A Jack Hobbs goal just before half-time saw Nottingham Forest beat Derby County 1-0 — and win back the Brian Clough Trophy. Tyler Jelley offers a fan’s eye view from the City Ground…
I’m usually very nervous going into Derby games. And this Derby game was no different. Having lost a previous three out of four games against them, it seemed like I wanted this one more than ever. Many people asked me to predict the outcome for the game and, of course, I said a Forest victory; most probably out of optimism and hope.
By midday the City Ground was rocking with, possibly, the loudest Mull of Kintyre I’ve heard in my years watching Forest. Everyone was up for it and, more importantly, wanted the bragging rights.
The game got off to a fairly slow start, both sides having no real chances until the 10th minute when Radi Majewski made Lee Grant produce a very good save. Five minutes later Guy Moussi then had to be substituted due to an injury, which changed the game. After the loss of the Frenchman Derby took control of the game and Forest lost all shape in their midfield.
Possession for the rest of the first half was then mainly Derby’s. Jack Hobbs made a couple of crucial sliding tackles, preventing the Rams being through on goal. Then in the 38th minute Derby broke down their left-hand side, Craig Forsyth produced a great cross and Jamie Ward had a free header but planted it straight into Karl Darlow’s hands.
In the 40th minute, Henri Lansbury made a great interception half-way inside his own half and made great progress with the ball, it eventually ended up with Eric Lichaj who had his shot deflected over the bar. From the resulting corner, Andy Reid produced a superb ball for Hobbs to run on to, unmarked and power his header past Grant, who had no chance and sent the City Ground delirious. There was no doubt this had come against the run of play.
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In the final minute of the stoppage time Reid rolled back the years, turned Adam Smith inside out and produced yet another world-class ball for Mackie who just couldn’t squeeze it in after some great work from Grant. Half-time then came and it felt like a smash and grab.
The second-half got off to a similar start to the first – fairly slow. However, Forest seemed happy to sit back and with this came many frustrating fouls being conceded. This was a huge disappointment for me, although some free kicks were debatable, many of the fouls were needless from the players.
The next real chance was in the 60th minute, Andy Reid, AGAIN, with a great ball straight onto the head of the unmarked Darius Henderson who headed wide, which left the City Ground gobsmacked; most would have backed him to score.
Derby were then trying to keep the ball, but maintaining possession mostly came to nothing. The next talking point in the game was Chris Cohen – he made a great challenge in his own area, then made a tremendous run to the opposition area, where he was brought down by Richard Keogh and a penalty was correctly awarded in my opinion (after seeing numerous replays). Keogh also had to go after being booked once already.
I must admit, when Henderson took the ball I was never confident, only because of the chance he had missed earlier and his confidence wouldn’t have been the greatest, he then took the penalty and missed.
Forest had more possession for the next 10 minutes making the extra man count, but in the 92nd minute Derby had their best chance of the game. The ball fell to Conor Sammon in the box who controlled and turned well, but with a bit of time he fired his shot straight at Darlow. A foot either side and it would’ve been 1-1.
Forest then had another great chance in the 95th minute, Greg Halford, who came on for Henderson, played Reid through with a great ball but a tired shot was saved well by Grant. It would have capped Reid’s game off if he had bagged a goal.
Full-time then came. In the end, Forest probably should have won by more having the better chances, but it was two fairly poor performances from the sides.
Hobbs and Danny Collins were both exceptional and very solid. I believe Collins has proved to many people, including me, that he fully deserved his chance in the side. Henri Lansbury was absolutely everywhere also and kept the ball when we needed it yet his performance seemed to go unnoticed by many fans.
Grant was in inspired form for Derby, one of the better goalkeeping performances I’ve seen at the City Ground. I also thought that Bryson had a good game for Derby in the middle of the park, but other than that it was difficult to pick out a stand-out player for Derby.
And so the Brian Clough Trophy stays at the City Ground… until March.
You can follow Tyler on Twitter: Follow @TylerJelley
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