Two goals from Simon Cox and Jamie Mackie saw Nottingham Forest beat Leicester City 2-0 and move up to fifth. Martin Valentine offers a fan’s eye view from the King Power Stadium…
Getting to Leicester away used to be a lot easier. As a student back in the 90s I lived — with another Red and a Derby fan — on the corner of Filbert Street and Burnmoor Street. We had a floodlight in our back garden, and free tickets to reserve games.
Now they’ve moved round the corner to their Meccano ground and have to pump music and old videos out to get the crowd — that doesn’t fill the ground — going. Such is progress and may it never happen on Trentside…
But I still have a bit of a soft spot for Filbert the Fox.
And so to today and the latest encounter with our friends down the A46 — who have won eight in a row at home and have scored first in every game this season I’m told. A win today would make a record nine wins in a row at home.
That form is what we should be aspiring to. But be honest — have you noticed Leicester this year? Nope, they’ve just gone about their business with minimal fuss and they’re one of my favourites for promotion as a result.
To business: three changes, Pato gets a chance, Gonzo back to right-back, lots of ball players in midfield and Cox alone up front… And I have the fear thinking we need Hendo up against Wes.
Cox clearly tries hard but his contribution has been poor this year. And in this league you typically need someone big and strong to bully the defenders.
That said, a year ago this weekend Cox won and scored the penalty that got us a draw. And ,as a fan, I know absolutely nothing of course…
We start 4-2-3-1 with Pato left and Reid and Vaughan holding. And five minutes in we’re getting resolutely murdered all over the pitch by a side clearly full of confidence. Great atmosphere in our end though.
Typical Pearson team of course — cynical, demanding bookings… Which results in one of theirs getting booked. Well done ref.
Eleven minutes in and Darlow pulls off a world-class save. At least one Leicester fan is not watching the game – preferring to bait us right in front of the cops. Why do people do that?
Everyone is standing up of course.
And then they miss from two yards. And Cox is offside. Again. He is working his proverbials off – but Wes is a lot bigger than him.
Mackie finally touches the ball after 16 minutes. And Forest finally start to play a bit 20 minutes in. Lloyd Dyer dives and gets told off… But it works because when he’s second to the ball a few minutes later the ref gives him his free-kick.
And then a move of genuine quality on 30 minutes and it’s Cox on the end of it to dribble the ball in slow motion over the line. Cue absolute pandemonium in our end, as we become the first team to score first against Leicester this season.
Pato is having a decent game – clearly doing all he can to impress. And — amazing — another brilliant move and someone is on the end of it to blast it into the top of the net and it’s 2-0 on 43 minutes. Nobody knows who scored from this distance — and we don’t care (Mackie it turns out).
2-0 is a great lead to take into the break. So we risk ruining it by conceding a free-kick right on the edge of the box in injury time. Which is chipped straight into Darlow’s hands and that’s that. Old guy next to me says “well that wasn’t in the script” – he’s got a point.
We all celebrate by all sarcastically singing that stupid, moronic ‘whoa whoa’ song they all do waving their scarves. What’s that all about?
Excitement proves too much for some at half-time, when suddenly the beer starts flying over our heads and a fight kicks off. Meanwhile Halford comes on for Lascelles and we’re off again. The next 10 minutes are crucial — if Leicester get one it’s going to be interesting.
But after 10 the Leicester players’ body language is turning negative. Dare we start dreaming yet? I can feel my heart rate rising as we start to string together some promising moves — it’s more of an even contest.
An hour gone and Hendo is on for Pato. Let’s hope we don’t start just humping it; but it’s an attacking move though as it’s 4-4-2 now.
Double substitution for Leicester – always a sign of desperation in my book. Half way through the second-half and the noise in our end is deafening.
And then they get a penalty. What the hell for I have no idea — presumably not for the perfectly-timed tackle?
No matter, Nugent’s miss is celebrated every bit as much as our goals.
Lichaj comes on for Cox — who has been brilliant — and sees Gonzo back into defensive midfield. We’re starting to give away a lot of niggly free-kicks now, and I’m getting the fear…. But that’s nothing unusual.
I’m not the only one anxiously glancing at the clock as it hits 80 minutes — and the first home fans start leaving, some helpfully reminding us of the score via a certain finger gesture.
Another foul given away — well, a tackle the ref saw as a booking — on 83 minutes. And from the resulting free-kick we instantly win it back and probably should have scored. More home fans leave.
Then Leicester put it out for a throw and we all start singing that moronic song again. Followed by ‘we’re Nottingham Forest, we’re taking the p*ss’. Leicester miss a sitter and we’re back on the moron song and it’s the best fun in ages.
The board says four minutes more. And the stand threatens to fall apart as we jump up and down.
And Leicester miss another sitter. And we start singing their song again. Can we keep going for another hour? This is ace!
Billy comes over and we are all singing for him. But he makes a very obvious gesture that our cheers must be for the players not him. And you can see this win means as much to them as it does for us.
Looks like nobody above us won – so that’s a good day in the office.
Don’t ask me to pick a man of the match. Impossible.
Now we just need to play this way every week — because, as Leicester have shown, do that and you’re talking automatic not play-offs.
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