Ten man Reds scrap for a precious point..

Despite Kelvins foolishness, Forest hold on for a point..

Sheffield United – 0
Nottingham Forest – 0

We’re back in the bottom three, thanks to Norwich beating Watford – however, hands up who thought we’d pick up four points against Bristol City and Sheffield United over Easter?  I didn’t.  So perversely I’m actually pretty happy with things – which still leaves us with plenty to do over our remaining three games, but certainly not down and out despite the drop to 22nd.

Davies had big changes enforced on him, Calamity Turner broke his toe at the weekend so was replaced by Paul Smith, Lynch was missing for reasons unreported – and was replaced by Wilson, his place in the middle taken by Breckin.  Chambers came in at right back, pushing Gunter forward to the right wing.  Osbourne and Perch were in the middle, with Cohen on the left.  Blackstock and Garner were up front, with Earnshaw out with an injured knee.

Initial prognosis not good – lots of changes are a source of worry, and the side looked like it had a defensive shape to it.  And it wasn’t to get much better – after just fifteen minutes there was a confrontation between Wilson and Halford, which left the Blades man writhing on the floor in supposed agony, earning the Forest defender a red card.  The incident apparently wasn’t caught on camera – it’s likely to be the last we see of Wilson this season as I can’t imagine Forest will appeal the red card.

Forest had the flexibility to shuffle the deck to line up in a four-four-one formation with Gunter stepping back into defence, and Garner playing on the right wing with Dexter up front on his own.  Understandably Forest’s chances were pretty limited – one effort of note coming from Gunter whose medium range shot wasn’t difficult for Kenny to deal with.

The Reds did a good job at frustrating the hosts, limiting their opportunities whilst not creating masses going forward – although a rather splendid Cohen cross did give us a corner.  Paul Smith – restored to goal following Turner’s injury – pulled a point blank save out the bag near the end of the half, although Forest did have time to break, with Blackstock bringing a routine save from Kenny and then Cohen received a booking for taking too long over a corner from a very home-biased referee.

The second half began with Forest putting in a series of challenges, and another cheap booking for Wes Morgan from the increasingly irritating referee.  Davies shuffled the deck quite early, withdrawing Blackstock for Anderson.  Smith was on hand to deal well with a ball into the box (surely not?!) before Henderson was able to get the ball towards goal.

On a rare foray forward Gunter did well to get into the box, the ball eventually falling quite kindly for Garner who unfortunately was only able to shoot over.  This was to be his last action as he was withdrawn for McCleary, and shortly after wasting further time by withdrawing Cohen for McGugan – barely concealing the time it took for them to make the change.

Halford had an effort from range, straight at Smith.  Sheffield United’s many corners were also well dealt with by the Forest ‘keeper.  With five minutes of stoppage time it was always going to be tense, with Forest shrinking back to absorb pressure.  Osbourne was able to deflect a Hendrie effort over, Lewis did well to win a freekick at the other end but then wasted the freekick itself, shooting over.

Probably the Blades’ best chance fell to Beattie at the death – but from the edge of the area the striker shot over.  Before the end there was more work for Smith to do in making a save in the sixth minute of stoppage time – but Forest held firm for the point leading to celebrations from fans and Billy Davies alike.

Dropping back into the bottom three is never a good thing, but this is a great point – well done Reds.  I am disappointed with Wilson, whilst I suspect his ‘crime’ was reacted to in theatrical style by Halford, he shouldn’t have even feigned to headbutt an opponent.  Norwich’s 2-0 victory over Watford is a bit of a fly in the ointment, and Southampton’s win over Palace keeps some pressure from beneath also.

However, hopefully we are in confident shape to move forward – Billy Davies’ decision to not risk any injury doubts is looking a very wise move having snagged a point that, if we are being honest, the pessimists amongst us weren’t expecting even without the handicap of playing more than 75 minutes with only ten men.  This could be an important point one, so well done lads, and well done Billy.