Opening Day Victory.
5 August 2006
Colin Calderwood began his reign as Forest manager, with an opening day victory at the expense of Bradford City. A crowd of 19,665 turned out to see Julian Bennett bag all three points for the Reds.
The game got off to the worse possible start for Forest as Tyson went down after an innocuous challenge from Wetherall within the first 5 mins. Tyson had to go off and was replaced by Grant Holt who was thrown straight into the action as a pass from Lester saw him through on goal, but his shot was deflected and went wide. Holt was in the thick of it soon after as he set up the Reds goal. His neat footwork saw him skip past two City defenders and put a good ball into the box, that found Bennett ready to pounce on the edge of the box to slot the ball home. Fans thought they had a legitimate claim for a penalty when Lester was brought down inside the box, but referee Penn waved play on. Forest were not to have things entirely there own way. Lee Holmes should have levelled things up for the visitors when clean through on goal, but his shot was mishit and went hopelessly wide. Shortly after, new City signing David Graham thought he had equalised when his goal bound effort was spectacularly saved by a fully outstretched Paul Smith tipping the ball out for a corner. Forest played some tidy football at times, but seemed happy to let Bradford come on to them. The Reds almost paid for this in first half stoppage time when Johnson beat the Forest defence and put in a dangerous cross that was cleared just in time by Cullip who made amends for some sloppy defending earlier.
After the break it was The Bantams who went on the attack. That man Dean Windass, who had been well martialled by the Reds defence got past Cullip and into the box. His curling lob went narrowly wide. Forest came back into the game and saw Lester and Holt combine well to give the Reds a chance. Lester pushed the ball through to Holt, who seemed to have no where to go. Holt powered his way through the City defence to see his shot go harmlessly wide. Bradford were having some lenghthy spells of posession, without causing the Reds too much worry. Lester was replaced by Harris on 66 mins.
Forest were awarded a penalty after Grant Holt was brought down in the area. Harris quickly and confidently picked the ball up and placed it on the spot. Harris hit the ball straight into the hands of the keeper. Fans were somewhat dismayed to see 4 mins of injury time added. In this period, Bradford could have scored twice. Smith had to pull off another excellent save from Windass and then in the final seconds City were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. Fortunately the ball went over the bar.
A win is a win and Calderwood will be happy with the three points, but there is clearly room for improvement. They will have the chance to improve on this as early as Tuesday evening when the Reds visit Blackpool.