Writer: Kev Finnegan
Date:Sunday March 31 2013
Billy Davies and his resurgent Nottingham Forest were looking to equal a club record dating back to 1921, with a 7th successive win at the City Ground on Saturday, but both Forest and Brighton had to settle for a point each in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Forest went into this match in the knowledge that the games played on Good Friday had all gone in their favour, with three of the teams in the top 6 failing to win. Those results were as much in favour of Brighton, who turned up at the City Ground well backed by almost 3,000 travelling fans, who were as expectant and as hopeful as the home crowd. A near capacity crowd were treated to an enthralling and captivating game, where the end result was just about a fair one.
The Reds' started well and dominated for large spells in the first half, but despite their domination, chances were few and far between. The neat, incisive football produced few attempts on the Seagulls goal, with only half chances from Cox, Lansbury and Reid making Ankergren earn his keep in the Brighton goal.
The visitors could and should have been down to 10 men just before the break, when LuaLua pushed Forests' Ben Hutchinson to the ground in retaliation for what he must have considered a poor challenge. The referee either missed the push from LuaLua, or didn't consider it warranted more than a yellow card. I think LuaLua can consider himself lucky not to have been taking an early bath.
The only disappointment from a Forest perspective at the break, was that we had failed to capitalise on some decent football and find the breakthrough that would have been richly deserved.
The second half saw Brighton pose much more of a threat, as they took the game to the hosts. Forest were finding it difficult to pick up from where they left off in the first half and were having trouble getting into the game.
With almost an hour gone Brighton dealt a hammer blow to the City Ground crowd and took the lead through Leonardo Ulloa, who slotted the ball passed Darlow from 12 yards out. The goal seemed to wake the home side from their slumber, as the Reds' went in search of an equaliser. It took a further 20 minutes for Forest to pull the goal back with the help of some excellent support from the fans. Their hard work and endeavour paid off in the 82nd minute, when substitute Lewis McGugan fired in from a tight angle to make it 1-1.
The delight and relief for the players and fans was short lived, as Brighton punished some slack defending with their second goal of the game. The visitors played some neat football and ended up pushing the homeside back until they were on the edge of the Forest penalty area. Will Buckley slid a well aimed shot passed Darlow to send the travelling contingent of away fans into ecstasy and what you would have thought was all three points.
Once again the home crowd got behind the team and roared the Reds' on. They were rewarded once again in the dieing seconds of the game when Henri Lansbury saved the day with a shot from the edge of the box. His shot went straight at keeper Ankergren, but he let the ball slide under his body and into the goal. It was a bit of a howler from the keeper, who had otherwise had a decent game.
The 2-2 scoreline was probably a fair result and one that will suit both teams at the end of the day. The result cements us in 5th place and allows Brighton to move up to 6th, at the expense of free falling Leicester City. We have it all to do again on Monday now, as we face another tough game at Burnley.
Date:Sunday March 31 2013
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