A late Dexter Blackstock goal saw Nottingham Forest earn a well-deserved draw against Blackpool last night. Andy Bennett offers a fan’s eye view from Bloomfield Road.

In the words of the man behind me, a veritable audiobook of football clichés, this was ‘a game of two halves’.

Forest attempted to establish their passing game early on but the odd misplaced pass meant the first 20 minutes were inconsistent. Blackpool’s left-back Stephen Crainey should’ve scored early on but hit the post, while Simon Cox had the ball played through to him from the left wing, inviting an early shot into the net. He volleyed wide though. “You’ve got to be putting those away.”

The next 15 minutes had Blackpool in and around our penalty box, with a period of sustained pressure which never really had an end product; put that down to some sensible and mature defending. Then, when we broke and won a corner which was played to the edge of the box to Cohen, he scuffed his shot which came back to him, only for him to head it back into the box and ‘King’ Billy Sharp to get the necessary flick on to make it 1-0. It’s been a long time since I expected Forest’s strikers to score; it’s a nice change now they do. Sharp’s celebration warrants a mention too, eating a hot dog from the crowd and throwing it back in — not without the obligatory kiss of his LJS wristband, of course.

Then Ian Holloway effectively brought on three strikers, so it appeared they were playing with 10 men up front. Their newfound urgency got them a couple of goals — Forest just couldn’t cope with so much speed, not to mention a Matt Phillips’ ball into the box for Grandin’s equaliser.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher had put the Seasiders 2-1 up, adhering to the concrete prediction that “if Blackpool score one, they’ll definitely score two”. This led to an attempt to out-Ian Holloway Ian Holloway and, without the ability to bring on a speedy striker/winger, Dexter Blackstock replaced Simon Gillet. Eventually Dex was able to slot the ball under Gilkes for a well-deserved equaliser, ensuring the Forest faithful went home with a smile.

A draw was a fair result. Blackpool were a very good footballing side and their two wingers, Phillips and Ince, were hugely excitable. That said, a special mention for Dan Harding, who I thought had his best game in a Forest shirt so far this season.

Keep the faith. “We’re still a work in progress”.

Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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