We're Back In The Mix - Next Up Norwich
Nottingham Forest got their promotion hopes back on track with a less than convincing 2-0 win at home to Burnley last night. Despite the fact the Clarets were down to 10 men for nearly an hour, the Reds' found it difficult to make the extra man tell and had to wait until the 73rd minute to find the breakthrough in a pig ugly game of football.
A minutes silence was held prior to kick off, for former Forest and Burnley player Billy Gray, who sadly died this week at the age of 83. He was one of only two surviving members of the 1959 Nottingham Forest FA Cup winning squad and was an integral part of the team that lifted the cup that year. The minutes silence was immaculately observed by both sets of fans. RIP Billy Gray.
Both teams had been struggling for form prior to this game, but both still had aspirations of making the Playoffs, although any neutrals would have been hard to convince of that, such was the almost pedestrian pace the game was played at. The visitors seemed to settle the better and stroked the ball around well in the early stages, but without causing any sort of threat to Lee Camp in the Forest goal.
After half an hour the visitors were down to 10 men, after Marvin Bartley was issued with a straight red for a challenge on Luke Chambers. I have to say that from my vantage point in the Trent End and in real time, I didn't think it was a sending off. However, with the benefit of TV replays, it does look like referee Jonathan Moss got it right and that Paul McKenna's insistence that the ref wave the red card was infact justified.
Forest failed to make any advantage of their extra man in the first half and apart from a well taken Lewis McGugan free kick, barely tested Jensen in the visitors goal. When the half time whistle blew, it was greeted more with relief than any sense of celebration.
The second half was a little better in terms of attacking and inventive play from the homeside and a few chances did fall to first Earnshaw, who struck the bar and then Tudgay, who shot narrowly wide.
The breakthrough finally came 2 minutes after McGoldrick came on and replaced Tudgay. His first job was to tap in another well struck McGugan free kick, that had took a deflection before the striker knocked it in from just inside the 6 yard box. The sense of relief from the stands was immense, but it could have been short lived if an Iwelumo header moments later had been better struck, instead of ending up straight in the arms of the well placed Lee Camp.
With 5 minutes of additional time to play, there was at least the opportunity to stretch the lead and give the fans something to cheer about on the way home. Once again McGoldrick was on hand to put away an Earnshaw pass from just about 12 yards out. His shot looked like it was heading over, but fortunately for the striker, it dipped just under the bar to give the lads their first win in 10 games.
A win is a win, no matter how it comes about and this one came by way of a dour game of football, played by two teams with one foot on the airplane on their way to the summer sun, rather than a place in the end of season Playoffs. It's a vital win though and thanks to results elsewhere, we now find ourselves back in the mix, just a point off 6th place. It makes for a very interesting game live on TV on Friday night, when we travel to 3rd placed Norwich. We thought the fat lady was about to burst into song, but it turns out she was only clearing her throat.
Apologies for the lateness of the report by the way.....it's been one of those days.