Two equalisers from Michail Antonio rescued a point for Nottingham Forest as they drew 2-2 with Watford. Fraser Ball offers a fan’s eye view from Vicarage Road…



I said to my wife before watching the game on Saturday against Cardiff that I was fed up of drawing games. A win would make a nice change. Careful what you wish for eh?

So, another game three days later gave us the opportunity to bounce back.

The line-up suggested that perhaps a bounce-back win might be a little optimistic. It wasn’t the biggest surprise to see Pearce returning to a five-man midfield to counter the 4-3-3 formation that Watford normally employ.

I’m not a fan of ‘mascots’. When I was a kid in the 70s we seemed to manage to enjoy ourselves at a football match without them. It was interesting to see the Hornets goading our fans into what the young people of today call ‘banter’. Ironically, if this was the hooligan days of the 70s you’d have probably seen a few fans contributing to the mascot’s salary by measure of giving him some small change.

Anyway, the game started quite brightly for us and we seemed up for the fight. However, that early promise gave way to Watford having a lot of possession. Osborn and Tesche were chasing shadows for most of the game and we couldn’t get a foot on the ball.

Vydra ripped us apart a couple of seasons back and I was fearful of him doing the same again. Playing just off the front men he had plenty of space wherever he roamed showing that, at Championship level at least, he is one of the most intelligent players around. Forestieri was also looking lively and our five midfielders were certainly getting the run around.

Darlow made a couple of good saves from long range efforts and stood his ground well when Vydra waltzed through our back four and seemed to hesitate a bit before Darlow closed him down.

A cross that looked like it would be cleared easily was flicked into the net by Ighalo to give Watford the lead on the half hour. It was deserved on the balance of play, but it did seem bit of a sloppy goal to concede. The lead didn’t last long because Antonio had a one-on-one with Ekstrand and went round him with ease before sliding it past Gomes from a tight angle to level things at 1-1.

 

Then came the most contentious incident of the night. With Vydra breaking through our defence, only to be brought down by Mancienne just outside the box. From behind the goal it didn’t look good, but the linesman seemed to be indicating that Harding was the last man (although I wouldn’t mind seeing it again). Gomes obviously has got incredible eyesight on him because he saw it all clearly from the other end of the pitch and raced down to the Forest penalty area to let the referee know what had happened.

Anyway, a yellow was given and when the free kick was charged down you felt we really had dodged a bullet. We made it to half-time without any further incident and at 1-1 it felt like we had ridden a storm and were right in this.

The second-half was only five minutes old when Wilson clumsily bundled over Vydra to give the home side a penalty which he got up to convert.

As Vaughan started to get going, moving the ball across our midfield and stretching Watford, Burke picked up the ball inside our half and took the ball around his marker. The ball seemed to go out of play, but I was quite a way from it and don’t posses the superhero eyesight of Gomes, so it may have been kept in. It was right in front of the linesman and benches and no one seemed to complain much at the time. Burke continued a mazy run down the right, a neat step-over and a superb cross to the back post saw Antonio rise and power the ball into the net for another equaliser.

Now the momentum was with Forest but despite some good possession there wasn’t really another clear-cut chance and the points were shared.

All in all, a good performance against a team that is clearly one of the best in the division. It’s a long tough season and we’re still in the mix. A good run of wins and we will be back fighting for one of the coveted two top spots.

Maybe these draws aren’t such a bad result after all.


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