Three Cheers For Stuart Attwell
November 2, 2008
Thanks to referee and Nottingham Forest fan Stuart Attwell, Forest come away from Prideless Park with a point. It was a hard fought and deserved draw, but Colin Calderwood will be buying the man in black a drink or three, following some bizzare decisions in the dieing moments of the game.
The first half was played in a typical derby fashion, with tackles flying in and quality in short supply. A bright moment for the Reds' came when Paul Anderson looked to have given us the lead on 16 mins, but his near post effort was ruled out for off side. The atmosphere inside the ground was electric, with the travelling support taking every opportunity to berate former player Kris Commons. It worked as well, because the former Forest playmaker was kept quiet for most of the game.
Although we once again looked dodgy at the back, they seemed to be coping well with what the home side were dishing out. Hulse was thankfully replaced towards the end of the first half due to injury, just as he was beginning to look a threat. Joel Lynch though, was having a mare and nearly gifted the Rams a goal when he gave the ball away just outside the box. Fortunately for us the threat came to nothing, as the home side lost out due to a timely Breckin intervention.
The 0-0 scoreline at the break was a good and probably fair indication of how the game had progressed. Chances were few for both sides, in what was a scrappy game of football that neither side dare lose. Forest were holding their own though and at least gave the fans signs of hope.
The second half started with Chambers replacing the injured Fletcher. Thankfully the tempo of the game began to increase and with it the number of bookings. Forest fan Attwell, started throwing out yellow cards like confetti, in an effort to keep control of the game. In one moment of madness he booked Lynch for timewasting, although he was doing his best to find a red shirt from his throw.
Forest and the travelling army of red and white, were in 7th heaven on 55 mins. An own goal from substitute Villa gave the Reds' the lead. It looked as though Chambers had put us in front, but TV replays showed that Villa deflected a cross into his own net to give the god guys the lead. Forest were to have their best spell of the game, as Earnshaw and Garner were beginning to look a real threat. Earnie had previously been denied by the impressive Leacock and Garner, although tiring, was a right pain in the backside to the Derby defence all afternoon.
Derby levelled on 66 mins through Villa. He made amends for his earlier howler, by scooping in a Jordan Stewart free-kick. The game now sprung into life and entering stage left was the star of the show, referee Stuart Attwell. On 74 mins he forgot he was a Forest fan and sent off McGugan for what looked like a great challenge. The Forest midfielder was given a straight red card for a tackle that was adjudjed to have been reckless by the baby faced ref. With Forest down to ten men, you had to fear the worst. But fair play to the lads today, they fought for the cause and in the end got their just rewards. The game became a more open affair with the home side trying to make the extra man count. Forest wouldn't lie down though and were determined to at least have a go.
As the game drew to a close, a draw was looking a fair result. It was a typical derby game, in which both sets of supporters would have claimed the moral victory, if it hadn't ended the way it did. But Attwell stole the show with a series of baffling decisions. First up, he denied the home side a goal and awarded a penalty, when it looked like a Derby player had handled inside the box. Reds' keper and former Ram Lee Camp, then made himself a Forest hero . First with a brilliant penalty save to deny Barazite and then a great save to deny Villa. As if Attwell hadn't done enough to convince the home fans that he was a Red, he denied Addison what looked like a perfectly good winner in the final seconds of the game.
All in all, a decent days work for the Reds' and one that could go along way to getting the season back on track. Not vintage by any means, but a fair result in the end.