Let's All Celebrate Llera Day- Forest 1-0 Owls
Nottingham Forest moved to within 2 points of a Playoff place, following a close fought battle at the City Ground against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. An own goal from Owls defender Miguel Llera midway through the second half, gifted all 3 points to the Reds`, in a game that saw both sides guilty of squandering some guilt edged chances.
Reds` boss Sean O`Driscoll made two changes to the side that battled for a 2-2 draw at Leicester the previous week, replacing the injured Simon Cox with Dexter Blackstock and bringing in Jermaine Jenas for Adlene Guedioura. Both Cox and Geddy did however find a place on the bench.
The match started brightly and with the vistitors well backed by a following of nearly 4,500 travelling fans, celebrating their own self proclaimed "Semedo Day," the scene was set for a thrilling game. Both sides went hell for leather in the opening stages, with the visitors having two chances on goal within the first 10 minutes. Gary Madine was first to test Lee Camp with a long range shot after being gifted the ball by Elliott Ward, but the Forest keeper saved comfortably. Next up was Jay Bothroyd, to miss the first in a series of glaring misses by the visitors. He found himself clean through on goal with only the keeper to beat, but Camp was quick out of the blocks and did well in making a sprawling challenge to deny the striker.
The frantic start made for an open and end to end game, with both teams counter attacking the other. Reid came close to putting the Reds` in front, following some beautiful build up play involving Billy Sharp. A sweet move ended with Reid through on goal, but he was denied by a good block from Kirkland in the visitors goal. Almost immediately, the ball was back in the Forest box, with Madine once again going close, this time with a header that went narrowly wide.
Just as Forest looked like getting the upper hand in the game, they seemingly took their foot off the gas and allowed the Owls back into the match. The half time whistle blew with the visitors ending it the stronger. Whilst the football was attacking and entertaing from a neutral perspective, it was an error strewn performance from both sides.
Within 5 minutes of the restart, O`Driscoll was forced to make a change, when Reid went off carrying a knock. He was replaced by the ever impressive Lansbury, who was quick to stamp his mark on the game. Not long after Reid`s withdrawal, Jenas was soon to follow him down the tunnel for treatment. He was replaced by Guedioura. Within minutes of coming onto the field, Lansbury sent a decent shot goal bound, but he had to watch it go just over the bar. Not for the first time in the game, Forest lost the chance to take control and allowed the visitors back into the match. There was some suicidal defending from both sides throughout the game and one such moment should have put the Owls in front. Jermaine Johnson found himself with the goal at his mercy, but he somehow managed to sky the ball over the bar from only 8 yards out. Lansbury then fired another speculative shot towards goal from distance after some good interplay with Dex. This time it was well saved by Kirkland, although he needed 2 attempts to stop it going in. Another counter attack from the visitors, saw Forest captain Danny Collins called into action, when heading another Bothroyd effort off the line.
The breakthrough finally came on 74 minutes, after a pacey break down the wing by Cohen, saw him fire over a dangerous looking cross into the visitors box. Owls defender Miguel Llera fired the cross into his own goal, which would have been classed as nothing less than brilliant, if it had been at the other end. It was a slice of good luck, of that there can be no doubt, but the Owls will only have themselves to blame for failing to capitalise on the chances they had. If the Wendies came to town to celebrate Semedo Day, it was Forest fans going home to celebrate Llera Night.
The visitors probably left feeling a little hard done to, as a draw would have been a fairer result. They did have chances to score, but failed to take them and this was their undoing. Whilst it wasn`t the most convincing performance from Forest, it`s another 3 points in the bag. Next up for the Reds` is Wolves away. The defence will have to do much better at their place, if we want to get anything from them.
Forest: Camp, Halford, Collins (c), Moloney, Ward; Gillett, Reid (Lansbury 50'), Cohen, Jenas (Guedioura 55'); Sharp, Blackstock.
Subs not used: Darlow, McGugan, Cox, Coppinger, Ayala.
Scorer: Llera (og) 74'
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, Jones (Mayor 82'), Llera, Gardner (c), Barkley, Semedo, Madine, Antonio, Bothroyd, Pecnik (Johnson 52').
Subs not used: Bywater, Taylor, Mattock, McCabe, Rodri.
Booking: Llera 90'