Reds' Remain Top
The City Ground
16 September 2006
This was a keenly fought contest at The City Ground this afternoon and anyone who thought that Carlisle would sit back and see what Forest could throw at them were in for a surprise, because The Cumbrians travelled South in numbers to have a real go at the early League 1 pace setters.
Forest probably started the better of the two sides and for the first fifteen minutes were looking at ease and more importantly, looking better than against Oldham. As early as the 2nd min Grant Holts' deflected cross, just missed the bar and The Reds' had their first corner of the game. Junior Agogo, playing his first full 90 mins for the club found space just outside the area and was able to pick out Harris, whose effort was well saved by keeper Kieren Westwood. Grant Holt came close again on 13 mins after a neat lob from Southall found him in the box, his powerful shot went agonisingly wide. Minutes later it was the turn of Agogo to be the nearly man. He managed to turn and lose his marker, he let loose a thunderbolt that was somehow turned over by Westwood.
Then comes disallowed goal number 1. A through ball, sees Grant Holt pop up from no where and blast the ball past the keeper, but the linesman was straight up with the flag. Two mins later on 30, Forest are awarded a penalty after Agogo was adjudged to have been felled in the box. The ref clearly missed the Reds' striker deliberately handle the ball seconds earlier, but there were few complaints from the fans. The resulting kick by Grant Holt was to be a tame shot, easily saved by the keeper. Forest may have been having the better of the chances, but it was The Northumbrians who were playing the better football, albeit without an end product. They did have their moments.
It took only 2 mins after the break for Forest to chalk up disallowed goal number 2, as Harris met a lovely ball put into the box by Bennett, but Harris clearly handled as he put the ball in the net. On 49 mins Carlisle were to have their best chance of the game as a Lumsden header had keeper Smith beaten. His lob, that Smith thought was going over, suddenly dipped and bounced off the bar.
Grant Holt was replaced on 62 mins by Scott Dobie, in an effort to find a goal, but it was Carlisle who were taking control now. Murray should have given the visitors the lead, when a low cross into the box, saw him in acres of space and no Forest players in sight, but his effort missed an open goal. A succession of corners saw The Reds' put under extreme pressure, but they somehow held firm. With 5 mins to go Calderwood swapped Harris for Lester and Gary Holt for Thompson.
Up until this moment the ref was having a good game, apart from missing Agogos' basketball skills, he hadn't put a foot wrong, but all good things have to come to an end. Within two mins of coming on, Lester went passed two defenders in the box and was clearly given the slightest of touches and went down. Lesters' theatrics earned him a booking instead of a penalty. Two mins later Agogo was brought down in an even more blatant way than Lester, but Mr Beeby waved play on. With almost the last kick of the game Carlisle were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Fortunately the kick hit the wall and The Reds' held on.
This was a hard fought point for Forest, who met their stiffest opposition to date. Every side they face in League 1 will treat a meeting with The Reds' as a cup final as Carlisle did today. It remains to be seen if they can play with the same level of commitment as they did this afternoon because they will have to do more of the same if they are going to progress from here. Style and substance may have been lacking today, but effort and commitment was a plenty, for an improved Forest. Carlisle may well argue they deserved all the points, but they would have gladly taken the draw before the game.
Forest: Smith, Perch, Morgan, Breckin, Southall, Gary Holt (Thompson 85), Harris (Lester 85), Clingan, Bennett, Agogo, Grant Holt (Dobie 63).
Subs Not Used: Padula, Pedersen.
Booked: Lester, Bennett.
Carlisle: Westwood, Raven (Arnison 66), Murphy, Gray, Aranalde, Murray (Billy 85), Lumsdon, Thirlwell, Hackney (Holmes 74), Hawley, Gall.
Subs Not Used: Williams, Livesey.
Referee: R.J.Beeby, Northampton.