A dull 0-0 game saw Nottingham Forest take a point off Millwall as results elsewhere saw the Reds stay top of the table — and still unbeaten. Tom Riley offers a fan’s eye view from the Den…


I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that Saturday’s trip to Millwall was my first Forest game this year. Living in South London, getting to the City Ground on a regular basis is a challenge; both economic and marital. So when an enticing away day fixture occurs 30 minutes from your door, it’s a big event and has been a firm feature of my Outlook calendar since the fixtures were announced.

Having tried and failed to convince my non-Forest supporting friends to join me to watch ‘a proper football game’, I decided to make my own way to the Den.

My girlfriend was keen to come. But I thought as first live football experiences go, a trip to Millwall maybe a bit akin to jumping in the deep end without any armbands. I’ll get her a ticket to Fulham or Watford, promise. As it happens, I shouldn’t have worried; there was an excellent atmosphere with both fans in good voice.

My last trip to South Bermondsey, was a 2-2 draw on Tuesday night back in 2008. A lively atmosphere made livelier by 2 goals in the 85th and 88th minute from Cohen and Tyson to bring Forest back from 2-0 down to draw in dramatic fashion. Unfortunately this Saturday wasn’t to be so memorable.

Forest lined up with Britt up top, Lansbury behind and Vaughan returning to first team action, in place of Osborn, alongside Tesche. It was good as well to see Wilson making his first start of the campaign alongside Mancienne.

To call the game scrappy would be doing a disservice to Scooby’s nephew (sorry). Forest started positively, getting into dangerous positions. When Antonio skinned their right-back to fire just wide it looked like the game was there for the taking. Following that, however, it looked like a game that both teams were quite happy to take a point from.

Returning from injury, Wilson looked a little rusty as to be expected. Perhaps unfair, as playing next to a peerless Mancienne most defenders would look inferior. But, as the guy behind me pointed out, Wilson kept Messi quiet for Celtic, so it’ll be good to get him back in full flow.

Forest were full of industry and toil. Tesche and Vaughan working hard in the middle, winning the majority of 50/50s. Whether, after some game time, they can add some of the creativity that the Reid and Cohen partnership delivers, remains to be seen. Both teams struggled to find any real rhythm. Hunt provides a good out ball for the defence and his injury on 45 minutes didn’t help.

Sorry, I’m being a bit harsh. Forest did have the best chances of the half with a header from Assombalonga caught by the keeper and Antonio having a wayward cross tipped over.

The second-half was a lot more stretched, but chances still were hard to come by. A Millwall effort dragged wide and a terrific save with his legs from Darlow being the highlights.

One imagines after the 5-3 to Fulham in midweek there was real focus on defensive solidity going into this game, and it really showed. A clean sheet was clearly a priority, with Darlow booked for time wasting on 80 minutes; showing conservative ambition at best.

With 15 minutes to go, Pearce looked for the three points by moving Antonio up top and changing to a 4-4-2 with Paterson coming on for Tesche.

Forest certainly found more fluidity. Paterson was lively, and with two minutes to go turned in the area, before drilling the ball at Assombalonga who couldn’t control his effort, ballooning the ball out. It will go down as a good chance but Paterson may have been better putting his foot through it and going for goal.

As time ran out Forest were in the ascendancy, but it ended a goalless draw which both teams looked happy with.

Maybe it’s a sign of heightened expectations around this exciting side, but it felt Forest could and should have taken three points with a bit more of purpose against an average Millwall side. Regardless, unbeaten and unbowed this will go down as a good point in the context of the season.

The fans were in fine fettle, the 10th anniversary since Brian’s death adding to the atmosphere. Spirits were high even during the 30-minute wait to get out of the ground.

I’m already planning the next game, I won’t leave it so long again…

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js”;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,”script”,”twitter-wjs”);

Related Topics