Well, we know one thing – we’re NOT going down!

Who's the Daddy?

Nottingham Forest – 1
Peterborough United – 0

With the upward gazing we’ve been doing we passed a landmark unnoticed by many yesterday, that is that mathematically we can’t be relegated.  Given my own aspirations at the start of this season (that were clearly modest!) that’s good going!  With the Baggies also picking up a win it means we’ve made no ground on second place, but have probably maintained a solid case for a playoff finish.

Basement dwellers Peterborough came to the City Ground without George Boyd, and without much luck of late – and so that run of bad luck was to continue, which enabled our run of straight league wins at home stretching to a magnificent eleven.  There’s the opportunity to stretch this to twelve on Tuesday with the visit of Paul Hart’s Crystal Palace.

Anyway, Billy went for a positive line-up – and the teams were lead out by Andrew Harrison and Mark Armstrong as part of awareness of the charity Help for Heroes.  According to the programme they’ll be walking Hadrian’s Wall before the Newcastle game to raise money both for the charity, and also for the memorial in Clifton being erected in memory of Kieron Hill (and other fallen heroes of course).  If you’d like to sponsor them, you can click here.

Back to the team though, it looked a little something like this:

Gunter    Morgan    Wilson    Perch
Cohen    Moussi    Majewski    Anderson
Earnshaw    Blackstock

The visitors were pretty defensive in outlook at the start, and Forest struggled to break down the strugglers.  The weather was pretty inhospitable with rain pouring down which had caused a few misplaced passes thanks to the newly slippy pitch.  However, just as we feared the game was going to be one of those where we struggle to break down dogged opponents quick to close us down, we managed to nick a goal.

It was a nice move too.  Gunts brought the ball down the right and crossed to the back stick where Anderson volleyed the ball to find Earnie lurking in the six yard box to tuck the ball away.  Earnie duly celebrated – and since he’s just become a father for the first time I can’t imagine a better way for him to mark the occasion.  So big congratulations to Earnie and his good lady!

Shortly after it could’ve been two – a nice throughball from Raddy found Earnie in the box, the angle was tough and Joe Lewis did well to make the save.  He did, however, parry it back into play finding Ando, whose resulting shot was on target but was blocked in the area by Posh defender Mark Little, gaining Forest a corner rather than the second goal we all craved to try to make the game feel a little more secure.

Perchy was withdrawn for Chambers at left back with around 20 minutes on the clock, clearly the injections he’s been playing through are insufficient to deal with his injury.  That’s bad news as whilst he’s oft maligned Perch has been doing well lately (obviously I’d still prefer us to sign a left back on loan, any reading acquisition panel members!)

Peterborough started to get more into the game now, and whilst their fans weren’t noisy they were numerous and they started to be roused by their team’s progression.  The industrious Mackail-Smith had an effort from an angle which Camp was forced to parry, shortly after Lee tried a rather ambitious 25 yard shot which was straight at the Forest ‘keeper.  Moments later an unmarked Rowe perhaps will be kicking himself for not converting, with Camp making a good save.

The Reds did have their moments though, and an excellent cross from Chambers was met well by Blackstock – unfortunately the striker could only direct his header straight at Lewis.   Another good cross this time from the Moose found Anderson but he wasn’t able to direct the ball past the Posh ‘keeper.  The half wound down with Peterborough in possession but struggled to find a final ball or shot to seriously threaten the Reds goal.

Posh made two changes at half time and started the second half brightly, a Reuben Reid corner found Zakuani at the back post whose header brought a great save from Lee Camp.  Wes was in ‘taking people on’ mode which lifted the mood somewhat – breaking into their box, and unfortunately putting in a cross that was fairly easy for Zakuani to deal with in the area.  He was on hand again to clear a Cohen cross, and a ball in from Earnie heading for Dex.

Cohen picked up the ball in midfield and unleashed a powerful shot which Lewis got a firm hand to to put it onto post for a corner… no, wait, of course! That’s a goal kick isn’t it, you hapless bugger of a referee! (ahem).  After this McCleary (didn’t Billy say he was out for the season?!) was introduced for Majewski, and he immediately sought to get involved and brought a fairly straight forward diving save from Lewis after dinking his way into the box.

Adebola was the last introduction for Earnie, who received as ever a standing ovation from he home fans.  Del had little chance to get meaningfully involved, but the other second half sub McCleary should’ve perhaps done better – he did well to beat a couple of defenders to get a sight of goal, but unfortunately shot over without Lewis even having to make a save.

The late pressure came from Peterborough but as they had throughout the game they couldn’t find the final pass or finish to actively do damage to us.  A mate had texted me at half time “It’s a good job they can’t shoot, or we’d be in trouble” – and it’s true.  Peterborough fans, I imagine, probably went home feeling they’d probably done enough to earn a draw.  From what I’ve gleaned when investigating them pre-match that’s been a recurring theme for them this season.

A very valuable three points for us after recent away day blues, and we have a good opportunity to earn some more on Tuesday when Crystal Palace come to the City Ground.  After that there’s that daunting trip to Newcastle, we’ve lost seven away games on the bounce – they have yet to lose at home in the league – surely with to runs like that meeting, it’s bound to be something unexpected that happens, isn’t it?

Maybe not!