Match winner: The unfortunate Liera scored the winning goal for his opponents..
Nottingham Forest – 1
Sheffield Wednesday – 0
Some of the reports I’ve seen have been a little harsh on this game, but for some wasteful finishing or questionable decision making there could’ve been a number of goals for both sides. As it is, it was decided by an unfathomable own goal from Owls defender Liera after a good cross in from Chris Cohen on the right.
O’Driscoll made a couple of changes to the side, granting Jermaine Jenas his first start in a Forest shirt since his move on loan from Tottenham Hotspur at the expense of Adlene Guedioura, with Dexter Blackstock coming in for Simon Cox who was on the bench having picked up a knock during midweek international dutie for the Republic of Ireland.
Moloney Ward Collins Halford
Cohen Jenas Reid
With a big following of 4,400 fans – many bedecked in Portuguese flags and cut-out masks of their midfielder Semedo, it was certainly one of the more interesting away followings we’ve had for a while. With the inimitable ‘Tango’ lapping up the usual inane ‘banter’ from the home fans and conducting the visitors, it promised to be a good atmosphere at the ground.
It was the Owls who started the better too – Camp having to dive to save from Madine within the first few minutes – and moments later he was on hand again to deny Jay Bothroyd who really ought to have made more of the space he had in the area.
Forest’s first attack resulted in a great opportunity for Reidy – the Irishman played a one-two with Sharp and found himself through on goal but Kirkland was upon him fast to block the chance. Madine again came close for Wednesday heading wide from a long throw. Our best chance came from a Cohen cross, Jenas rose to head it wide, taking it off Billy Sharp’s head in the process.
The Owls had the last chance of the half, a corner came in and was knocked down by Miguel Liera to find Pecnik unmarked in the box, who conspired to hideously miss the target from twelve yards in what seemed like acres of space. So half time, and 0-0 – a really open game with both sides susceptible to defensive lapses, and by the same token not taking their opportunities when they presented themselves.
Shortly into the second half Reid was withdrawn for Henri Lansbury, he is apparently struggling with a hamstring problem. Like some sort of curse-of-the-Forest-oldboys it was Jenas who needed to head to see the physio to be replaced by Adlene Guedioura.
Lansbury had an early attempt from range which Kirkland spilled, but not quite far enough to reach Billy Sharp who was lurking ready to pounce on the rebound. At the other end it looked like Bothroyd had capitalised on Camp spilling an effort from Jermaine Johnson, he struck the ball goalward only for Danny Collins to head it over from close to the line.
Supposedly once a Forest target, Jermaine Johnson demonstrated his limitations quite aptly moments later when presented with an opportunity to lash the ball home for the opening goal from eight yards, only to spanner it high and wide into the Trent End.
Meanwhile we replicated the wastefulness at the other end – Lansbury moved well on the edge of the area, playing the ball in to Blackstock and continuing his run into the box to receive it back again – then promptly spannering it over! I assumed there must’ve been a deflection or a save, but upon looking at the replay he just missed. Pity, it was a nice move!
Just as we were starting to chunter about it being a draw we got the fortunate breakthrough – a decent cross from Cohen looked like it was heading into the path of Dexter Blackstock’s run into the box, only to be headed powerfully into his own goal by Liera.
Since he was writhing about on the floor in agony early (under instruction from Kirkland) after a nothing aerial challenge, I didn’t have much sympathy for him – but it must’ve been quite embarrassing for him particularly to look up at the disappointed faces of his own supporters (and of course the bizarre sight of hundreds of Semedos looking back at him!).
Wednesday did have moments after this but few direct chances, and the same for Forest really who largely seemed content to hold the ball up when in the opponent half. We did have one final lovely move which culminated with a shot from Chris Cohen which ended up just wide of the far post.
All in all, a very welcome three points – although a fortunate one, it was one of those open games with plenty of defensive mistakes that – if punished – could’ve gone either way. I guess we benefited from the biggest defensive mistake on the night sending Wednesday’s impressive away following disappointed.
I am hoping that the Lansbury’s appearance from the bench might herald a new opportunity for the midfielder to properly get his Forest career underway – he looked positive, incisive and eager to find a way to unlock defences. In the absence of Raddy Majewski through injury and Lewis McGugan through lack-of-favourness we could really do with that kind of mindset in our midfield.
Still, three points are three points and very welcome they are too ahead of next weekend’s tricky trip to Molineux.
Post-match it was all about the Nottingham Arena where Carl Froch demolished Yusaf Mack in three rounds with a devastating body shot. A cracking atmosphere from the Nottingham public spurred the Cobra on to retain his IBF Super-Middleweight title – a cracking night and an excellent day for Nottingham sport!
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