Cardiff 1-1 Forest: IT WAS OFFSIDE!
Cardiff City Stadium
It may have taken Forest until the 91st minute to salvage a point from this game, but make no mistake...Forest played Cardiff City off the park... on their own turf... and were unlucky to come away with only a point, in a match they truly deserved to win!
Both teams went into this game as the inform sides of the Championship and in fairness, neither failed to disappoint. Although Forest started the brightest and played the better football, it was the home side Cardiff City, that had the better chances on the night and the clearest of clear cut chances to win the game. As it was, thanks to some last ditch defending and some suberb goalkeeping from Lee Camp, Cardiff were held to a draw and a draw they may well be mightilly grateful of, come the end of the season.
This was a game for the purists, because both sides stroked the ball around the park with the ease and nonchalance of Brazil. It was so easy on the eye at times, that you soon forgot it was two Championship sides knocking nine bells out of each other. With Whittingham, Bothroyd and McPhail, Cardiff had enough ammo to hurt any side in the division. But to counter that, Forest had Moussi, McKenna and Majewski, to put paid to a Cardiff side with their eyes on the top spot in the table.
Although Forest went into the break at 0-0 and probably the better side, it was Cardiff who had the better chances to take the lead. Camp made a fantastic double save first from a Bothroyd shot, then from the Leadley follow up to deny the home side the lead. Wilson later made a last ditch tackle on Bothroyd to deny him a goal and all this inbetween a nailed on penalty claim from the Reds', when Anderson was clearly felled in the box, after a clumsy challenge from Adam Matthews. Referee Mr. Salisbury definitely got it wrong, when he decided that Ando made more of the foul than it was.
Lee Camp did more to secure his place as the number 1 choice in the nets, as he pulled off a magnificent save from a Chopra shot, just before the break. A full stretch save, that was only just tipped over the bar, should do enough to silence the 'Smith' fans into admitting, that Camp is rightly the number 1 choice for the keepers' jersey in the Forest goal. It looked like a goal...it should have been a goal... but Camp decided otherwise, with a wonderful one handed save.
The second half saw the home side make more of a fist of things and they certainly started the better. As the half progressed, the match took on the look of a heavy weight boxing match, as each side exchanged blows. Neither side looked like giving way, until the home team delivered the first knockdown. Cardiff scored a beautiful goal, although it was a mile offside. Chopra delivered a defence splitting ball, that found Bothroyd. The Cardiff striker although clearly offside, was allowed to run clear and onto the throughball from Chopra. Bothroyd made it look easy from there and slotted the ball past the helpless Camp, to put the Bluebirds surprisingly and maybe rather undeservedly one up.
The Forest of old would have been dead and buried at this stage, but under the stewardship of one Billy Davies, we're made of sterner stuff these days. McGugan came on for Moussi and Adebola replaced Majewski. Although the changes didn't have an immediate impact, they were called for and were probably the right decisions at the right time. The two teams continued to play cat and mouse with each other and as the game was heading for a close, you were just beginning to think this would be a galant defeat.
Thanks to the never say die spirit instilled by Billy Davies, this Forest side doesn't know when it's beaten. In the first minute of four minutes of injury time, Forest got their deserved equaliser. Lewis McGugan hit an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box to draw the teams level. It sent the players and visiting supporters into raptures and it was no less than we deserved. It ended all square and after a little reflection, probably a fair result. Their goal was off side, we should have had a penalty, but we still did well to get away with a draw.