There's Life In The Old Red Dog Yet
April 11, 2009, 3pm
Forest came from behind twice in this game, to pull off a dramatic win at the City Ground and in the process give their survival hopes a massive boost. It was a tense a nervous affair, with both teams appearing to be more afraid of losing than winning the game.
The Reds' started well and were on the attack from the off. Cohen delivered a well placed freekick into the box that was met by debutant Blackstock. The strikers header though, was a poor one and he missed the goal by some distance, when it seemed easier to score.
As the game began to settle the visitors took the lead. Turner flapped at a corner and went down in a heap, despite not being fouled. The mix up caused by his error, gave Sproule the easiest of goals as he just walked the ball over the line. That was a hammer blow to the lads, but in fairness to them their heads didn't drop.
Both teams were playing a cautious game, with neither looking as so they had the cutting edge. On numerous occasions Forest came to within shooting distance of the goal, but had no one that was prepared to take a punt. Instead of taking a risk, we would often just pass the ball back to the half way line to start again. At least we were keeping possession - I suppose.
The equaliser came just after the half hour mark and it was through good link up play between Blackstock and Earnie. The debut boy put a great throughball into the path of the advancing Earnshaw. Our midget striker got passed his City marker and hit the ball passed Basso and into the net. The first half ended on level terms, but despite the two goals, was a pretty dour affair.
If the first half was dull, then the second would more than make up for it. These are nervous times on Trentside and there is much at stake in the closing stages of this season. The Reds' started the half in much the same way as the first. Again we could have taken an early lead, when Cohen sent in another dangerous freekick. Unfortunately for us, no one could get on the end of it as the ball went harmlessly wide. The visitors were having a go too and could have gone in front after Turner once again came off his line and caused problems for our shaky defence. Another mix up between the keeper and Lynch, saw the goalbound effort cleared off the line by Wilson. That was a let off for the Reds'.
Davies made the first of three telling and game changing substitutions, taking off a tired looking Moussi for McCleary. The winger made a difference and terrorised the City defence with his pace. Just as we looked to be gaining some control, up popped that man mountain Adebola to take advantage of another mistake from Turner. The keeper once again came out for a ball and missed. The giant striker headed the ball passed the hapless keeper, to put the visitors 2-1 to the good. That hurt, it really did and the visiting fans lapped it up. The game had 1-1 written all over it and we looked to have screwed it up in the most grandiose of style. But this was a strange afternoon and we fought back. Another telling substitution was made by Davies, as he replaced Earnshaw with Garner.
The most contentious moment of the game came through the Forest equaliser. City were intent on timewasting to the fury of the home support. Basso made a meal of a nothing challenge in the box and was trying to buy time. When City put the ball out for a throwin Forest duly played it back in to one of their players. Jamie McAllister thought it wise to take his time and made little attempt to play the ball. He was then challenged by Gunter who was intent on hurrying him up. McAllister lost out and brought the defender down. That foul earned him his second booking and with it his marching orders. McGugan who had only moments earlier come on sent in a great freekick that was met by Garner to head home and give us a deserved equaliser. That brought the scores level and you thought a result. But Forest now started to make the best of an extra man and played their best football of the game. Basso pulled off a couple of great saves to keep the visitors in the game, but there was still time for Forest to go on and claim the points.
Dexter Blackstock, who was having a fairly quiet afternoon up until now made it the perfect debut with a great goal right at the death. He headed the ball down and hit a bullet of a shot passed Basso to send the City Ground into raptures. 3-2 was never a likely result, but it'as a welcome one and one we'll take gladly. Much will be made of the second Reds' equaliser, but we were only playing the visitors at their own game and we won.
This was a fantastic result, that should give us great heart for the last few games. We now sit 2 points above the drop zone and have been handed a lifeline, thanks to results on the day elsewhere. The tension was palpable, the result was ecstatic.