After a week of self-reflection, Nottingham Forest picked up three points at home to Burnley. James Bolton offers a fan’s eye view from the City Ground.
After back-to-back league defeats against Ipswich Town and Hull City, Forest got back to winning ways at the City Ground by beating Burnley 2-0.
Regular starters Chris Cohen and Adlene Guedioura dropped to the bench along with James Coppinger, as some of the squad’s more peripheral figures Lewis McGugan and Henri Lansbury were reinstated to the starting XI, along with Dexter Blackstock.
Charlie Austin, the league’s top scorer with 21 goals already this season, fired over in the early minutes and Burnley enjoyed some good spells and caused problems down the right wing.
Forest were a bit disjointed in a game that, on the whole, was pretty sloppy in places, with both sides’ passing going astray on a regular basis. Burnley did strike the post, while Blackstock proved a handful in the air forcing the Claret’s goalkeeper Lee Grant into action.
After a bright start to the second-half, Forest broke the deadlock just before the hour mark. Andy Reid swung over a cross from the left and Blackstock grappled with Jason Shackell, unfairly in the opinion of Burnley manager Sean Dyche, before looping his header agonisingly over Grant.
That gave Forest the impetus to go on and double their lead allowing them to comfortably see out the game. Reid was again the creator, slipping through a delightful through ball to Billy Sharp. The striker timed his run to perfection and never looked like missing, as he coolly slotted around Grant.
Some of the doom, gloom and bickering we’ve seen over the past week should, and hopefully, will be replaced by the positivity that should never have been eclipsed in the first place. We’re sitting in a great position, just a point off the play-offs as we head into a busy Christmas period.
Yes, it wasn’t exactly a game to get the pulse racing, but to get back to winning ways is a great feeling. The back four looked solid again — personally, I’m still yearning for Daniel Ayala to return in place of Elliot Ward — and they didn’t give Austin a sniff of a clear-cut opportunity.
I also think Guy Moussi also deserves a mention. He came on for Simon Gillett, who has looked rather poor in the handful of games prior to this one, and really helped us dictate the final half-an-hour of the game. The days of his frequently commanding performances in a Forest shirt are arguably behind him, but no doubt he is a valuable asset.
And there’s no doubt about who has really won the hearts of the Forest fans. We dreamt of seeing him in a red shirt for season after season, and the reality isn’t disappointing. He has passion, a tireless work ethic and an eye for goal that few strikers in this division possess. All hail King Billy.
Follow James on Twitter: @bolton0301
Image courtesy of nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net