Writer: Kev Finnegan
Date:Sunday January 13 2013
Alex McLeish clocked up his first victory as manager of Nottingham Forest on Saturday, with a 2-1 home win over a battling Peterborough Utd. It was a vastly improved performance on the week before, when the Reds' went out of the FA Cup in humiliating style, by losing 3-2 at home to League 1 Oldham. McLeish made no less than 5 changes to the side that failed against Oldham, with the most notable absentee being keeper Lee Camp who had been told earlier in the week that his services would no longer be required at the club. Other changes saw new signing Gonzalo Jara Reyes replacing Brendan Moloney, returning loanee Elliott Ward came in for Danny Collins, Henri Lansbury replaced the injured Andy Reid and poor old Dexter Blackstock had to make way for leading scorer Billy Sharp.
All eyes were on 22 year old rookie keeper Karl Darlow as the match got underway and he will have been delighted with the encouragement and backing he received from the home support throughout the game. Darlow was making his full Forest debut and he acquitted himself well. The experience he gained will prove invaluable and should stand him in good stead if he's selected for the crucial game at Pride Park next weekend, where the atmosphere will be a lot more hostile than it was for him at the City Ground.
Both sides started brightly and were intent on playing the ball on the deck, but whilst both sides attempted to play free flowing football, each was guilty of giving the ball away all too easily throughout the match. It was the Reds' who took the lead and it came just before the half hour mark. A well delivered corner from Lansbury, was met with a bullet of a header from Greg Halford. His effort looked to have been saved on the line by Ferdinand, but referee Eddie Ilderton signalled that it had gone over and much to the delight of the home support, Forest were in front.
Radoslaw Majewski was in inspiring form and was at the centre of everything when trying to get us going forward. He should have put Forest in front after only 12 minutes. Some neat build up play involving the diminutive Pole ended with him hitting a shot high and wide, when he really should have hit the target at least.
Peterborough, who had been playing well, should have equalised just before the break. George Boyd found himself clean through on goal, with only Darlow to beat, but the keeper did well to dive at the strikers feet and collect the ball. A freezing cold first 45 minutes, ended with the home side just about deserving to be in front.
It was a scrappy start to the second half, where silly mistakes were costing both teams. Just on the hour mark, the visitors got a deserved equaliser. The Reds` defence were guilty of ball watching and allowed former Forest loan player Scott Wootton a free header in the centre circle, where he dutifully headed the ball into the Forest goal. At 1-1 it was a nervous time for the City Ground faithful, but in fairness to the home side, their heads didn't drop.
Despite more inventive and creative play from Man of the match Majewski, he was once again at fault for failing to put us in front. He hit another shot high and wide, when again it should have hit the target. Majewski soon made amends for that miss, when he sent over a teasing ball into the box, that was well met by Elliott Ward. Ward`s header was only going one way from the minute he made contact with the ball. The Posh keeper might have got a hand to it, but the header was so powerful it was only ever going in the back of the net. Forest saw out the rest of the game without being troubled too much by the visitors. We were just about deserving of the win, but the visitors may feel they were harshly treated and should have had a point. It puts us in a confident mood ahead of the crunch Derby game next week. If we can continue to improve and build on this performance, then the good times may be set to roll.
Date:Sunday January 13 2013
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