10 Man Forest Win Away
The Sixfields Stadium
March 21, 2008
Colin Calderwood earned himself a stay of execution with an impressive 2-1 win at his former club Northampton last night, despite the efforts of Premiership referee Rob Styles. Goals from Brett Ormerod and Nathan Tyson keep alive our slim chances of automatic promotion.
Forest needed to get off to a good start in this one and they did just that. They came out of the blocks flying and were on the offensive from the word go. Brett Ormerod got his second goal in a red shirt after only 8 mins with some neat football. Forest attacked with Thornhill and Bennett down the wing and got the ball to Cohen who was tearing away. He sent a low cross into the box that was met by the skeletal figure of Brett Ormerod, to side foot home from 6 yards.
It was all Forest and they could have doubled their lead moments later when Tyson headed wide. Despite the strong winds, the Reds were playing well and denied the home side any time with the ball. For once, every man was doing their job and fighting for the cause. Smith was having a quiet night for a change and things were looking good, until referee Rob Styles decided he wanted a piece of the action.
On 21 mins Styles made a decision that could have changed the outcome of the game, when he wrongly sent off James Perch. The Forest defender got a straight red for a challenge on Hubertz. Although the tackle was hard and maybe a little high the decision to send him off was harsh. Clingan and Bennett were booked for dissent and Calderwood was incensed on the touchline. Minutes later Gilligan should have been given the same treatment as Perch for scything down Bennett, but only got a yellow.
This obviously gave the Cobblers a lift and they came into the game a bit more. Fair play to CC for keeping the team the same after going a man down. He clearly wanted the win and Forest were not content to defend.
It looked to be going tits up, when the home side drew level on 32 mins. From a throw in, Hubertz manages an overhead kick and puts the ball past Smith for the equaliser. Northampton grew in confidence as you expected they would and ended the half the stronger side. It wasn't quite backs to the wall stuff just yet, but we did have Bennett to thank for a goal line clearance that could have given Northampton the lead.
This was better from Forest and just the sort of performance the fans have been craving. But it was going to be a difficult 45 mins with only 10 men and a homer of a ref to contend with. Forest came out for the second half unchanged in formation and for once, attitude.
Forest were unlucky not to take the lead after some good play from Thornhill and Tyson. Clingan received the ball on the edge of the box and let rip with a bullet of a shot that rattled the bar. As the bookings were mounting, you began to think Forest would be lucky to end the game with 10 men, but they did and fought hard for the ball and were the better side once again. They never let the home side take control, despite the efforts of Mr. Styles.
The Reds were playing well and coping with what little pressure the home side put them under. Instead of sitting back and playing for the point, as has been the case in the past, they went in search of a winner. They were unfortunate not to get it, when Bennett just headed a Clingan corner past the post. They defended well too. Ormerod got in a vital tackle to deny Gilligan a shot on goal and the midfield was working tirelessly in an effort to get the points.
It was a rare decision in Forest's favour that was to give them the lead. Styles awarded us a penalty on 62 mins, after Bunn brought down Tyson in the box. It could have been a red, but once again Styles got it wrong. Thanks for the penalty though, I suppose we should be grateful. Tyson sent Bunn the wrong way and put the Mighty Reds 2-1 up.
This was heady stuff and something we've been starved of. Players battling for the ball and playing as a team. We had to endure a tense finish to the game, as the home side were forced to come at us in an effort to claw back the deficit. But the Reds hung on manfully to deservedly take the points. The automatic promotion hopes are still alive, but they are still slim. Nonetheless, it was a fine performance from the lads last night and one that may see Calderwood win us back on side one day, if he continues in this vein.