Championship Here We Come
May 3, 2008
The Reds are going up! It's official. After three long years of hurt in League 1, Nottingham Forest have clinched promotion and will be playing football in the Championship next season.
First and foremost congratulations and a massive thank you to Cheltenham Town, who did the seemingly impossible and beat Doncaster 2-1 to more than help us on our way. A special well done to the 600 Yeovil fans who made the trip up and stayed around after the final whistle to applaud the team. Once again, as they did last season they showed they are a credit to any team.
What the packed City Ground needed was an early goal to calm the nerves and we got it after only 12 minutes. It came from Player of the Year, Julian Bennett and it came in typical Bennett style. He won a tackle that left the Yeovil player poleaxed and hit a beauty from 25 yards out to send the City Ground crowd ballistic. Better was to come, when Kris Commons got the second after only 18 minutes. Commons got ahead of his marker and ran onto Ormerod's pass to hit the ball under the keeper.
The Glovers then got a goal back to bring the fans back down to earth and also showed that they were not going to lie down and make it easy. Some sloppy defending saw Peters hit the ball home with an easy tap in. Just as you thought the noise in the ground couldn't get any louder, news from Whaddon Road said that Cheltenham had gone one up over Donny. This news was greeted like a Forest goal and the ground erupted in a crescendo of noise that had the City Ground rocking.
This was shaping up to be quite a day and things were to get even better when McGugan hit a 20 yard free kick into the net and past the watching keeper, Mildenhall. The City Ground was a sea of red and white and the vocal support at times deafening. As the half time whistle went, it was time to check the scores elsewhere and see how things stood. Things were looking good. Infact they were looking bloody marvellous. Cheltenham were indeed one up and Bournemouth were holding Carlisle to a goalless draw as well. It's at times like this as a Forest fan that you have to pinch yourself just to make sure it's actually happening, but it was.
Forest seemed to lose their way for a bit in the second half and allowed the Glovers back into the game. Williams should have scored, but instead hit a 12 yard effort high and wide, much to the relief of the home crowd. Tyson had an effort cleared off the line and Morgan had a decent penalty shout turned down.
On 75 mins the atmosphere changed and things were all of a sudden not looking as good as they did. Andy Kirk headed in from a corner to make it 3-2 and set up a tense final 15 minutes. Just as Yeovil were threatening to be party poopers once again, the news from Whaddon Road was that Donny had pulled one back. There was an eerie silence in the ground for a moment, until they found their voice again and began to roar the Reds home. We were still in the box seat as things stood, but it was tense to say the least.
The mood in the ground was ecstatic on 85 mins, when we heard that Cheltenham had taken the lead. You'd have thought Forest had bagged another, as the roof was being lifted with the noise. Just as it was announced that we had 3 mins added time to endure, the news from Whaddon Road was that the Robins had won. The party began early, although we still had to hang on for the win. A late Yeovil corner had fans on the edge of their seats, but the clearance was greeted as if it was a goal and with Agogo dancing with the ball at the corner flag the ref blew for full time to send the City Ground crowd into delirium.
The line of yellow jackets that encircled the pitch could do nothing to stop the pitch invasion that ensued. It's been a long time since we've had cause for celebration and boy did we celebrate. As soon as the pitch was cleared the players and staff came out for a deserved lap of honour and applauded the fans. Fair play once again to the Yeovil fans who hung around to witness the scenes, I'm not so sure I could have done the same under the circumstances.
We have spent three long years in this footballing wilderness and we've finally made it out. The summer will be an enjoyable one for a change and we've avoided the dreaded Play Offs. I don't know how we did it, all I know is that we have. Now then, where's the Aspirin? My head is banging.