Last gap win for Reds takes us out the bottom three..

Not amongst the goals, but Cohens grafting today kept Forest going..

Not amongst the goals, but Cohen's grafting today kept Forest going..

Nottingham Forest – 3
Bristol City – 2

I had been bemoaning my general malaise with all things Forest, but there’s nothing quite like a last minute winner to restore a bit of faith and make you remember what it’s all about, whilst today’s game was in no way a classic, the result has taken us out of the drop zone at the expense of Norwich, and hopefully given the lads a bit of confidence that on their day they can compete with teams in this league.

The headlines or reports probably won’t do this strange game justice.  It was mostly rubbish, in honesty.  Despite this, Forest fashioned more than enough chances to snag the three points, but thanks to wasteful finishing and some charitable ‘goalkeeping’ it took a fairly epic injury time comeback scenario to snag the points we so desperately needed – and I think deserved, despite there being plenty in this game to not be exactly thrilled about.

Forest lined up with Turner in goal, Gunter, Morgan Wilson and Lynch in defence, Anderson, Moussi, Perch and Cohen across midfield, and Blackstock and Earnshaw up front.  And we attacked from the off, notching a shot on target inside the first minute – albeit a fairly tame one from the edge of the box by Cohen which was fairly routine for Basso to gather comfortably.

We could and should have had the lead a minute or two later – a freekick was awarded deep on the left hand side – Cohen swung the ball in to an unmarked Blackstock who contrived to head wide with the whole goal gaping at him.  City looked dangerous on the break, McIndoe was teed up with a good chance by Skuse but wasn’t able to hit the target, Iain Turner nonchalantly able to let the ball go for a goal kick.

He was less nonchalant for the first City goal – challenging unnecessarily with Maynard (although just because the defence should’ve dealt with it doesn’t necessarily mean they would have, in Turner’s defence) and losing the ball which fell to Sproule to scramble over the line for the easiest goal he’ll probably ever score.  Turner had treatment for injury, but I fear all that was really damaged was his pride.

Forest did have a period of pressure but never seemed prepared to either take a shot or play the final through-ball or cross, so after a frustrating period of this it was City who fashioned the next chance – McCombe attempted what looked like a goalbound header, with Turner somewhat stranded on his near post he did extremely well to dive across and make the save, making amends somewhat for the more questionable goalkeeping for the goal.

The equaliser came for Earnshaw just after half an hour, Blackstock did well to chest down and slot a throughball to Earnie, who used strength belying his stature to hold off McCombe before slotting the ball under Basso who got a touch but not enough to prevent it going in.  There was no flip to celebrate, and Earnie was straight to the bench and looked to be taping himself up – so I imagine he picked up a knock in the exchange with McCombe.

We nearly snagged the lead straight after too, good work by Gunter saw him take on a couple of Bristol City defenders before unleashing a powerful curling shot across the goal – but unfortunately it wasn’t curling enough and ended up just wide.  That was the last of the significant action of the half, most of the game was scrappy with poor passing from both teams – eventually the referee called the half to a close with the scores level.

Forest again looked sure to score moments into the first half, Cohen whipped a dangerous freekick into the near post which evaded Basso, but Lynch couldn’t quite get a decisive touch on it so it ended up wide.  Anderson came close with an effort from range which was wide and rising too, and things were looking quite positive for Forest – although still vulnerable to breaks from the visiting side.

Turner came racing out of his box to challenge for a ball Lynch was also going for – I’m not sure without seeing a replay whether to call him ‘Calamity’ would be fair or not, but the ball broke for Sproule who really should’ve made sure he converted, but his placed shot didn’t have enough pace on it to prevent Kelvin from getting back and clearing off the line with Turner in no-man’s land.

McCleary was introduced for the ineffective Moussi, and he was immediately involved in attacking play – first bursting forward and straight into a City defender, and shortly after shooting from an acute angle when a cross looked the better option.  City had a spell attacking and Turner’s ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ performance saw the loan man make a good save with his leg at his near post from Gavin Williams.

Unfortunately, Mr Hyde was hot on his heels – because after this Turner came racing off his line for no apparent reason, leaving Dele Adebola (who, on this performance, I wish we had managed to sign) an empty goal to head into after being picked out by McAllister.  A frustrating afternoon at this point, as we’d created chances we’d not taken, and let in two stupid goals – naturally we were feeling a bit grumpy!

Garner came on for Earnie before the goal, and McGugan came on for Perch just after – and those two combined to get the equaliser.  Play had stopped for Basso to timewaste get treatment for cramp, and Gunter threw the ball back to McAllister, after a pause he then charged McAllister down – winning back possession.  McAllister took exception to this hauled Gunter to the deck.  Eventually ending up with a red card (he’d already been booked).

The freekick was taken by McGugan, and at the near post it met the head of fellow substitute Joe Garner and from there travelled decisively into the net to put Forest back on level terms.  With an extra man advantage, Forest were starting to play a bit more and McCleary did well to find Blackstock whose forward run was blocked off by Orr to give Forest a corner.  Another good effort from Garner at a stretch was well placed for Basso to gather.

Forest finally took the lead in the last minute – the game running well over normal time due to a late kick off and, ironically, no small degree of time wasting by the visitors.  Blackstock initially nodded the ball forward, the clearance was returned to him and he unleashed an absolute thunderbolt into the Trent End goal to make the City Ground erupt, and to give us the lead for the first time in the game.  He was then booked for celebrating!

Stoppage time was tense, Forest played probably their best passing football of the game in this period but a couple of times opted to take it to the corners rather than go for a final goal – which didn’t exactly work amazingly and did give City in roads to attack us again.  The final whistle was greeted with cheers, which magnified when news of Norwich’s defeat was later relayed to the crowd.

A well earned and I think deserved victory – certainly neither side produced consistently good football, but I do think Forest created more chances (admittedly doing very badly with many of them!!).  And my god did we need three points.  Faith is somewhat restored, operation ‘get points in home games’ is going well, a point or more at Bramall Lane on Monday would be a nice Brucey bonus.

Well done to Billy and the boys – a great fightback.  Man of the match goes to Cohen for me, tirelessly worked throughout the game – whilst not directly involved in the goals, he was – not unusually – our ‘Mr Consistent’.

Silence is easy..

I don’t seem to be feeling particularly motivated to write on here as much as I once did, it does seem like absolutely ages since there’s been a game to report on, aside from anything else!  Of course, we’re mere hours from welcoming Bristol City to the City Ground, a game which will probably see us underdogs – and one where we could really use – well – three points ideally.

Recent results have been kind to us elsewhere, relegation rivals haven’t picked up much by way of points – which doesn’t exactly change our predicament, as we are in a position where we do need to pick up points regardless – but it does prevent as large a gap opening above us, and gives some insulation beneath as Southampton lost against Wolves earlier today – giving us a game in hand against them and still a  point ahead (assuming the Football League don’t take more points from them).

Some of our loanees have been in the headlines too, Sousa has been sacked by QPR after announcing he knew nothing of Dexter Blackstock’s loan move to us, and Gary McSheffrey was sent back to Birmingham after picking up an injury – only to be sent back to us to honour his loan agreement.  That’s a pretty clear indication of how much the West Midlanders want to make the lad feel welcome, isn’t it?

I do have a bit of excitement at a visit to the City Ground after what seems like absolutely ages – local media reports suggest our injury woes are starting to subside – and with a bit of time out for preparations hopefully Billy has had a chance to embed a winning mentality and some winning tactics with the lads – because really, regardless of our opponents, we need to pick up three points out of the next two games to have a credible chance of survival.

The other exciting thing is that I’ve finally been published, albeit perhaps not in the way you might be thinking – here is the book, and should you have it and flick to page 98 you’d find an excerpt from this very site from back in May 2008.  I’d never thought I’d be cited as an example of Internet Marketing – so with that in mind, if people want to give me money, then get in touch – I can’t help but think I’m missing an opportunity here!

It’s nice to think one’s personality can attract repeat visitors, though!  Perhaps I need to get my arse into gear and write a little more frequently should I want this phenomena to continue!

Last, but definitely not least, I was shocked to hear news that Reds former-player and current coach Eoin Jess suffered a stroke recently – naturally my very best wishes are extended to him and his family and friends, I have my fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.  Early indications are good on the ‘severity scale’ – which is good news.