Playoffs Here We Come! Forest 0-0 Cardiff
For a 0-0 draw, this was as entertaining and enthralling as they come. Chances for both sides and plenty of incidents to keep the 22,000 crowd and a watching TV audience glued to the proceedings. Although we missed the opportunity to set a new home record for the number of consecutive games won, it was a game that saw both sides miss chances to win the game and take the points. It also means that nothing is settled yet, in terms of the Playoffs, but you were left thinking that these were two sides that would have much to say in how the Championship table looks on the final day of the season.
Both teams were on the attack from the referees whistle and it was the Reds` to have the first strike on goal. A well delivered Majewski free kick, was met by Blackstock in the visitors box, but his header was a tame one and easily saved by Marshall in the Cardiff goal. Soon after, Cardiff won a corner and the resulting goalmouth scramble, saw Ledley`s shot deflected over the bar. Forest were living dangerously, but eventually managed to scoop the ball away to safety.
With barely 7 minutes gone, former Bluebirds favourite Robert Earnshaw missed a guilt edged chance to put Forest 1 up. Earnshaw got the better of Blake, after the defender misread the bounce of the ball. He made good use of his pace and ran ahead of his man. Earnie was straight through on goal and with only the keeper to beat, seemed certain to score, but for the second season running in this fixture, he failed to hit the net. He hit his shot at Marshall, who was able to stick out his foot and deflect the ball away for a corner.
A McCormack free kick brought a desperate save out of Camp, as the visitors threatened to gain control of the game. But, whilst they were having the better of the possession, their chances on the Forest goal were few. Cohen was next up to miss for the Reds`. A great run down the right wing, had Forest on the attack and the Bluebirds defence struggling to get back in time. A well delivered ball into the box, saw the Forest midfielder fail to get there in time, when all it needed was a foot on the end of it to put it in the Cardiff net. The first half ended with a dodgy looking offside being given against Chopra. Forest were saved by the linesman`s flag though and the fact that the strikers effort went narrowly wide.
Thanks to Mr. Bexon`s draconian measures over alcohol sales, the shutters were firmly down at the break. This left supporters watching the TV replays on the concourse screens and ruing the two missed chances from Earnie and Cohen. We were also left wondering how neither side had broke the deadlock, in what was a tense and entertaining game.
The visitors may have just edged the first half, but Forest were to take control in the second for large periods and played some great stuff at times. Cardiff played their part in it as well, but it would be Forest left wondering how all 3 points escaped them, in a game they could have won. Certain players stepped up to the mark today for Forest and none more so than Guy Moussi. A lot is expected of the Frenchman due to the absence of captain Paul McKenna, but if recent performances are anything to go by, then he`ll do the job just fine.
As the game was entering it`s final throws, Blackstock was given the opportunity to seal the game for the home side. Unfortunately for him, his diagonal shot across the goal, forced a great save out of Marshall, who managed to get his fingertip to the ball and push it out wide. A couple of late dramas saw an ugly but also amusing end to the game, when McCormack attempted to cut Gunter in two on the byline. The challenge on Gunter warranted a straight red in my book, but referee Foy saw fit to only issue a yellow. Then, two Cardiff players squared up to each other and had a right go at it. In my opinion, Gerrard definitely put his head on Marshall`s and gave him what for. The keeper was giving as good as he was getting also, as arms were swinging like bees wings. The ref decided the best policy was to do nothing, but it looked like one should have gone to me, at least according to the rules of the game.
Both teams will be happy with the draw and both will argue they could have had the points. A draw was probably a fair result, but Forest did miss some golden chances to win it outright. The day ended with Newcastle being guarateed promotion, which will come as little surprise, but the fight for second goes on, if only in vein until West Brom claim it once and for all at the weekend. We`re still 3rd, still up there and still living the dream. What a season it`s beenů..we`d have given anything for this back in August.