The Only Way Is Up - Forest 4-1 Doncaster Rovers
Nottingham Forest go into nose bleed territory following this 4-1 pillaging of the Vikings, sitting comfortably in 4th place of the Championship. They also stretch their unbeaten run, to a very impressive 10 games.
Billy Davies went positive in this one and opted for Dex and Earnie up front. The team selection today, showed that Davies would be going for it, as he also gave starts to Majewski and McCleary. 4-1 may have been the final scoreline, but Donny were not that bad and if they'd been a bit more clinical up front, they could have inflicted more damage on the day. As it was, Forest slowly and assuredly picked them off and ran out comfortable and deserved winners.
The first 10 mins were very cagey, with both sides content to pass the ball around amongst themselves, without actually doing anything with it. Once the teams had settled, it became a more open game as they both dared to venture further up the park.
The first goal came after 17 mins and it was from another well delivered corner from young Maj. Gunter got a decent header on it, but was cleared by the Donny defence. The ball though, only went out as far as Anderson, who saw his well drilled shot deflected into the net by Gareth Roberts.
The football from both sides, although neat and tidy, produced few chances in the half. Donny did look capable of hurting us and did pass the ball around like we know they can, but after 45 mins, they never really threatened Camp, who didn't have a save to make.
There was a certain feeling of contentment at half time amongst the fans and rightly so. The lads are producing some of the best football we've seen in years and it's becoming a regular feature of our play. Despite all that, we are still nervous and probably can't quite believe what's happening at the club, before our very eyes. Twelve months ago we were dead certs for relegation, but kook at us now.....we really do look like serious contenders. Must keep our feet on the ground though, because Billy says we're not quite ready yet.
McCleary and Gunter were linking up well throughout the game and caused no end of problems for the Donny defence. McCleary needed to put in a good display to silence his doubters and he did that with ease today. He was composed, confident and didn't look out of place in a Championship side. He still needs to work on aspects of his game, but he's got what it takes and will only get better. Gunter proved to be a thorn in the visitors side all afternoon, with his pacey runs and pin point crosses into the box wreaking havoc in their defence.
Forest got their second on 59 mins, from the now customary well delivered corner from Majewski. Wes Morgan rose above the Donny defence and timed his leap perfectly to head the ball powerfully home. 2-0 to the Reds' and it was only going to get better.
Rovers in fairness to them, never lay down and began to create a few chances of their own. Chances fell to both Shiels and Oster, but both sent their efforts wide of the goal. The game now became more open and Donny were trying to get back. Just as Rovers were threatening a fightback, Forest hit them again, this time through Earnshaw. Majewski found him with a great pass, which the striker duly dispatched into the corner of the net. Donny then had a chance, but Sharp hit a header wide of the post. We may have been 3 to the good, but Billy Davies saw the threat was there from the visitors and decided it was time for change.
Lewis McGugan replaced Majewski after 79 mins. If any player in the Forest squad needed to show he was worthy of his place, it was young Lewis. He did that today and made an immediate impact when he come on, by scoring a wonderful goal. Some sublime build up play from the team saw McGugan pick the ball up on the edge of the box and from an acute angle, let rip with a shot, that had substitute keeper Smith beaten all ends up, as the ball flew past him and into the net. What a goal and what a scoreline.
I think the 4-0 scoreline was a little harsh on Donny, who had played some neat football, but they had no end product to their stylish play. They did get a consolation goal though in the 83 min. The diminutive Sharp was first to a cross and headed the ball home to give the travelling fans a little something to cheer.
This wasn't quite a vintage performance from the Reds' today, but it was professional and thorough. On occasions it was sublime and the football a joy to watch. Billy Davies says we're not quite there yet and not quite ready for promotion. God knows what we'll look like when he thinks we are, because right now we sit in a Playoff spot and we look like we could even push on from there. Next up it's Fester at home and they sit in 3rd. Bring it on I say, I can hardly wait.
For some reason, I couldn't get this tune out of my head after the game. It's a great big pile of dung, but it seemed quite apt for the moment. Enjoy, if you can.