Forest Get Back To Winning Ways
Nottingham Forest moved to within a point of the Playoffs, following their 2-0 win over Burnley at the City Ground yesterday. This was a game short in quality, with both teams guilty of constantly giving the ball away needlessly. Although chances were few, it was the Reds` who bagged the points, with goals from Dexter Blackstock and Billy Sharp.
It was a tense and nervous start from the home side, who went into this game on the back of two straight defeats against Ipswich and Hull. The Clarets may have been a little short on confidence also, having drawn their previous 2 games, but they did start slightly better than the hosts, who barely got out of second gear in the first half.
The only chance of note in the first half for either side fell to the visitors and that man Charlie Austin. The Burnley hit man was gifted the ball by Reds` defender Elliott Ward, but Austin fired his shot uncharacteristically wide of the post. Forest did have a Lewis McGugan free kick deflected out for a corner, but it was never likely to trouble Grant in the Clarets goal. As the half drew to a close, the home side were having the better of the possession, but were unable to find any end product.
Forest came out for the second half looking a little more purposeful and did look to raise the tempo of an otherwise dull affair. With almost an hour gone, SO`D made his first change of the game, replacing the rested Chris Cohen, for Henri Lansbury.
Within moments of Cohen entering the fray, Forest took the lead from a well delivered Andy Reid cross. Dexter Blackstock took to the air, with the apparent help of Burnley defender Jason Shackell, as the Reds` striker headed a looping header over keeper Grant and raised the noise levels in the ground for the first time in the game.
The visitors almost hit back immediately, when Lafferty put Austin through on goal. It should have been strike number 22 of the season for Charlie Austin, but his well struck shot was brilliantly saved by Camp in the Forest goal.
With 15 minutes left, SO`D sent on Guedioura for the largely ineffective Lewis McGugan and once again we scored soon after. Forest hit the visitors with a well worked counter attack and produced the best moment in terms of quality in the game. Hutton won the ball on the edge of the box and sent Andy Reid on his way. He danced his way to the half way line and delivered a defence splitting pass to Billy Sharp. The Forest striker positioned himself well and got behind the Clarets defence with ease. He was faced with just the Burnley keeper between him and the goal, but Sharp made no mistake when sliding the ball past him and into the net to give the Reds` an unassailable lead and the 3 points as well.
It was a scrappy affair, with neither side showing anything like the form that has many outsiders tipping them to do well. It is however a welcome win for the Reds` and one that puts us within touching distance of the top 6 once again. It's hard to pick a Forest man of the match, but for my money it goes to Andy Reid and his two excellent assists.
Forest: Camp, Hutton, Ward, Collins (c), Harding, Gillett (Moussi 66'), Lansbury (Cohen 59'), Reid, McGugan (Guedioura 75'), Blackstock, Sharp.
Subs not used: Darlow, Ayala, Majewski, Coppinger.
Scorers: Blackstock 59', Sharp 76'
Bookings: Sharp 78', Cohen 90'
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Paterson (Stanislas 73'), Duff, Wallace (Ings 81'), Austin, Shackell (c), Marney, Lafferty, Stock (Vokes 65'), McCann.
Subs not used: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Bartley.
Bookings: McCann 41', Duff 64', Marney 89'