A late winner from Darius Henderson saw Nottingham Forest beat Barnsley 3-2 to go third in the table. Justin Heaton offers a fan’s eye view from the City Ground…
I’m sure we aren’t the only fans to suffer games like this but it seems a recurring theme to dominate games which end up going right to the wire.
On paper Forest looked well superior and, apart from a bright start to each half from Barnsley, the home side dominated and created numerous chances. In fact, if it hadn’t been for Mike Pollitt in the Tykes’ goal, and the woodwork, the game would have been over by half-time.
Simon Cox was the first to miss a great chance when he hit the post with just the ‘keeper to beat. A few minutes later Jamie Mackie broke clean through and Pollitt blocked his shot. Midway through the first-half another Mackie shot was spilt by Pollitt and Cox tapped in the rebound.
A springboard for an easy win you would have thought; but this is Forest, and two minutes later we were back to square one when Guy Moussi bundled over a Barnsley attacker and the penalty was converted.
This didn’t seem to affect the flow of the game though and, with Mackie and Cox working the channels well, chances were coming and Andy Reid rattled the bar with a free-kick. And it looked like being level at half-time until Reid floated a free-kick over in injury time and Kelvin Etuhu flicked it into his own net.
Rather strangley Bill Medley made an appearance at half-time waving a Forest scarf in front of A block whilst You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling was played. Surreal.
Barnsley started the second-half as they had the first, pressing forward but not creating any clear-cut chances. And once this wave of pressure had subsided Forest took control again, with Chris Cohen and Eric Lichaj getting forward at every opportunity. But with 20 minutes to go Moussi bundled someone over (sure I’ve written that before) 30-odd yards out.
Sitting behind the free-kick, it was in as soon as it left Tomasz Cywka’s boot; a superb strike similar to Lewis McGugan’s against Ipswich a few years ago.
Ned Kelly threw caution to the wind – while Billy Davies served a touchline ban in the stands – sending Djamel Abdoun, Jamie Paterson and Darius Henderson on. Paterson hit the post, Abdoun looked lively and him and Cohen were causing havoc down the left, ably assisted by Reid.
However, it looked like being a frustrating day until Reid put a corner right on Henderson’s head and his header was perfectly placed into the corner.
And a win was the least Forest deserved after having 21 shots to Barnsley’s seven.
In summary, Abdoun and Paterson look good additions to the squad and should be in the first XI soon. Cox and Mackie worked themselves into the ground but neither are clinical finishers. Reid and Cohen played as they always do, with 100% commitment for 90 minutes.
The defence didn’t look as solid as it has recently but I think this may be more down to complacency than being put under pressure.
Henri Lansbury and Radi Majewski worked well with the forwards and created chances. Henderson is the perfect striker to bring on when you need a goal, Which just leaves Moussi…
Ignore the propaganda. Ignore the politics. Ignore the back biting.
Enjoy the football. It’s great.
You can follow Justin on Twitter: Follow @justinheaton72
Image: Courtesy of franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net