Super Rob Earns Forest Replay
Two tribes went to war at Prideless Park last night, in the 4th round of the FA Cup. In a game of two halves, Derby and Forest both battled it out, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw and a replay at the City Ground a week on Wednesday.
Forest fans were given the sad news before the game that manager Billy Davies would be absent, due to his Son undergoing an operation in Glasgow. It was an apt time to realise that there are actually more important things than football, even when facing your fiercest rivals in an FA Cup game. We wish his Son a speedy recovery and hope to see Billy back soon.
That left Kelly in charge of team affairs and he acquitted himself well. The lads came out and looked to be up for it and there was certainly fire in the bellies, as the challenges flew in from both sides. It was the home side who settled the quickest though and they seemed to have a gameplan right from the start. That gameplan was to target Joel Lynch. He was identified as the weak link and the Rams were determined to exploit it.
Forest were pegged back for long spells of the first half with the midfield being overrun. Cohen was finding himself being pulled back to bail out the hapless Lynch, as winger Nacer Barazite was ripping him to bits. It was Barazite who had the first real chance on goal, when he forced Smith into a save from distance.
The Rams were having the lions share of possession, but the defence was holding firm. Despite the home sides dominance though, they looked to be missing that cutting edge. The edge that was needed came in the form of Barazite, who once again put in a decent ball from the right. His cross into the box, found the Reds' defence flat footed, with no one challenging for the ball. Paul Green allowed Barazite's low cross to go through his legs and into the path of Hulse, who swung at the ball to put the home side one up.
The 1-0 lead at the break at least meant that Forest were still in the game, despite being out of it for much of the first half. You hoped that a right royal rollicking
was being delivered during the interval from Kelly and that the lads would pose something of a threat in the second period. As things turned out, it seems Kelly did just that.
The hapless Lynch was replaced by McCleary and Cohen went to left back. If Lynch never plays again for Forest, his performance in this one won't have been a total waste. Cohen at the back gave us some stability and we looked all the better for it. Right from the restart we looked a totally different side. It was now the Reds' turn to take control and we could have pulled a goal back almost straight away. Wilson, who has come in for a fair amount of stick himself this season, went on a great run through the middle of the park. He did well to put a great through ball into the path of Tyson. Nathan made the most of his pace as he beat the Rams defence. Although his shot was saved by Bywater, it was a sign of intent from the lads that they were not going to lie down.
As Forest pressed forward and took control of the game, both Chambers and Anderson went close with efforts that had the home side rattled. Even Savage was being made to work in this half and wasn't finding it as easy as the first. Both Perch and McGugan upped their games, to ensure the Welshman was kept quiet. Barazite was also being kept under close scrutiny, as the Reds' piled on the pressure in a bid to get the equaliser.
On 64 minutes, Forest got the reward they so richly deserved. McCleary received the ball on the right flank and beat his man well, to deliver a great low cross into the box. Tyson threw a great dummy and allowed the ball to go through his legs and into the path of Rob Earnshw. Little Earn showed great composure, as he controlled the ball and swivelled a shot passed Bywater and into the net. The Forest fans behind the goal went ballistic, as parity was restored.
With 20 minutes to go, enter Kris Commons. His arrival was greeted with the boos' you'd expect from the Forest faithful, but they were almost silenced straight away with his first touch of the ball. He should have done better, when a floated ball into the box found him unmarked on the far post. His shot went high and wide, much to the delight of the fans at the other end of the ground. It was Commons again who could have put the home side into the next round, but his shot from the edge of the box went just over the bar.
Ten minutes from time saw Davies replace Anderson, after the winger suffered a horrible injury to his arm. From what I've seen of the pictures, it looks like a break. We wish him a swift recovery, but that one doesn't look too good.
With 6 minutes of injury time it was going to be a tense finish. The injury to Anderson upset our rythmn and threw us off our game, but the lads held out for a deserved draw and we get to do it all again at our place. We're in the hat on Sunday for the 5th round draw and that is a fair result for both us and our rivals.