Forest 1-0 Robins
February 16, 2008. 3pm
A crowd of over 23,000 watched Forest take all three points in a dour affair at the City Ground today and keep alive their hopes of an automatic promotion place. It was a truly awful game, that was only lit up by one moment of magic from striker Nathan Tyson.
Supporters of both sides were to be mistaken into thinking this would be an attacking and opening game, after what seemed to be a bright start by both teams. The healthy away support were given hope within minutes of the start through a succession of corners, but they came to nothing. In the entire first 45, they never tested Smith in the Forest goal once.
The game quickly settled down and descended into a game of misplaced passes and the hit and hope long ball tactics that we are becoming all too accustomed with of late. Sammy Clingan and Matty Lockwood were the biggest culprits as far as the Reds were concerned. They missed their team mates with countless balls today and apart from a glorious assist in the Tyson goal, Lockwood should have been taken off and shot. But more of that later.
There was to be a worrying few minutes when Morgan was instructed to leave the field for treatment. It turned out that he needed stitches for a gash to the head, but he was off the pitch for over 5 minutes and we were down to ten men. Fortunately the Robins failed to make the most of their advantage and all was well. When Morgan eventually returned to the fray, he was greeted with some curious stares from the crowd, due to the fact that he made more than a passing resemblance to a pint of Guinness, with his head covered in a white bandage.
The first half ended with Forest having little to show for their efforts, apart from a Tyson chance that saw him chase down the ball and almost beat keeper Brezovan to it, only to be outdone by him in the chase. Commons went close with a rebounded shot off his own free kick from 25 yards, but that was about it in as dull a first half that you are likely to see.
Within five minutes of the restart Forest got the breakthrough. Just as you were about to despair of Lockwood, he sent a perfectly timed pass into the path of Tyson that sent the striker ahead of his marker and into the box. Tyson showed his pace and had the option of squaring the ball into the path of the well positioned Agogo. But Tyson did it all himself. He let off a shot from the edge of the box, that went passed the keeper and into the far corner of the net. The City Ground was stirred into life at long last and Forest seemed to grow in confidence.
Tyson had another chance shortly after. He found some space and from 25 yards out, let rip with a good effort that had Brezovan well beaten, but his shot went narrowly wide. Forest were now looking better, but were halted in their stride at times by some poor refereeing from David Foster. Just as the game was livening up, he was there to spoil things with some fussy decisions for both sides and not all of them correct.
On 74 minutes Tyson was replaced by Davies, due to what now turns out to be another hamstring injury. Our brittle boned kid looks to be out for a few weeks once again, which only adds to the concern of the fans that our chances of promotion once again seem to be hanging in the balance. Whilst we all hope that it isn't as bad as we fear, you kind of know that it already is. Sinclair came on for Agogo, who did well today without seeing much of the ball. Sinclair looked lively, but was let down by the referee. When through on goal he was fouled, but Mr. Foster saw fit to wave play on. Perch then came on for the final few minutes to replace McGugan.
From looking in control of the game they went into defensive mode once again towards the end of the game, to keep supporters on the edge of their seats. Although it was a tense end to the game, with Swindon pushing for the equaliser, the Reds held firm and collected the points.
Because games elsewhere towards the top of the table were postponed, Forest climbed up to third in the table. Appearances can be deceptive though and without wanting to sound alarmist, better sides would have punished us today. Thankfully Swindon lacked the killer punch needed to get a goal, but Carlisle on Tuesday night will be a different matter. Forest will need to look a lot sharper and be much improved to get anything up there. If our wayward passing continues and our inability to do the simple and basic things right, then automatic promotion can be forgotten about and it will be the playoffs at best.