Patience pays off for Reds..

Nottingham Forest – 2
Scunthorpe United – 0

Patience was in abundance from fans and players alike tonight, and Forest needed it to break down a bullish Scunthorpe side intent on holding on to a point.  An element of luck was ours too, because whilst one would never wish injury on an opponent, the substitution of Iron goalkeeper Joe Murphy was a big moment for us – as he’d been playing a blinder!

All in all, a thoroughly deserved win by the tenacious-but-still-a-bit-wasteful Reds – and welcome respite for those of you who couldn’t help but gloat too early to the Derby fans you know.  i decided to wait ’til tomorrow – and I shall enjoy myself now!  Anyway, back on tonight, a few changes by Billy to the side that beat Plymouth at the weekend:

Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Cohen
Garner    McKenna    Majewski   Anderson
Blackstock    Tyson

Sort of, anyway.  Garner, Anderson and Tyson were all over the place for much of the time!  The Reds immediately started on the offensive and a sequence of three corners saw two good ones – followed by the inevitable poor one, but a good statement of intent early doors.  The first goalbound effort was a weak header from range by Garner from a Gunter cross.

I thought was had scored when Cohen put a fantastic ball into the box from a freekick, Chambers met it powerfully with his head but Murphy was equal to it in the Scunthorpe goal, making an excellent reaction save which prompted a scramble which eventually saw the goal safe.  Dex had a chance in the air too but put it just wide after beating Murphy to Tyson’s cross.  Dex again latched onto a throughball from Raddy, but the finish was disappointingly weak.

The visitors had the odd foray forward too, though – Togwell brought the ball forward and set up Hayes who really should have hit the target despite the tightness of angle.  Former-Forest target Rob Jones was threatening in the box too, but Wes was on hand to sort out the danger for a corner.  At ‘the right end’ another good corner from Raddy was met by Anderson who powerfully headed.. wide.  I was convinced it was in at the time!

Murphy put his first foot wrong shortly after, handling the ball outside the box for which he was rightly booked.  He was lucky the referee didn’t take exception to the ball-throwing-away immediately after, nor the refusal to approach the referee to receive the yellow card, and the volley of verbal abuse.  The resulting freekick ended up with a goal kick to them.

Half time was a broadly positive mood – Forest helped this by including the Cardiff vs. Derby game on the half time scores which raised a cheer.  The general concensus was that we were dominating and unlucky not to be winning – of course, the problem with that is we’ve said that before more than once this season!  Even a Scunthorpe fan my season ticket neighbour knows concurred with this view via text message.

The second half saw McGoldrick on in place of Joe Garner.  Almost immediately (it seemed) Tyson had burst between two defenders but Murphy was equal to his shot and gathered the ball.  His save of the game came shortly after when a poor clearance was pounced on by Gunter from close range – but somehow he made the save when it looked a certain goal.

His last action was to save at Tyson’s feet, then collide with Blackstock.  Amidst suspicions of timewasting he was actually substituted – although the time taken to get off the pitch and get his replacement on did somewhat take the piss.  The much smaller Josh Lillis eventually took the field and McGoldrick threw the ball out for a goal kick.

The Reds upped the pressure and the fans upped their backing – well done folks – and eventually the desperate blocks and saves of the visitors was broken.  Cohen took a corner (another good corner!) which found Luke Chambers who rose at the near post to head the ball into the roof of the Trent End net and cause the City Ground to erupt into a combination of relief and celebration!

Majewski’s last action of the game was to play Tyson through who did everything right until his shot.  The young Pole had faded somewhat in the second half so was withdrawn by Billy to be replaced by Guy Moussi presumably to add a bit of muscle to the midfield battle.  Raddy received a great reception from the Reds fans.

And then it was two.  Anderson worked hard to chase the ball down, it looked like he’d taken it too wide to evade the Scunthorpe defence but he drilled an excellent cross right across the six yard box where Dex was on hand to slot the ball home from close range to give the Reds a cushion with around a quarter of an hour left on the clock.

Whilst they didn’t offer much, Scunthorpe did have one excellent chance to pull a goal back – Jonathan Forte beat Morgan unusually.  Camp got a bit lucky as he ran out an got a touch on the shot, looping over him and off the post and back into his arms – bit of a let off, but all’s well that ends well!  Camp, it should also be noted, picked up a silly booking for grabbing the ball when he’d conceded a throw and running back to his area with it.

The Reds continued to press forward though, McGoldrick had a shot goalward but a deflection took it Dex-ward.  The Reds striker got his head to to it and sent it goalward, but unfortunately to the bit that Lillis was standing in!  Whilst six minutes of added time might sometimes cause a degree of consternation – by this stage it was clear that Scunthorpe had pretty much given up so the clock wound down and the Reds triumphed.

This puts us up to the lofty heights of fourteenth in the Championship table – just three points away from the playoff places – and six points away from the relegation zone.  I still think it’s too early to worry too much about league tables (take heart, Derby fans!), but well, we can’t help ourselves sometimes, can we?