Forest Remain Unbeaten
12 August 2006
Forest continued their winning ways with a third successive victory in a week. The Reds have yet to concede a goal in any of their opening games. Colin Calderwood will be delighted at his return to his former club as he received a frosty reception from the Northampton faithful.
The game got off to a dream start for the Reds when they were awarded a penalty in the third min for what looked like a harmless challenge on Grant Holt. Jack Lester once again confidently stepped up to take the kick, but unbelievably skyed the ball, for Forest's third successive penalty miss. Shortly after the Reds were awarded a free kick, which saw keeper Bunn save well and push the ball over for a corner. Wes Morgan met the resulting cross with a fierce header that looked goal bound, but Grant Holt got on the end of it for the second time in a week and touched it over the line. The ref disallowed this as he saw Holt apparently infringe the keeper. Northampton were probably having most of the possession, but rarely threatened the Forest goal. Despite the excitement of the first ten minutes, the game was a scrappy affair, with neither side able to find any rhythm. The Cobblers best chance of the half fell to Scott McGleish, who rose above the Forest defence only to head the ball wide.
During the break it was revealed by the stewards that some 100 Forest fans had been locked out of the game for not having tickets and that two had been ejected from the ground for the same reason. The guys, who were some of the most pleasant you will come across at an English football ground were having their work cut out by the largest away following seen at Sixfields for some time. Apparently FA inspectors were present at the game and would be none too happy at Forest fans having the audacity to stand at a football match. Normally i would have sympathised with the fans , but these people were three rows back and the folks behind were complaining. If the stewards had failed in their attempt to get the fans seated the clubs already small ground capacity could be reduced by up to 10%. If they explained this to you at other grounds in such a pleasant manner, a lot of trouble could be avoided.
As our exchanges with the stewards ended Forest took the lead 11 seconds into the second half. I heard a long ball was met by Grant Holt, who rifled a cross into the box which was met by former Red Chris Doig, who conspired to belt the ball into his own net from six yards. Northampton were to be reduced to ten men as McGleish was sent off for giving Bennett a forearm smash, firmly in the head. The Reds were able to take control of the game. Lester and Holt again combined well to release Clingan, whose effort shot agonisingly close over the bar.
On 76 mins a tired Lester was replaced by an industrious Neill Harris. He immediately forced keeper Bunn into his best save of the match when trying to lob the ball over him. Grant Holt almost set him up at the end, when some neat work saw him beat the Cobblers defence and pass to Harris, who once again was outdone by another fine save, as he turned and shot. Referee Mr Probert, who had made been making some strange decisions all afternoon, found almost five mins extra time to give the home crowd hope. Thankfully they failed to equalise.
This was probably not the game many fans anticipated and was not helped by some blustery conditions. A disjointed and scrappy affair it may have been, but the Reds can look back on the best start they have had to any campaign in many a year.
Northampton: Bunn, Crowe, Chambers, Doig, Holt, Bojic (Quinn 65), Burnell (Jess 70), Taylor (Bradley Johnson 80), Aiston, McGleish, Kirk.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Dyche.
Sent Off: McGleish (62).
Forest: Smith, Morgan, Cullip, Breckin, Southall, Perch, Thompson, Clingan, Bennett (Curtis 70), Grant Holt, Lester (Harris 76).
Subs Not Used: Padula, Pedersen, Weir-Daley.
Booked: Breckin, Bennett, Clingan.
Goals: Doig 46 og.
Ref: L Probert (Gloucestershire).