Forest Get Jack From Swans
January 29, 2008
The 0-0 scoreline will be seen by both sides as a fair result, but it will be Swansea who are the happier at the end of it all, as they maintain their 11 point lead at the top of the table. The game may have have registered nil on the scoreboard, but it wasn't for the lack of trying from either side in what was an enthralling encounter between the top two sides in the division.
The game started at a fair pace and the thousand or so travelling Jacks treated it as their Cup Final, which ensured some atmosphere inside the City Ground. Calderwood had asked fans to get behind the lads prior to the game and they responded as best they could. But this was a nervy night for the fans and players alike. Defeat was not an option.
The first chance of the game came from a KC shot cum cross that evaded everyone in the box and went just wide. Next up, Wes almost gifted the visitors the lead when he headed back to the onrushing Smith, only for the ball to go straight passed the keeper and narrowly wide for a corner. Neither player seemed to communicate with the other and disaster was only just averted. That was about the worst thing Wes did all night, because he was having a right royal battle with Swansea striker Jason Scotland and did well to keep him at bay. I'd previously thought of Scotland as a bit of a donkey, but tonight he showed he was a powerhouse of strength, with a fair lick of pace and no shortage of skill with good control of the ball. He was well marshaled by Wes though and his chances were few.
Andy Robinson caused a few problems on the wing and forced a save from Smith from the edge of the box. Swansea were playing with pace and Forest were having to work hard to get into the game. The Reds midfield was second best tonight and was being overrun for most of it, but at the back we looked fairly solid with Wilson at it's heart.
That man Dora DeVries pulled off his first good save of the night, when McG sent the ball into the box from the corner flag to force the keeper into action. DeVries stopped the ball just on the line. The wily Robinson then forced Smith to make a decent save from a curling free kick. It was a gripping game with both sides going for it and when the break came the talk was of who would get the first goal. The general opinion was that there was no way this would end 0-0.
The start of the second half lacked the pace of the first and both sides seemed to take time in raising the tempo. Forest were to go close when Chambers put in a good cross, but Thornhill and Holt both went for it, when Holt had the better chance. Thornhill got to it first, but his effort went tamely wide. The visitors were then to take control of the game and began to dominate through possession, but without any real threat. They began to frustrate the Reds who could hardly get hold of the ball, Thankfully their dominance led to nothing and Forest weathered the storm.
Calderwood introduced Sinclair in an effort to put fresh legs up front, by replacing Thornhill. Unfortunately he didn't have much to do. Lennon then came on for McGugan and he did at least stem the flow of the visitors attacks, without actually making us anymore of an attacking threat. As the game wore on it was the home side who finished the stronger and could have grabbed the points in the dyeing moments. Tyson beat the Swans defence with a lightning run and got to the byeline. He sensibly waited for Holt to get into position before putting a pass into the 6 yard box. Annoyingly he undone his previous good work with a terrible pass that went behind the onrushing Holt.
The scoreline is fair reward for both sides, but the visitors will be by far the happier. Although it's still early days, you have to say the League 1 title is their's to lose and on this performance you can't see them dropping that many points even if in the past they have bottled it before the seasons' end. This time they look to have the right man in charge with Martinez. He's managed to get together a tidy footballing side that are easy to watch and look ready to move up to a higher level.