More McGugan magic seals comfortable win..

Nottingham Forest – 2
Ipswich Town – 0

A thoroughly satisfying performance from the Reds gave them a comfortable 2-0 win over the Tractor Boys yesterday.  Usually even a two goal lead can feel pretty tense with the Reds, but  the makeshift Forest defence underwent very little in the way of scares and held strong for a deserved clean sheet.

It was good also to see the wee fella back on the touchline after his absence through illness.  Other returnees were on the bench – Nathan Tyson and Robert Earnshaw who were both thought unavailable appeared on the bench (although in Earnie’s case for ‘psychological reasons’ according to Billy!).

Forest had to change their line-up due to Bertrand’s suspension, but few would have expected to see the unforced change upfront which saw Dexter drop to the bench in favour of David McGoldrick.  So we lined up like this:

Chambers   Morgan   Wilson    Gunter
Cohen   McKenna    Majewski    Anderson

The Reds started the game looking very positive – Gunter, looking decent as a makeshift left-back, put in an early cross to chambers at the back post – he nodded it back towards Cohen rushing into the box but Fulop was quicker and got to the ball first before the midfielder could apply the killer touch to it.

At the other end it could’ve been a disastrous start for Lewis as he gifted the away side possession in midfield but fortunately Carlos Edwards was offside so unable to do us any actual damage.

We took the lead on around 12 minutes – and it was a lovely team move, a delicious throughball from Majewski set Cohen loose down the left, the midfielder put in a cracking cross right into the danger zone where David McGoldrick was lurking to sidefoot the ball into the top of the net giving Fulop no chance at all.  Lovely goal, and good to see McGoldrick get of the mark for the season.

Raddy was again the architect of another chance – the little midfielder tricked his way brilliantly past two Ipswich players to get into the box and put a cross/shot (with more emphasis on shot, I feel) just wide of the far post from a tight angle.  It was looking good, but of course with the Reds there’s always that niggling doubt that creeps in.  It nearly came to fruition..

Colback had a great chance for the visitors – he shot goalward from a crowded area and beat Lee Camp, but not Luke Chambers who stopped it brilliantly on the line.  To compound our visitors misery the rebound fell to an Ipswich player who again shot goalward, again beating Camp, but again not able to beat Chambers on the line.  Some outstanding defending there.

Just before half time Cohen was fouled by Leadbitter.  As the freekick was spotted up around 35 yards out I turned to my neighbour and said “Lewis will try to shoot here, and probably put it into the upper tier.”  I was right on one front, a powerful drive with a vicious last-minute swerve saw Lewis thunder it into the top right corner – and awesome strike that even left a few Ipswich fans applauding.

So half time came with Reds fans in high spirits – with much reminiscing about past freekicks, many fans seemingly ranking McGugans’ latest as comparable (if not better!) than freekicks by the likes of Pearce, Metgod and Van Hooijdonk that we’ve been lucky enough to have witnessed on our hallowed turf.

Having had Luke Chambers do his dirty work in the first half, Camp had his first save to make early in the second half – denying Tommy Smith’s effort.  Moments later he was clattered by a late challenge from David Norris – the referee saw fit to not punish it – I’m not sure how hurt Camp was but did endure a good few minutes of treatment to his right shoulder.

McGugan had a tricky run down the right ending in a cross which was a little too powerful for Anderson to reach.  Majewski was the first player to be withdrawn to a great reaction from the fans – Tys replaced him and went up front with McGoldrick.  Tys was immediately in the action, and was hauled down by McAuley in the area, the referee didn’t give a penalty though.  He’d been so determined to not be a ‘homer’ he had become an ‘awayer’!!

McGoldrick was the next player to make way – this way for the Moose – again to a great ovation from the Reds fans.  Ipswich were belatedly starting to get into the game, a freekick from Leadbitter necessitated a save from Camp at the expense of a corner, substitute Connor Wickham too brought another save from him after beating Gunter.  The shot actually snuck through his legs meaning an undignified scramble to stop it sneaking over the line.

Forest’s final substitution saw man-of-the-moment McGugan make way for Dele Adebola – the loudest ovation yet, for the on-fire midfielder and latest cult-hero entering the fray.  Tys was looking lively, a run down the right ended in a shot but he hesitated a little too much and his eventual effort was blocked by Gareth McAuley.

Cohen too had a late effort which was on-target but straight at Fulop, and the five or so minutes of stoppage time were consumed mostly with the Reds controlling possession until the referee eventually blew for full time amidst speculation that he’d forgotten about full time for a little time!

A thoroughly pleasing result and performance – admittedly our visitors posed a very limited threat upfront, and seemed rather short on ideas – having said that, their rare moments of danger were dealt with well – although Chambers’ heroic goal-line clearances certainly had more than hint of good fortune about them.

That puts us tenth in the league, just two points away from the play-offs though, although if Leeds can beat Cardiff tomorrow they could drop us down to eleventh.  More importantly, with Derby losing it puts us a point ahead of them again which is always a good thing!