Another point puts Forest seven points clear of relegation with just three games to go. James Bolton reports from the City Ground.

Steve Cotterill was forced into one change for the visit of Blackpool. The suspended Garath McCleary was replaced by Paul Anderson, who was making his first start since January.

The first chance of the game fell to Forest inside three minutes. A drilled through ball from Andy Reid was collected by Dexter Blackstock, but he took the chance early when he could have gone on and shot over the bar.

Blackpool then had a chance of their own after an uncharacteristic error from Joel Lynch. His pass was cut out by Stephen Dobbie and, after he rounded Lee Camp, he ran out of room, running the ball out of play before he had chance to shoot.

Blackstock was then through after turning Alex Baptiste, but as the Forest forward struggled to keep his footing, and tried to manoeuvre onto his preferred left-foot, the Blackpool defender had chance to recover and divert the shot for a corner.

Anderson then had a free header at the near post from a Reid corner, but it didn’t trouble Matt Gilks. The game had good spells of attacking football, with both sides keen to keep the ball on the deck.

Forest then had the best spell of football in the game. Lynch spread out a brilliant ball to Greg Cunningham, who was eventually played in by Reid, but the left-back’s low drive bobbled through Gilk’s legs, with the rebound just evading Anderson.

But Forest worked the ball around the pitch to Cunningham once again, and his pinpoint cross was met superbly by Blackstock, but his low header was saved well by Gilks, to deny Forest scoring from their most clear cut opportunity of the game.

The adventurous Cunningham was getting into some great positions down the left flack, and he was able to whip another great cross, but Blackstock could only head wide after squeezing between the two Blackpool centre-halves.

The hal- time whistle came and it was another encouraging performance. Forest had passed the ball well and didn’t give too much away against a team who had scored in each of their last 18 matches.

Blackpool started the second-half the better and a quick corner found Tom Ince unmarked at the back post, and his effort had to be tipped round the post by Camp.

Forest then had a claim for a spot-kick. A ball over the top was controlled by Gunter, who cowered under a challenge from the Blackpool defence, but the referee waved away the claims. I personally think he was right, it would have been very soft.

Forest fought back with another strong spell, with Radi Majewski hitting the side netting with a right-foot volley and Anderson having the ball nicked away from his head, as he looked to nod home a Reid cross.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher volleyed wide after being presented with Blackpool’s best chance of the half.

Blackstock then held up the ball brilliantly in the opposition box before prodding the ball back to Lewis McGugan, but the ball was just stolen from him as he looked to slide the ball home.

More tenacious play from Blackstock on the left flank allowed him to play in Cunningham, who cut inside and fired in a fierce right-foot drive, but Gilks was equal to it.

Forest had to endure some pressure from Blackpool as the game progressed as they sought to cross balls into our box and had some free-kicks in some dangerous positions, but held out for another point.

That leaves Forest seven points clear with just three games to go. Barring an unbelievable capitulation on our part and a near miraculous string of results on Coventry’s, we will be playing the the Championship next season.

As for this game, we played well and were the better side throughout the game. We kept Blackpool’s forward quartet of Dobbie, Phillips, Ince and Taylor-Fletcher fairly quiet. In fact, they only had three shots all afternoon.

We had 13 efforts on goal and on another day might have come away with all three points. However, despite the game not being a classic, a clean sheet against Blackpool is no easy feat. They have failed to score in just six games this season and their away games have averaged 3.38 goals per game so far this season.

We did lack a bit of bite and penetration in midfield with the absence of Guy Moussi and McCleary. Anderson put in a decent shift, but never really looks like sparking the game into life in the way McCleary does.

One final thing, I thought Cunningham was outstanding. He got forward fantastically well, whipped in some delicious crosses that could have easily led to goals if it wasn’t for Blackpool goalkeeper Gilks. He was sound in defence too and he has developed a great relationship with Reid down the left hand side.

James runs the View From The Mainstand blog and NFFC Stats on Twitter.

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