An extra-time winner from Jamaal Lascelles saw Nottingham Forest through to the third round of the Capital One Cup after beating Millwall 2-1. Jack McCarthy offers a fan’s eye view from the City Ground…
Well, let’s be honest: it wasn’t exactly a thriller, Nor was it particularly entertaining but Forest are in the third round to face Burnley at Turf Moor and that is all that matters.
Forest continued their unbeaten start to the season and will go to Wigan on Saturday looking to extend that with a number of key players rested. Billy Davies made 11 changes to the team that impressed at Watford with Djamal Abdoun making his first start. This team said a lot about how far Forest have come under the ownership of Fawaz; when he took over the club we could barely field a first XI but to send out a ‘reserve’ team capable of beating another Championship team shows huge progress.
The game started off pretty slowly with not too much to shout about. Abdoun looked like he wanted to influence the game and wanted the ball. I was impressed with him but feel a lot is still to come from the Algerian. He turned down Premier League clubs to join an ‘exciting project’ and the early signs were promising. The right-footer was deployed down the left-wing and showed he likes to cut in and deliver crosses into the penalty area. Midway through the first-half he swapped flanks with the impressive Jamie Paterson and continued to put in some dangerous crosses.
Davies, who spent the first-half and some of the second-half in the directors’ box, came down early on in the second-half and had an instant impact. He walked into the dugout and a few seconds later Derbyshire headed Forest into the lead.
The much-maligned Ishmael Miller, despite his efforts, managed to fall over backwards, slip as he was having a shot and almost completely miss the ball, get in Paterson’s way as he was on the edge of the area and squander a whole host of decent goal scoring opportunities.
However, strangely enough he impressed me. Well, sort of. Miller’s attacking work rate was good and he showed his pace to get down the right-wing, beating two defenders and leaving them for dead. Yet with another Forest player was making headway towards the penalty area, Miller failed to pass again. Davies even looked at the crowd and rolled his eyes in disgust. But if — and it’s a big if — Davies can get Miller playing nearer his best I think he could be a real asset for us. He showed promise at Watford and last night, both times coming off the bench. Could he be used as a sub late on in games to grab a winner or equaliser? That’s a possibility.
But it was sloppy defending that cost the lead, the ball given away inside the Forest half leading to the equaliser. And it was a shame to concede as I thought Jamaal Lascelles looked good and thought Danny Collins should have his fair share of the plaudits albeit if he did make a few errors.
Into extra-time we went and it was Academy graduate Lascelles who put Forest in the lead, the ball was headed back across goal and he was on hand to nod home. De Vries made a couple of good saves to keep Millwall out and Forest go into the next round. Still unbeaten, having won five out of six. Happy days.
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