The bird is the word as the Reds stroll through to round three..

Miller time for the Reds as Ishmael runs amok in the Wycombe defence!

Wycombe Wanderers – 1
Nottingham Forest – 4

You know what, we might have expected a win here – but it was really important we got one – and preferably one by a decent scoreline.  So a big well done.  Steve opted to field a strong team, with four changes to the starting eleven compared to that which lined up against Leicester.

Forest raced to a two goal lead, adding a third in the second half before a slightly dodgy-looking penalty to the home side gave the Chairboys an opportunity to make inroads back into the game.  It was a forlorn hope though, as Raddy was on hand to put away our fourth and sew the game up for us in decent style.

So, we lined up something like this:

Camp
Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Lynch
Majewski    Greening    Cohen    McGugan
Findley    Miller

I liked the look of the line-up, and it didn’t take long for them to vindicate that general sense of optimism.  Right from the off Raddy found Cohen who played it early across the face of goal, with Miller not quite able to get on the end of it.  A moment later and Raddy again was instrumental, playing a splendid through-ball to Miller, who made no mistake in stroking the ball past the ‘keeper and into the net.

Miller again was causing problems for the home side, this time Greening the provider set the big striker loose, getting past the last defender before being felled by the ‘keeper.  Lewis again took on penalty-taking duties, smashing it powerfully into the goal – the Wycombe keeper getting a hand to it, so perhaps a tad unlucky not to have redeemed himself for the concession.

Heavens be praised the Reds carried on attacking too – Gunts found himself in an outrageous amount of space, and fed the ball to Miller who went for goal but was blocked, the rebound found McGugan who got a shot away on target, but it was saved by the Wycombe ‘keeper.  Moments later he was on hand again to stop a goalbound McGugan freekick.

As the game lulled a little the away end had to contend with the attentions of a strange bird that decided to start swooping down at them.  Back on the pitch Majewski was still pulling the strings, playing Miller free down the left who managed to cut in and get a shot away which was well saved by the ‘keeper.

Miller turned provider with a flick to Robbie Findley, who – under the attentions of a defender – managed to get a shot away, but just over the bar.  The last chance of the half fell to McGugan from a freekick won by Joel Lynch, but he put his well-struck effort just over the bar.  So, 2-0 at half time and really dominating the game, no complaints here!

The risk, of course, is the whole ‘game of two halves’ thing.  Fears were initially allayed – Forest started the second half at a good pace, a nice ball from Findley looked to have set Miller clear but the linesman’s flag curtailed the move.  Lynch too tried to feed the big striker with a cracking cross after a break down the left, but it was just out of reach for him.

Lee Camp was called into his first meaningful action – and was beaten thanks to a deflection on a shot from Benyon, luckily for us it struck the inside of the post and back out into play.  Miller was withdrawn having been clattered by Winfield (he didn’t have treatment though), and was replaced with Joe Garner.  A solid starting debut for the big fella.

Our third goal came around the hour, again Raddy was on hand to provide a dangerous through-ball – this time to Robbie Findley who escaped the attentions of a couple of players before curling a left-footed shot into the goal from inside the area.  A nice finish.

Just as we were breathing a little easier though (not that we were under massive danger, you understand, but just because – well – it’s Forest!) the referee handed the home side a lifeline.  Now, given Saturday’s shenanigans it’s probably a bit rich to complain about soft penalties, but there didn’t seem to be a great deal of contact between Lynch and Lewis.

Lewis went to ground, the referee pointed to the spot.  A pity for Lynch who had had a decent game.  It was a well-taken penalty, though – Benyon stepped up to claim the spot-kick and duly sent Lee Camp the wrong way to slot the ball neatly in the other corner.  A good finish.

Forest responded positively – Lewis feeding the ball to Majewski whose effort was saved by the Bull in the Wycombe goal, the ball falling for McGugan whose effort ended up with a Forest corner.  From the corner Garner got a header in that was cleared well by Bull.  Findley was withdrawn to big applause and replaced by Marcus Tudgay with about 20 minutes left on the clock.

The fourth goal came after good work from Joe Garner, beating Winfield whilst bursting into the penalty area – before unselfishly spotted Majewski in a better position and squaring the ball for Raddy to claim a tap-in that rounded off an excellent performance for the midfielder.  McGugan was withdrawn again with a good reception, and replaced with youngster Kieron Freeman for his first team debut.

He was quite quickly in and amongst it, too – working well with Majewski, and eventually getting a decent shot in from the left hand side of the box and bringing a save from the ‘keeper.  In the final minute he perhaps should’ve opened his Reds account, after a nice pull back from Gunter looked to have handed him a goal on a plate, only for him to slip and miss his chance.

All in all, just what the doctor ordered – okay, with all due respect to them, we will face tougher teams than Wycombe this season, but we needed to see a positive performance from the Reds tonight.  We needed to see some goals, and it’s great to see Raddy really grasping his starting opportunity to demonstrate his ability to unlock defences with his passing.

We couldn’t have asked for much better by way of preparation for the tricky prospect of West Ham visiting the City Ground on Sunday.

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