Missed Chances Cost Forest First Win
Nottingham Forest had to battle and scrap for a hard earned point at the City Ground yesterday, in their 1-1- draw with Millwall. Despite having enough chances on goal to win the game handsomely, the Reds' would end up cursing a magnificent performance from Lions keeper David Forde, as well as some woeful finishing of their own in front of goal.
For all the talk of unrest and anger amongst supporters, there was no sign of the expected protests or anti board chants at the game. Infact, there seemed to me to be a concerted effort from the stands to get behind the eleven men on the pitch and cheer the lads on. The supporters did their job yesterday and ignored what was going on behind the scenes at the club and got behind the team from the start. They stuck with them too, even after going a goal down early on and even when Blackstock hit his penalty way over the bar.
The game started brightly for Forest and we could have taken the lead as early as the 2nd minute. Majewski won a free kick just outside the box after being scythed down by the Millwall defence. This was to become a regular feature during the game, as the Lions clearly had him picked out as our danger man and dished out some special treatment on him in an effort to keep him out of the game. Earnshaw struck the ball well from the resulting free kick and forced the first of many good saves out of Forde in the Millwall goal.
The Lions bounced back from their early scare, by hitting Forest on the break and taking the lead. The entire Reds' defence went AWOL, as Schofield sent a cross into the box that was headed home by an unchallenged and unmarked Morison inside the box. That was after only 4 minutes and it looked like it was going to be another fruitless afternoon for the lads.
Forest were given the opportunity to level the scores almost immediately after the Lions took the lead. Tyson was felled in the box and won a penalty, which Dex duly stepped up to take. It was an awful spot kick from the Reds' striker, in which he couldn't have hit the ball higher or wider if he tried. The visiting fans were predictably full of themselves and who could blame them after the start they had made to the game.
There were times in the first half when Forest looked devoid of confidence and were showing signs of trepidation in their play. This allowed Millwall to take control the game and made them hard to break down. They almost doubled their lead after a speculative long range effort from our former front man Harris. His attempted lob over the keeper had Camp scrambling backwards to tap the ball over and out for a corner.
There were more worries for the homeside to deal with, as striker Robert Earnshaw left the field with an injury to be replaced by Paul Anderson. I don't know what the injury was, but it didn't look good as he was led off the pitch and straight down the tunnel.
Chances from Tyson and Cohen saw the Reds' go close to equalising, but a combination of good goalkeeping and not so good finishing, saw the visitors take their lead into the break.
If Millwall had the better of the first half, then it was Forest who were to have the better of the second. Despite the visitors just missing the target from a shot across goal in the opening minute of half, it was to be virtually all Forest for the next 45 minutes. What the Reds' couldn't account for, was a quite brilliant display from Forde in the visitors goal. He was turning into a bit of a pain in the arse from a Forest perspective, as he saved a series of goalbound efforts from Morgan, Blackstock and Tyson. His best moment in the game saw him pull off a succession of saves, as the ball pinged in and around the box but just wouldn't go in the net.
Lewis McGugan came on as a replacement for Paul McKenna after 76 minutes and it has to be said, he did make a difference and gave us a little bit more of an attacking threat when going forward. Just as we were all beginning to think it wasn't going to be our day, Blackstock put us level with the unlikeliest of goals. Cohen looked to have mis hit his cross into the box, but just as it looked as though it was going out of play, the ball fell from the air and from where I was sat in the Trent End it appeared to hit the club's top scorer on the head and bounce into the net.
The last 10 minutes saw both sides with chances to win the game, but in the end the points would have to be shared. It wasn't the best performance from the home side that we've ever seen, but there was enough to suggest that elusive first win is not too far away.