace – 1
Nottingham Forest – 2

We’ve only gone and bleeding well won a game!  Sod’s law for me, I didn’t even get to listen to it as I’ve been out of Radio Nottingham range, and without Internet until now; so it’s been a rather tense evening of old skool updates by occasionally checking teletext to see how we were getting on.  It seems we had indeed reached rock bottom, and now could we have started to spring our way back from the depths of despair?

Fingers crossed!

Smoulds make a few forced changes, Breckin came in for the injured Wilson, Chambers for Fletcher (who couldn’t play as part of his loan agreement), with Perch moving into midfield and Chambers slotting in at right back.  McGugan, Cohen and McCleary completed the midfield, with Earnshaw and Garner starting up front together.  Paul Smith being on the bench quashes rumours he’s walked out – Cole’s lack of appearance perhaps adds fuel to the fire that he has!

So from what I’ve gleaned from reports and a couple of pals who did make the trip down to Selhurst is that Forest dominated early; something we’ve seen in our last few games, Earnshaw bringing early saves from Speroni, as well as going to ground under a challenge in the area.  However, unlike recent games, Forest actually took the lead – Chris Cohen lofting a freekick into the box that Brecks tried to get on the end of, it appeared to just go in directly.

Palace came back at us; but other chances were created, Perch almost putting Earnshaw through – but Speroni quick to react.  Lynch too did well to get his head on the ball to head across the six yard box, unfortunately no Forest players were gambling to convert the chance.  In stoppage time Chambers did well to clear a Butterfield cross after McGugan had given the ball away, allowing him to burst forward.

Second half saw Forest attacking again – McClearly on the left crossing to Cohen who forced a corner.  Half-time substitute Kuqi appeared to hold Lynch at bay whilst Ifill shot, Wes put a block in.  Lewis too was on hand to make a critical interception and pass the ball to safety as Palace started to come more into the game.  Camp having a little more to do than he’s been accustomed, including a smart save down to his right as the ball came through a crowd of bodies leaving him unsighted ’til the last minute.

Tyson replaced a tired Earnshaw with an hour on the clock to join Garner up front, and quickly involved himself with a couple of low balls into the penalty area.  Around ten minutes later Garner too was withdrawn for Matty Thornhill.  Almost instantly Palace equalised, Kuqi – our tormentor at the City Ground – chested down a long ball around 25 yards out, and promptly spannered it beyond Camp and into the goal.  Not the kind of goal you associate with him, much like his deft lob at the City Ground!

Forest didn’t collapse though, as is customary – they responded very positively through McCleary and Tyson.  Eventually this positivity payed off, Chris Cohen managed to get a toe on the ball to put Perch through one-on-one with Speroni, the ‘keeper saved his effort from six yards, but he failed to keep hold of it leaving Thornhill to react quickest and slide in to put the ball in the goal.

Davies was introduced for McCleary and almost scored immediately, Speroni saving at the second attempt, before Palace piled on the pressure.  This was relieved when Forest broke and McGugan again made Speroni work to save from the edge of the area – but we held on, we got the three points and there was, to coin a phrase, much rejoicing!  An invaluable three points for the Reds, and a result that takes us off the bottom of the table – albeit still six points from safety.

An invaluable platform upon which to build our preparations for the really rather important game coming up on Sunday.  Our neighbours also prepared well by beating Norwich by three goals to one at Pride Park this evening, but certainly our first away win – nay, our first away points of the season will certainly work wonders to instill some confidence and hopefully some patience amongst some of our supporters (self included at times).

I’m not getting too carried away just yet; particularly with not seeing the game – but it’s nice to put one over Warnock at least after the shameful cheating antics his side were up to at the City Ground not that long ago.