Oh sweet blessed relief!

(S)Nottingham Forest, officially crowned as Ipswich Town's bogey team! Six goals in nine games. All against Ipswich!

Ipswich Town – 1
Nottingham Forest – 3

Ooh, that feels better doesn’t it?  After seven games of drawing blanks it took a mere 5 minutes for Tuds to latch onto a throughball from Reidy and score.  Before half time it was 2-0 courtesy of another lovely finish, this time courtesy of Garath McCleary.  An unsaveable penalty kept the nerves jangling (as did some fragile looking defending) but t’was Tudgay again who restored our two goal cushion with a delicious headed goal.

Ipswich must hate playing us!

The latest round of injuries and the suspension of Joel Lynch forced a certain degree of reshuffling the team again, the most surprising perhaps being the return of forgotten-man George Boateng in midfield – enabling Moussi to resume defensive cover in place of the suspended Joel Lynch.  Steve opted for Tuds upfront alone, with McCleary, McGugan and Reid providing attacking impetus from midfield.

Gunter    Moussi    Chambers    Cunningham
Boateng    Greening
McCleary    McGugan    Reid

The opening stages of the game looked to be more of the same from Forest – an early chance falling to Tudgay whilst the Ipswich defence were caught napping, but the striker blazed over.  This wasn’t to set the tone of the day though as with previous games – just minutes later Reidy spotted Tudgay and picked him out with a lovely through-ball, Tuds made no mistake with the finish this time, slotting it into the far corner from around fifteen yards.

Forest really had their tails up, some good work from McCleary saw him beat a number of players before appearing to lose control of it – it fell favourably for Lewis who couldn’t get much power behind his shot, leaving an easy save for Lee-Barrett to make in the Ipswich goal.  It wasn’t all one-way traffic though, an Edwards freekick was headed across goal by Delaney where Jay Emmanuel-Thomas must be rueing heading the ball straight at Lee Camp.

Returning midfielder George Boateng had a decent effort from range too, their keeper spilling but then reclaiming the ball.  Ipswich did start to provide a sterner test of Forest’s resolve though – and to be honest, a combination of sometimes fortunate defending and awful finishing from the hosts kept us in the lead.  Boateng in particular made a nuisance of himself and appeared to pressure Delaney into shooting over from the edge of the box.

Just as the nails were starting to be chewed though we pulled another goal out the bag – Forest got the ball forward and a short pass inside found McCleary in what didn’t appear a particularly dangerous position, until a mazy run combined with good resilence to avoid the attentions of the man behind him gave him a chance to unleash an unstoppable pile driver into the far corner of the net.

It was almost three moments later too – Bowyer was wasteful with the ball for the home side, giving McGugan an opportunity on the half-volley from around thirty yards, it looked to be bound for the top corner of the net but was just over.  More like what we’ve seen of late, good work from Gunts down the right culminated in a dangerous ball across the six yard box, but with no red shirts in a position to capitalise.

Ipswich in the meantime really were reminiscent of recent Forest games – Daryl Murphy somehow conspired to shoot straight at Camp from six yards out whilst pretty much unmarked.  A cracking effort from Emmanuel-Thomas looked like a goal from around 30 yards, crashing into the crossbar and falling for Bowyer who fluffed the rebound, albeit from an offside position so anything goalbound wouldn’t have counted.

Reid pretty much ended the half for us, working well to get away from a couple of defenders and get a sight of goal – but his chipped shot lacked any real power nor direction to give the home ‘keeper anything to worry about.  So half time and two goals to the good – certainly a strange feeling, positivity was prevalent – with an underlying concern and sometimes actual utterances regarding Ipswich’s recent comeback against Barnsley.

The second half kicked off and the Reds were straight out the blocks again – a corner from Reid was met by the head of Tudgay only to be cleared off the line by an Ipswich player.  Moments later McCleary tricked his way past Cresswell and cut the ball back for Reidy, his shot was blocked and fell for McGugan who certainly should’ve been hitting the target from 16 yards, but was both high AND wide!

Ipswich started to build some pressure on us, and our defence was creaking appropriately.  A rash challenge from McCleary gave them a freekick on the edge of the area, but Emmanuel-Thomas put it over the bar.  At the other end though McCleary was continuing to pose Ipswich problems, beating his man again and putting a cross in for Tudgay who was able to get on the end of it, but ultimately we only ended up with a corner from it.

It has to be said that both the composure and committed challenges of George Boateng really helped dissipate some of the pressure the Reds were coming under, but the home side continued to attack – a ball in from Emmanuel-Thomas nearly caused some panic but for Cunningham to be on hand to clear for a corner.  From the corner Ellington rose to head but put it wide.

The pressure did reward them with a chance though – Emmanuel-Thomas went to ground in the area having jinked his way in there, under the challenge of Cunningham and/or Boateng.  The resulting penalty from Leadbitter was powerfully struck low into the left hand post, ricocheting right along the goalline, off the right hand post and in – not a fat lot that Lee Camp could do about that despite diving the right way, a cracking penalty.

Getting a goal back lifted the otherwise docile home crowd and it’s fair to say nerves were jangling aplenty for the Reds both on and off the pitch, but a break from Forest culminated in a fantastic cross from Reidy and an absolutely brilliant header from Tudgay to loop the ball beyond the ‘keeper and inside the far post to give Forest the two-goal cushion that left us feeling not-quite-so-nervous-but-still-quite-nervous.

A tired looking McCleary was withdrawn for Derbyshire with about seven minutes on the clock, and Forest started to – well – not exactly bust a gut to get forward and do their best to stop Ipswich doing so.  It was working well.  The only threat posed in the closing stages was a long range effort from Leadbitter which Camp saved.  Reid made the slowest withdrawal from a pitch we’ve seen since Billy’s time here and was replaced by Patrick Bamford, who pretty much got to hear the final whistle.

What a relief – of course, we’re not out of the mire yet by any stretch of the imagination, but a few goals and some points will do the lads the world of good.  It’s a pity we have the distraction of a cup game next week and can’t crack on with league fixtures, but such is life.  Well done to the lads on turning it around, it’s so great to have something positive to write about rather than my what-has-become-usual pissing and moaning!

If you’ve not seen them, the goals are here (before the YouTube police delete them!)