Forest Snatch The Points On Their Way Back To 2nd
Nottingham Forest regained 2nd spot in the table, extended their record of consecutive home wins to 10 games and got a huge slice of luck, on their way to bagging all 3 points by beating Swansea City 1-0 at the City Ground today.
The Swans came to town, with a reputation of free flowing, entertaining football, but a string of injuries to Paulo Sousa's side, meant they were not at their tippy tappy best today. That was fortunate for the Reds', because neither were they. Both sides had chances to win the game, but it was the home side that was the more wasteful in front of goal.
One of the best things on show today, was debutant George Boyd. The lanky, long haired striker played upfront with Blackstock and showed enough throughout the 90 mins, to suggest that he's the real deal and will be a positive acquisition, whilst on his loan spell from Posh. He worked hard today and his control of the ball when under pressure and his silky skills when running with it, indicates that he could bag a hatful of goals, when we get back to playing the football that made us such a force earlier in the season.
Forest suffered what could turn out to be a hammer blow to their promotion aspirations after only 10 mins, when captain Paul McKenna had to be replaced, due to suspected knee ligament damage. His replacement Lewis McGugan was given the opportunity to show he should be a regular in the side, but unfortunately for him, he failed to grasp it. McGugan looked like a player low in confidence and it showed as he failed to have any real impact on the game.
The first half saw both sides have chances to take the lead and the clearest of them all fell to Chris Cohen, who failed to hit the target from an Anderson cross. The ball fell invitingly in front of the stand in left back, but instead of heading the ball goalwards, he opted to side foot it, missing the target completely.
This was proving to be a tough game for both teams. Both worked hard and both tried and failed to get on top. Neither side could find the killer pass to set their strikers free and both were guilty of misplacing passes and giving the ball away all too often. When Swansea did manage to break free of the Forest midfield, we would somehow scramble the ball away and get it to safety. We were missing the composure of Wilson at the back today, with his stand in Luke Chambers looking shaky at times.
Any threats from Swansea today, usually came from defensive mistakes from the home side. One such error by Chambers, saw him gift the ball to Kuqi. The striker sent in a dangerous low ball across the face of goal, but fortunately for the Reds', it went unchallenged on it's way out for a goal kick.
If that was a let off for the Reds', they were to get an even bigger one soon after. Pratley found himself clean through on goal, with only the keeper and Chris Cohen in his way. Cohen decided to stop the Swansea player in his tracks and Pratley went to his knees, after the slightest of contact from the Forest defender. It looked to everyone in the ground a clear cut penalty, but referee Webster surprisingly waved play on, much to the Swansea players dismay. Although Pratley may have gone to ground too easily, he did look to have been fouled on his way to goal. Forest will count themselves very lucky indeed to have got away with that one.
Just as you were beginning to accept that this game was heading for a draw, Forest grabbed the winner. A Lewis McGugan corner, in the first minute of injury time, was met by Luke Chambers, who beat De Vries to the ball and headed it home. It sent the 25,000 crowd into delirium and reignited the dream of automatic promotion. It may have been a slightly fortuitous win, but it will be one the Reds' will take gladly. It's games like this that can define a season and time will tell, if this was one of those. A draw might have been a fair result, but we'll happily take the win.