Forest Put The Pressure On Relegation Rivals
April 18, 2009
Forest ran out 1-0 winners and collected a vital three points at the City Ground this afternoon and in the process, gave our survival hopes a massive boost. It wasn't the best of football matches, but at this stage of the season, it's points that matter. Thanks to a second half goal from James Perch, we're out of the bottom three.....for now at least.
Once again Billy Davies was forced to make changes to the side that did so well over the Easter weekend, with Luke Chambers replacing the suspended Wilson and James Perch moving to right back. McGugan and Anderson played from the start and Ian Breckin was dropped to the bench. Leading scorer Robert Earnshaw was deemed fit to make the bench, but as things turned out, Davies was able to keep him off and hopefully gain some more time to regain fitness.
The first half was a mainly forgettable affair, with each side having only one chance a piece to show for their efforts. It might have been a better game though, if referee Steve Tanner had let things flow instead of being over fussy and at times inept. A Chambers header that rattled the bar, was the best chance the Reds' had in the entire first 45 minutes.
Any neutrals in the near 28,000 crowd would have been forgiven for not knowing how much we needed the points today. But if the first half ended with a whimper, the second started with a bang. Within a minute of the restart, Forest had the lead. Some good work from McGugan found Blackstock in the box. He slid a delightful ball through to the on rushing Perch, who had the simplest of tasks in sliding the ball home. This livened up an otherwise quiet City Ground and brought about the cauldron type atmosphere the manager had called for pre match.
For the first time in the game Forest began to look the part and could have gone further ahead when McCleary hit one over the bar. Referee Tanner was determined to spoil things and on another day some of his crazy decisions could have gone against us. Keiran Westwood pulled off a great save from a Cohen strike to deny the Reds' further and a deflected Osbourne shot came to the rescue of City, who it has to be said were quite poor.
This may not have been a vintage display from either side today, but from a Forest perspective, it's the result that matters. Coventry were clearly a side with nothing to play for, but they did pose something of a threat in the final few minutes. Their best spell of the game came in extra time, to give the home fans something to worry about. A series of high balls into the box caused panic on the terraces, but thankfully our usually fragile defence held firm and were able to run down the clock.
The final whistle brought about jubilant scenes amongst the crowd and the players were clearly pleased as well, as they returned the applause. Alot can happen with Norwich and Barnsley playing over the coming days, but for now at least we're out of the relegation zone and can breathe a sigh of relief. There's just two games left to play now, but we're in with a very good shout. The one thing this win does do, is to pile the pressure back on the teams in this dogfight with us.