A last-gasp equaliser saw Nottingham Forest draw 1-1 with Reading, with a dominant Reds performance meaning it was two points dropped rather than a point gained. Steve Dormer offers a fan’s eye view from the Madejski Stadium…
I’ve not had the best of times at the Madjeski over the years but nevertheless headed into this one with a degree of confidence – six points from two extremely tough looking home fixtures over Christmas had me thinking an away win just might be possible.
It’s a nice stadium – they’ve done well with it, the cosy surroundings of the hotel provided much needed shelter on a day that can only be described as ‘filthy’.
As always, there was a decent turnout from the travelling Reds; the atmosphere slightly subdued probably due to a few sore heads.
An injury hit Reading were forced to play Chris Gunter at centre-back, they’ve not enjoyed the best of form since beating us at the end of November – a run of three defeats had seen them drop out of the play-off positions with their fans becoming restless and discontent.
A scrappy affair only really came to life after striker extraordinaire Greg Halford looped in an excellent header from Andy Reid’s well placed free-kick – up until that point he hadn’t had a sniff, well marshalled by the physical Alex Pearce.
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After the goal we started to pass – not making great in-roads most of the time but we played patiently, waiting for more chances to come. Halford went close again with another header and Jamie Paterson had one cleared off the line. We should have been two or three up at half-time, with Billy Davies’ comments regarding “missing pieces of the jigsaw” resonating in my mind, I couldn’t help thinking that there was a real chance that Reading could force their way back into the game.
I have to be honest, the opposition didn’t offer much – a couple of runs from Garath McCleary and some delightful passing from the impressive Danny Guthrie the main threats from them; Forest ‘cult hero’ Billy Sharp offered very little and was replaced.
If you don’t take your chances you don’t win matches – Matt Derbyshire should have had a couple in the second-half but went some way to redeem himself by clearing one off the line at the other end. With 10 to go we pulled off Nathaniel Chalobah and put Jonathan Greening on – a strange decision you may think but I would struggle to think of someone who had played as badly for Forest in recent times as Chalobah did against Reading. The guy just isn’t up for it – countless misplaced passes, bundled off the ball too easily, wanting time that wasn’t available and barely breaking into a run all afternoon. He clearly has talent, why we haven’t seen him perform like we know he can is a mystery to me. His departure from the field was met with applause.
They kept pressing, we kept defending but you felt something just had to give and it did. Free-kick, Stephen Kelly header, 10 seconds left, one all. Gutted.
We’ve taken seven points from nine over the Christmas period but it really should have been all nine.
It goes without saying that a striker is an absolute must for us in January, the sooner the better – a side without Chalobah in it would also please me greatly. I have to mention Karl Darlow, he was absolutely superb and pulled off a world-class save in the second-half.
Man of the match for me was Jamaal Lascelles – defended brilliantly and utterly composed throughout – he actually is turning out to be a bit special.
All in all, positive for Forest – let’s see what January brings, time will tell.
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