Reds Find Form At Last
March 24, 2007. 3pm
Forest put in a performance today that showed they may well be serious about promotion from the graveyard of League 1, by beating a sorry Cheltenham side 3-0 at the City Ground. It was a game they dominated from start to finish and could have had many more.
To be honest, the Robins were no great shakes and made their intentions clear from the start, by putting every man behind the ball in an effort to stifle the game and keep the Reds at bay. They hardly ventured out of there own half and seemed set on damage limitation. It was hard to imagine that this was the same side that beat Doncaster Rovers 2-0 the previous week. Forest had a catalogue of chances before Holt the ginger put us in front on 33 mins, namely a McGugan free kick that was deflected for a corner. Commons also hit the post with a fine effort from outside the box. But when the breakthrough came, it was a well worked goal, started and finished by the ginger one, with his first goal since 2005. Holt the ginger picked up the ball in the centre circle and neatly fed it to the on running Lester, who looked to be shaping up for a shot on goal, but he instead slid the ball through to the advancing ginger Holt, who calmly side footed the ball home. The Robins only attempt of the half came just before the break, when Rosa sent a neat shot over the bar.
1-0 at the interval really flattered Cheltenham. Results elsewhere would give the players heart in the second half as all our main promotion rivals were drawing, except Scunthorpe who were losing 1-0 away to Orient.
The second half got underway in the same fashion as the first and at times, for the first time all season Forest threatened to look like a football team. Neat, passing and flowing football was breaking out all over the pitch. Commons was getting stuck in, ginger Holt was dominating in midfield, McGugan once again looked a player far in advance of his years and Lester and Grant Holt were a handful upfront. It looked like only a matter of time before the scoreline was added to and it was.
The second came from a Grant Holt cross, that was aiming for McGugan's head, but Perch rose above him to head the ball home on 57 mins. Calderwood made a double switch. Off went Grant Holt and McGugan and on came Dobie and Tyson. Tyson could have scored with almost his first touch. Latching onto a through ball from Chambers, the striker turned in an instant to let off a shot that forced a good save from keeper Higgs. The Robins had a couple of half hearted attempts, but with Wright looking solid and Curtis and Chambers in fine form, there would be no way through for them.
Forest were awarded a penalty in the final minute for a nasty challenge by Duff on Luke Chambers. Tyson made short thrift over who would take the kick, by immediately picking up the ball. There was no mistaking his desire as he rifled the ball home giving Higgs no chance.
Forest showed today they are capable of getting out of this League. But they have another seven games to go and can not let up. At the end of the day, results elsewhere went quite well. Leaders Scunthorpe have had their ten point lead at the top whittled down to six and next weeks opponents Bristol City earned a last gasp winner at Doncaster to remain just four points in front. Calderwood's laughable statement a few weeks ago about catching Scunthorpe, all of a sudden doesn't sound so funny. It might just be that Forest are hitting form at the right time, just as others are losing theirs. Next weeks fixture in Bristol should be a lively affair.
Forest: Smith, Curtis, Chambers, Breckin, Wright, Perch, McGugan (Dobie 76), Gary Holt, Commons (Henry 88), Lester, Grant Holt (Tyson 76).
Subs Not Used: Pedersen, Bencherif.
Booked: Breckin, Perch.
Goals: Gary Holt 33, Perch 57, Tyson 90 pen.
Cheltenham: Higgs, Gill (Caines 72), Duff, Townsend, Armstrong, Melligan, Bird, Finnigan, Rosa (Spencer 67), Gillespie, Connor (Odejayi 58).
Subs Not Used: Scott Brown, Wylde.
Booked: Townsend, Finnigan.
Ref: P Melin (Surrey).