Since Forest recently came up against Bristol City, it’s perhaps fitting that we continue our new feature of memorable goals with a famous strike against the Robins.
The Reds returned to the Championship in 2008 after a three-year hiatus slugging it out down in League One. But for Dexter Blackstock, Forest’s stay in the Championship might well have proved extremely short-lived indeed.
Forest took on Bristol City without a win in five games and sat inside the relegation zone, in serious danger of being cut adrift.
Things didn’t start well either. On-loan goalkeeper Iain Turner wasn’t always known for his brilliance and his attempt at a save spilt into the path of Ivan Sproule who fired home to increase the pressure on Forest.
Robert Earnshaw equalised for Forest and at the interval, things were nicely poised.
The second half proved nervy and 12 minutes from time, Billy Davies’ team were made to pay for a host of missed chances.
Turn for the worse
Another error of judgement from Turner allowed Dele Adebola (yes, that one), to pounce and seemingly force Forest closer to League One.
The last eight minutes of this particular game are looked back on with some fondness though and if every football match could be won in such fashion, it’d be a supporter’s dream.
First, Jamie McAllister was sent off and a minute later Joe Garner prodded home at the near post to equalise.
I confess I didn’t think Garner had managed to get his effort over the line, it wasn’t until my mate grabbed me in pure jubilation that I realised we had actually scored and the ball hadn’t been headed into the side netting.
Still, a point wouldn’t really cut it for Forest – a win was desperately required.
The target man had signed for the Reds on loan from QPR and prior to the Bristol City game hadn’t found the net for Forest.
I often think his Bristol City moment was the making of him at the City Ground and probably helped his time at the club take off.
Gareth McCleary crossed, Garner headed on, two Bristol players tried to clear and the ball just fell onto Blackstock’s left peg.
He kept it low, hit it hard and fired his shot into the bottom corner in front of the Trent End.
The roof came off the City Ground, grown men practically sobbing in jubilation at some light at the end of what had proved a miserable season.
I re-watched the goal to try and do the strike justice for this piece and the fact it gave me goosebumps just seeing the clip again speaks volumes.
One goal, of course, didn’t keep us in the division but it proved the catalyst for Forest to survive quite comfortably.
Davies’ team won twice and drew twice during their last four outings, securing a 19th place finish and signing Blackstock on a permanent basis.
I often found some of the criticism thrown at the striker tiresome. During his time at the club, he scored 45 goals in 187 appearances; building up a strong rapport with Robert Earnshaw.
His celebration on that particular afternoon said to me what Forest meant to him, even in the early days of his career at the club.
Off came the shirt, and on came the supporters who got out of their seats to mob the hero of the hour.
Blackstock scored plenty of important goals for the Reds but this was arguably his defining moment in the Garibaldi.