Billy's Babes Battle For A Draw
What with the current injury crisis at NFFC, most people would have gladly taken a point before the game. So a 2-2 draw with promotion hopefuls QPR will definitely be seen as a point won.
Billy Davies made three changes to the side that went out of the FA Cup in midweek, bringing in youngsters Moloney and Heath at the back and Joe Garner up front. It was an attacking looking lineup, but Forest never really threatened the visitors in the first half. Apart from a half chance that fell to Thornhill, the Reds' only other attack of note, was when we were awarded a penalty just before the break.
QPR are a side on a decent run of form at the minute and it was they who settled the quickest. After a sloppy start from both sides, they began to take control of the game and could have taken an early lead, when Di Carmine had a shot cleared off the line, at first by Moloney and then Heath. The visitors were trying to upset the youngsters in the Forest side with some strongarm tactics. Tyson was twice felled by forearm smashes, the second of which resulted in him being replaced and in need of ten stitches to his head. The good news though, was that the new kids on the block, were at least a match for the visitors in the physical sense and were able to dish it out as well. The referee Mr. Deadman, didn't really have a clue in this one and in all honesty, had a bit of a mare.
A rash challenge on Chambers gave the Reds' an undeserved lead. It was just before the interval when Alberti sent the Forest defender flying in the box. The tackle earned him a yellow and the resultant penalty saw McGugan send Camp the wrong way. The lead though was short lived. It was the third minute of injury time, when Alberti met a decent cross and hit the ball home to bring the score level.
The second half started with the young lads playing a little better. We were trying to pass it around, but Rangers are a canny bunch and soon started back with the physical stuff. Garner, who was having a poor game, was also the victim of some over zealous tactics. He's a player who normally thrives on this kind of game, but in Kaspars Gorkss he more than met his match with the defender ensuring that he would get nothing from this game.
Forest were hit with a sucker punch on 48 minutes, just as we looked like we were getting it together for the first time in the game. Alberti caught Moloney asleep and got passed him with ease. He hit a great shot into the net, that left Smith well beaten. The game ebbed and flowed and the tackles flew in from both sides. The ref was losing the plot and made a series of errors for both sides, that saw players being booked for nothing tackles and others getting away with murder.
Both sides made changes, some of them enforced. Di Carmine was stretchered off for the visitors, with what looked like a serious injury. Garner followed soon after, as he was replaced by McCleary. Garner was replaced partly because he was poor and partly to protect him from further punishment. He was put through the grinder today and wont be forgetting Mr. Gorkss in a hurry, both for his footballing skills and his physical skills too.
Just as you thought that we were going to crumble, up popped Cohen with an equaliser. It was a bit of a soft goal for us really and came about from a mistake from our very own Lee Camp. He failed to claim a cross that really should have been his and Cohen made the most of it and headed tamely over the line.
This was a hard fought game for both sides and one that we may feel lucky to have drawn. We showed a remarkable fighting spirit that has been absent for so long and that has to be down to the manager Billy Davies. The effort and determination was there for all to see. What was also there to see, was our total lack of depth in the squad. It could be this lack of depth that sees us continue to struggle in the division, unless we can bring in some additions. Next up it's Birmingham away and another tough game for the kids.