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Top Of The Tree For Xmas

Nottingham Forest
2 - 0
Port Vale

City Ground

December 22, 2007

Attendance: 21,407


Forest gave the fans the perfect Christmas present with the 2-0 win over Port Vale, as they move into pole position for the first time this season. It wasn't the most convincing performance, but they deserved the points and did just enough to keep a struggling Vale side at bay.

In many respects this game was all too reminiscent of the Northampton game, at least the first half was. Once again the Reds gave the ball away and made hard work of what should have been a banker of a home win. Vale were not without their chances and a better side would have punished us more severely.

Agogo missed a decent chance as early as the fourth min, when a great pass from Cohen found the striker in the box. His shot though was a poor one and missed the target. Chris Cohen should have had his first goal for the club, after he went on a great run from just over the half way line. Unchallenged he found himself in the box with only the keeper to beat. But he let off a poor shot that was easily saved by keeper Anyon. Vale could and should have taken the lead after Luke Rogers found himself unmarked in the box. His wild stab at the ball went miles over the bar from 6 yards out. The Reds were playing some decent football at times, but were undoing their own good work with yet more sloppy play. Forest took the lead on 22 mins. Man of the match McGugan put a great ball into the path of Agogo which left him with a simple tap in from 6 yards. Tyson was a pain in the backside for the Vale defence, but went off with a tight hamstring after 38 mins.

As with Northampton the previous week, you thought the second half would be a goalfest for Forest. But it wasn't to be. Vale at times were exposing the frailties in the Reds defence. Morgan and Breckin at the heart of the backline, does not fill the fans with the greatest of confidence, but they managed to scrape through today. Breckin picked up a booking after being well beaten for pace, leaving him with no option to bring down his man.

Kris Commons, who was having a decent game produced what could have been goal of the season. From the half way line he spotted Anyon off his line and let rip with the sweetest of chips that had the keeper scrambling back to his goal. The ball missed the target by inches and got the otherwise sleepy City Ground crowd on it's feet.

Forest were in need of another goal to kill off the visitors. But former target and thank God we didn't get him David McGoldrick wasted the chance of an equaliser, when he shot wide of the goal. When the long awaited second goal came it was from some good play from the Reds. McGugan and Agogo linked up well, as Junior fed the ball to the new kid on the block. McGugan made it look simple as he guided the ball passed Anyon and into the net.

Vale hit the post with a bullet of a shot from Laird. Mercifully the rebound was cleared but it fired a warning shot that Forest were not home and dry yet. Rogers once again missed a golden opportunity to pull one back for Vale, as he sent another wild shot wide of the target.

The result puts Vale joint bottom of the table with Bournemouth, but with better finishing they could escape the dreaded drop. Forest on the other hand will be happy sitting on top of the table over Christmas. It may only be because Swansea and Carlisle didn't play, but that's of little consequence to the fans, as we've had to endure more than our fair share of misery over these past years. It's looking good for Forest, I didn't expect to be top at this stage. We should maybe make the most of it though, as on Boxing Day, it's the dreaded trip to Oldham and we all know how we perform when we go there. All that's left now though, is to say Merry Christmas to one and all, it's a lovely feeling being top.

Forest: Smith, Chambers, Morgan, Breckin, Lockwood (Perch 77), McGugan (Davies 86), Lennon, Cohen, Commons, Agogo, Tyson (Holt 39).
Subs Not Used: Thornhill, Roberts.

Booked: Breckin, Cohen.

Goals: Agogo 24, McGugan 67.

Port Vale: Anyon, McGregor, Pilkington, Lowe, Talbot (Edwards 74), Laird, Harsley, Salmon (Rocastle 46), Willock, McGoldrick, Rodgers (Hulbert 74).
Subs Not Used: Martin, Glover.

Star Player

Lewis McGugan

Date:Sunday December 23 2007
Time: 9:35AM

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