Date:Sunday August 10 2008
August 10. 3pm
Nottingham Forest announced their return to the Championship in fine style today, as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to one of the promotion favourites, Reading.
Any pre match fears about the former Prem boys tearing us apart were quickly dispelled, as the Reds' took on Coppell's all stars and gave them a good run for their money. Although Calderwood may feel a win was deserved, he'll be more than happy with a point against one of the divisions more fancied teams.
Forest started brightly and took control of the game from the start. The first half saw few clear cut chances for either side, but it was the Reds' that were asking the questions and looking the more likely to score. Earnshaw, playing the role of loan striker was busy, without posing too much of a threat. Man mountain Guy Moussi, was instrumental in everything Forest did. He broke down any threat from the Royals and started every Forest attack. The Frenchman looks like the find of the decade from a Reds' point of view and makes the game look so simple. He tackles and he passes and he always finds his man. If this fella still plays for us at Christmas, I'll be dancing round the City Ground naked in celebration.
Moussi came closest to breaking the deadlock just before the break. Winning a tackle in the middle of the park, he quickly played a one - two and let off a shot from 25 yards, but it was blocked by Sonko and the rebound was sent high and wide by Earnshaw.
Play was halted just before the break, for what looked like a nasty injury to Marek Matejovsky. It was bad enough to end his time on the pitch and his replacement was Kalifa Cisse.
As the whistle blew at half time, the talk was all about how much we had improved on last season and the fact that we looked more than a match for the visitors. Seeing football played on the deck by our own lads was a pleasing sight and a welcome one after the dross we had to witness last term. Although Reading were being outplayed at times, the quality in their side was more than evident and you knew they could be more of a threat than what they had been in the opening 45 mins.
The second half started as the first one ended, with the Reds' pushing and pressing, but unable to break down a strong Reading defence. Moussi once again had a long range effort stopped, this time by keeper Hahnemann who had to look lively by diving to save the ball from sliding into the net. The visitors were being pushed back and Forest were dictating the play, but there were worrying moments when Reading managed to attack and hit us on the break. It was pleasing to see the likes of Morgan and Wilson looking solid and working together to keep Doyle and Lita at bay. Although there were a few heart stopping incidents, Morgan stood up to his role and more than looked capable of holding his own against one of the best strike forces outside the Prem. It was also pleasing to see Chambers and Bennett making surging and probing runs down the flanks and getting balls into the box.
As the game was drawing to a close, the fear was that Reading might nick it and they nearly did with just 10 mins left. Doyle forced Smith into a brilliant reaction save, when he headed a Hunt cross goalwards. It was heading for the back of the net, until Smith somehow managed to get a hand to the ball and push it onto the bar. Bennett picked up the loose ball and made the all important clearance, that ended the visitors best chance of the game.
0-0 was the outcome, but the score line belies a more than credible Forest display. To a man they played well and some even excelled. If the rest of our season is to be measured on this performance, we won't have much to complain or worry about. It's very early days, but the omens are good. It could be a good year, it could even be a very good year.
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Date:Sunday August 10 2008
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