After nearly 32 years since their last win at Molineux in the league, Nottingham Forest beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 yesterday. Justin Heaton offers a fan’s eye view.
As a football supporter there’s not a lot to beat the feeling of winning away, especially when you have forked out quite a lot of cash to buy tickets for yourself and your son, and this was one of those days.
It was a game that we should have won, and duly did, despite the now customary nail-biting finish.
The pre-match talk seemed to be about Wolves playing the possession game in much the same way as Forest do, so I arrived expecting a game of ‘football chess’, with each side waiting for the other to make a mistake. The first 45 minutes couldn’t have been more opposite to that expectation, in what was the most open first-half of the season by a long way.
Forest started really well and looked like they could carve open the Wolves defence at will but fell behind to a goal that had more than a hint of good fortune about it. The ball somehow ricocheted into the path of Sigurdarson, just inside the penalty area, and he slotted it in with ease.
Away games in the past have taken a similar path when we have conceded first where we have gone on to collapse, lose by two or three and have a red card, this however never looked like going that way as Sharp and Cox continued to cause havoc in the Wolves defence. But it took a moment of class by Lansbury to unpick the defence with a superb 40-yard pass into Sharp’s path who rolled the ball past the advancing Ikeme.
These first 15 minutes set the tone for the next 30 as Wolves attacked, mainly down the left with Sako tormenting Hutton, and Forest hitting on the counter attack with Sharp and Cox being supported well by Cohen and Lansbury. How we arrived at half-time with only two goals was surprising as both teams squandered chances, Wolves’ efforts being blocked by some last ditch defending and Forest wasting some gilt edged chances, Cox being the most guilty party.
The second-half started in much the same vein with Forest waiting patiently for the Wolves attack to break down, then hit on the quick counter. Man of the match (in my opinion), Cohen picked the ball up on the half-way line 12 minutes into the half and rolled a ball for Guedioura to run onto, the Forest number 7 never seemed to get the ball under control but from 25 yards hit a shot as hard as I’ve ever seen and in the blink of an eye it was in the corner of the net before the Wolves keeper smelt it.
Shortly after, Cox went down with what looked like a serious injury and the game never seemed to get into the same rhythm after. For all the possession that Wolves enjoyed they never created a clear-cut opening as Collins and Ward stood firm at the heart of the Forest defence. And if someone can explain how Doyle stayed on the pitch after booting the ball at the advertising boards in temper after being booked earlier in the game, I’d love to hear it.
I fully expect Forest to get stronger as the season goes on with Lansbury being the shining light, but if Cohen can continue to work as hard as that every game then the player of the season is all but over. And with Sharp looking like being the 20-goal-a-season striker we’ve been searching for, the future looks bright.
Follow Justin on Twitter: @justinheaton72
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