THE REDS' ARE GOING UP! Forest 3-0 PNE
There...I've said it...Nottingham Forest are definitely going to win promotion this season! Like most supporters, I've avoided saying it for weeks, but after such an emphatic performance against a decent Preston North End, even manager Billy Davies must be thinking the same. It was unfortunate for Preston, that they were the latest victims of a total footballing display from Billy Davies' resurgent Nottingham Forest. Words can't explain how good we were today, but suffice to say, we won 3-0, kept a clean sheet, took all 3 points, stretch the unbeaten run to 14 games and sit joint 2nd in the table. Life doesn't get much better than this, if you're a Forest fan.
Preston will feel fortunate to have left the City Ground with just the 3 goals against them yesterday, such was the demolition job carried out by a quite brilliant Nottingham Forest. The Reds' systematically took their opponents apart and in every department, were better than them. From keeper Lee Camp, right through to centre forward, Dele Adebola, the Reds' just took the piss and put in a performance, that made us look like Brazil.
From the referee's first blow of the whistle, the lads came out of the blocks. Within the first 5 mins, Morgan had a header fly just wide of the post and Adebola forced a decent save out of keeper Lonegran. Captain Paul McKenna, playing against his former club, scored an absolute belter to open the scoring after just 16 mins. After some neat build up play, McKenna hit a half volley from 25 yards out, that had the keeper beaten all ends up. To his credit, the former Preston man didn't celebrate his first goal for Forest, he just took the congratulations of his team mates and went about his work.
From defence to attack, Forest looked sublime. They stroked the ball around with ease and showed the Sky cameras and the watching TV audience, that Nottingham Forest are back and that this time, we mean business. Young Majewski was the instigator of most of the good stuff the Reds' produced and along with the work rate of Cohen and McKenna at his side, dominated the play in the middle of the park. Wilson and Morgan at the heart of defence, didn't let anything past and with Shorey and Gunter on the flanks, they terrorised the Whites all through the game.
On loan defender Nicky Shorey, showed precisely why we have to make him a permanent signing, with one of many quality crosses in the game. On 25 mins, he sent in another precisely aimed ball, that was met by the destructive Adebola. Dele knocked the ball into the net and made it 2-0 at the break.
The only downer to a truly brilliant day out, was the rather poor attendance of 21.000. It is the week before Christmas and people do have more important things to do with their cash, but what's happening on the banks of the Trent right now, deserves too be seen by a bigger audience than that. Those that were there, were happy during the interval and even the bitingly cold weather couldn't put a damper on things.
The second half saw the visitors try and make a game of it. They began to play the tippy tappy stuff that we had demonstrated in the first half. Chaplow and Wallace sent chances just wide, to let the home side know it wasn't all one way traffic. Cohen and Earnshaw saw efforts go wide as well, as the game became more open, with both teams going for it. This was a festival of football and it was Forest who were winning it.
Billy Davies is proving himself to be a tactical magician. Preston were becoming a threat and although we may have been 2 goals to the good, he wasn't satisfied. He saw the threat the visitors posed and saw the need for change. On came McCleary for Majewski and soon after, McGugan for Adebola. The changes saw the home side step up a gear and we needed to. Preston were coming back into it, but not for long.
McCleary added some much needed pace down the wing and the Whites struggled to cope. He took on their defence and caused them no end of problems. The changes brought about a rise in tempo and the Reds' were on the attack again. The visitors may have started the second half the stronger, but it was the home side that were going to end it that way. The 3rd and decisive goal was scored by McGugan. He met another well delivered ball from Shorey, to stroke the ball into the net, to give the Reds' an unassailable lead.
3-0 and 14 games unbeaten is a terrific way to end the year. Billy Davies might be saying we aren't ready for promotion, but he's a liar. This team is going places and we're going all the way to the Prem. Merry Christmas, one and all.