A 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers keeps Nottingham Forest in the play-offs but nine points off the automatic position with the chasing pack catching. Jeff Reynolds offers a fan’s eye view from the Reebok Stadium…
The five-minute walk to the stadium from the train station was quick but very cold and I arrived just as the Forest coach was disgorging the squad and staff. There was a grim determination on the faces of the whole coach, perhaps aware of the feisty afternoon of them. I like the Reebok Stadium but it would be so much better if they could fill it with the home fans to help the atmosphere rather than relying on the singing and dancing away fans.
Another excellent turn out (2,000+) greeted the Reds as they took the pitch on a bright afternoon with the ground roughly-two thirds full. The match took some time to get going with Forest making just one change, with Dan Harding playing in place of the injured Eric Lichaj.
The first-half was somewhat frustrating as Forest tried to get their fluid, passing game going but with limited success. This was mainly due to our key player (Reid) being slightly off the pace but credit should also be given to Bolton who pressed us very hard and played with a degree of confidence which we were strangely lacking. Although, having said that, we did have two excellent chances to go in front with Halford’s one-on-one being smartly saved by Lonergan.
I repaired to the bar for a half-time cheese burger to pep me up. The whole team must have done the same as within a couple of minutes, a quality move between Halford and Cox saw Paterson run free and very coolly place the ball beyond the keeper for a 1-0 lead with a confidence borne out of hammering the West Ham kids last week. For some fans that was the sign to strip off to the waist to celebrate — and believe me, it was cold!
Bolton seemed somewhat deflated but we still couldn’t seem to go through the gears and the game became very feisty with many niggly fouls disrupting everything, mostly committed by us. It wasn’t really a surprise when an excellent set-piece was finished by Mills with 15 minutes to go to square things up, although the loss of Hobbs 10 minutes before didn’t help the defensive organisation.
Both sides went for it with Hendo and Reid both coming close to winning it for the Reds. In the end we settled for a draw but this one felt different; it felt like a draw gained rather than two points thrown away, as we’ve often witnessed this season.
I’m just hoping that Jack Hobbs’ hamstring is not too damaged and that his writing hand is still in good fettle so that he can sign a contract with us.
I still have this nagging feeling that top two is still a possibility. Or am I just getting over-excited?
Follow Jeff on Twitter: Follow @smilingjeff
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