Davies Puts Fight Back Into Forest
Nottingham Forest fought back from a goal down to take all three points against a 10 man Sheffield Wednesday side, in a hard fought encounter at the City Ground last night.
Billy Davies was forced to make three changes from the side that drew with the Sheep on Friday, with Arron Davies and McCleary, replacing the injured Anderson and Cohen and young kid on the block, Joe Heath was drafted in at left back. I have to be honest and say I missed the Wendies' opening goal, due to being unavoidably late. But from the info I gleaned, our defence failed to react effectively with a corner and Jermaine Johnson had a free header at goal, to put the visitors in the lead. My first vision of the night, was to witness three and a half thousand Wendies jumping for joy and giving it the big one. Never a pleasing sight with any large away following.
Immediately after the goal, Forest looked shaken and were giving the ball away needlessly. We were looking like Forest at their worst under Calderwood and were getting out muscled and outfought by a much more physical and workman like Wednesday.
That crazy and unimpressive spell from Forest lasted only six minutes, because no sooner were we behind and looking a mess, than we were level and running them ragged. The equaliser was an absolute beauty, both in it's build up and in it's execution. Garath McCleary won the ball just inside the Wendies half and ran past a couple of chasing Owls. He then sent Tyson on his way, with a defence splitting pass, that was timed to perfection. The on rushing Tyson was equal to the quality of the ball with his pace that left the Owls defenders for dead. He hit the ball with power and passed the helpless Lee Grant and into the net. That felt good and it soon shut up a noisy away contingent, who were quite frankly getting on me tits.
It has to be said that Brian Laws has got the Wednesday side set up pretty well and physically they are a match for any side in the division. It was possibly this side of their game that let them down last night, because on 39 minutes, Francis Jeffers was deservedly given his marching orders for a two footed tackle on Heath, both off the ground incidentally. That was just about the only correct decision that referee Mr. Mathieson made all night long. The Wendies were lucky to end the half with ten men, let alone eleven, as the tackles began to fly in. The one pleasing aspect amidst all this, was that the Reds' were a match and the Forest of old, would have crumbled under such an onslaught of the physical stuff.
The second half got under way with Forest showing that despite their youthfulness and good looks, they wouldn't be outfought in the muscle department. Breckin went straight in the book for a tough challenge on former Ram Marcus Tudgay. The resultant free kick, should have seen the visitors take the lead, but Tudgay inexplicably and mercifully for us, put his header wide of the target from only a few yards out and also infront of a seemingly open goal.
This was a let off for us, because we were struggling to make the extra man count. In fairness to the Owls, you wouldn't have known that they were a man down. Following the Tudgay howler, Forest took control and had their best spell of the game. The good work from the lads ended with a goal from a corner. McGugan's floated kick, went deep into the box, where Chambers rose above all infront of him to glance his header into the net and at the same time send the home crowd delerius.
Garner came on and quickly went into the book. The result of the booking, means he misses the game with the Sheep next week, but he did have time to almost make it three and put the game beyond the visitors. Unfortunately, his goalbound effort was well saved by the sprawling Grant.
A tense six minutes of injury time saw the visitors try hard, but Forest are a much more canny bunch these days under the guidance of Davies and ran the clock down well. This wasn't a game for the feint hearted, as the tackles flew in. It wasn't a game for the purists either, but it was full to the brim with passion and endeavour from both teams. Fortunately and just for once, the Reds' came out on top and showed that when it comes down to it, we're as tough as they come, despite us being a team so young and a team supposedly lacking experience. What with the Mutton Molestors losing and hitting the relegation zone as well and us climbing all the way up the table to the dizzy heights of 17th, it was a bloody good night all round. Apart from being late of course.