Forest 3 Port Vale 0
26 December 2006
If ever Nottingham Forest needed a win, then it was today. Recent performances had suggested that their promotion credentials were looking a little suspect, but a convincing display in front of nearly 23,000 showed the Reds' were deserving of their top of the table position.
Nathan Tyson got the Reds' off to a fine start with the cheekiest goal you are ever likely to see. Junior Agogo hit a thunderbolt into the box, that Tyson sidekicked into the net after 13 mins. Forest continued to dominate without any real threat from Vale.
The second half started with Vale pushing for the equaliser. Although Smith was rarely troubled, you knew Forest needed another goal to make things more comfortable. Tyson was replaced on 57 mins by Grant Holt, who immediately showed the Boxing Day crowd why he should be in the starting 11. A neat through ball from the second substitute Lester found Holt clear on goal. The striker hit a powerful shot into the back of the net, 2-0 and the Reds' had the much needed cushion they were looking for. Port Vale did not look like a side that had previously been unbeaten in the last four matches, although they played some tidy football, they offered no threat to the Reds'. Even hotshot Leon Constantine was having a quiet game.
The third goal came in the 90th min, when Clingan found an unmarked Holt on the edge of the box. He rifled a shot low into the net from eighteen yards to send the City Ground faithful home in a good mood.
This was a must win game for Forest and they won in convincing style. Calderwood answered his critics with some inspired substitutions, that effectively changed the game. It will give the manager food for thought in the coming week as to what selection he opts for in his next game. Still top of the League, still two points clear, still having a laugh.
Forest: Smith, Thompson, Cullip, Breckin, Perch, Southall, Clingan, Curtis, Commons (Lester 60), Agogo (Gary Holt 74), Tyson (Grant Holt 57).
Subs Not Used: Pedersen, Dobie.
Booked: Thompson, Southall.
Goals: Tyson 13, Grant Holt 65, 90.
Port Vale: Goodlad, McGregor, Pilkington, Fortune, Miles (Husbands 29), Abbey, Harsley, Sonner, Jeff Smith, Sodje, Constantine.
Subs Not Used: Anyon, Walker, Cardle, Lowndes. Booked: McGregor.
Ref: C Boyeson (E Yorkshire).