Step one to survival taken, two and three to go!

Nottingham Forest – 1
Coventry City – 0

Most definitely a game of two halves, albeit one which I think Forest earned their three points.  A crossbar struck in the first half, a goal in the second half, a decent save by their ‘keeper too.  I don’t think Paul Smith had much at all of note to be doing at our end of the pitch.  With Southampton losing and Barnsley drawing, this was a cracking three points.

Forest lined up with Smith in goal, Chambers and Wes at centreback, Perch at left back and Gunter at right back.  Cohen, Osbourne, McGugan and Anderson should’ve made up midfield, but Garner appeared to be playing out on the left wing, leaving Blackstock somewhat a lone striker in the first half.

The game started with Coventry pressing us, but not really creating a great deal – indeed, the first twenty minutes were eminently forgettable – this landmark was greeted by the extreme excitement of Clinton Morrison shotting pretty much straight at Paul Smith who gathered without any drama.

Forest’s first decent chance followed, a corner whipped in by Lewis McGugan was well met by the head of Luke Chambers, only to return back into play courtesy of the crossbar.  It fell for Osbourne, albeit not exactly kindly, and the midfielder was only able to direct the ball out for a goal kick to Coventry.

A freekick from the edge of the box had us worrying over the possibility of an Eastwood strike, fortunately Fox opted to spanner it into the Trent End much to our relief and amusement, the visitors then spurned their best chance of the game – good work by Morrison found Eastwood and a teammate unattended at the back post, but the former Southend man put it wide.

The half ended with another Fox freekick into the wall this time, and really left us feeling rather frustrated.  The popular verdict was that it had been ‘crap’ and that there hadn’t really been the sense of urgency our league situation demands.  From listening to Perchy’s interview post-match it would seem Billy’s half time team talk was along the same lines!

The second half saw Anderson – apparently suffering with an ankle injury – replaced with McCleary.  Garath was immediately involved down the right hand side taking on his man, and indeed, it wasn’t long before we’d scored – McGugan sent a ball across from the right to Blackstock, who held the ball superbly before releasing it to the onrushing Perch who slotted the ball calmly into the bottom corner of the net.

This seemed to settle Forest, and whilst the second half wasn’t exactly a rip-roaring encounter, it seemed more comfortable.  The only other chance of note crafted by either side was created and taken by Cohen, who won the ball in the middle and unleashed a shot which looked like it took a deflection before requiring an impressive save by Westwood.

The only other chance of note was a goalmouth scramble from a Cohen corner – Garner backheeled to Osbourne whose shot struck Blackstock to go wide for a goalkick.  Then came ‘the scary substitution’ – McGugan off, Perch into Midfield, Gunter to left back, Chambers to right back, Breckin on as centre back.

Too many chances, Billy – it scared us!  Fortunately Coventry really weren’t all that interested in contesting this game properly so it didn’t backfire, but with a good 5-10 minutes left we were blatantly attempting to keep the ball in the corners, bringing everyone back.  I know we need the win at all costs, but it’s not good for my nerves!

With Barnsley picking up only a point, and Southampton losing, things bode well today elsewhere for us too.  Tomorrow is the ‘old farm’ derby between Ipswich and Norwich, where we will of course be rooting for the blues to put a dent in their rivals’ survival hopes.  We could also use today’s opponents Coventry doing us a favour by beating Barnsley on Tuesday.