I originally wrote this piece watching Gareth Taylor lift the FA Cup – the women’s version, that is. His Manchester City outfit had just edged past Everton 3-1 in the showpiece final at Wembley.

Back in 2004, whilst donning the famous Garibaldi, I witnessed the Forest striker bring a grown man to actual tears.

The date was February 28th and Bradford City arrived at the City Ground for a Division One clash.

Forest were on a miserable run, a streak which had seen Paul Hart pay the ultimate price, sacked following a 1-0 defeat over Coventry City a few weeks previous.

Manchester United Women v Manchester City Women - Barclays FA Women's Super League
(Photo; Michael Regan; Getty Images)

The new incumbent was Joe Kinnear – a surprise choice to step into the breach given that he had been out of the game for a little while.

All of Kinnear’s first three games had finished in draws – 3-3 with Walsall, 1-1 with Rotherham and a goalless draw against Gillingham.

Although he had stopped the rot, the winless run of games had stretched to 17 games prior to the game with Bradford.

Forest were in a perilous position towards the foot of the league and needed to find some form to avoid dropping into Division Two.

When Andy Reid struck after nine minutes, the relief from my position in the Trent End was evident, Braford themselves were struggling and a collapse was anticipated.

Wrong!

Dean Windass fired home just 10 minutes later and once again the relief was replaced by anxiety once more. Every misplaced pass was greeted with moans and groans and the afternoon became cagey once more.

Bradford won just 10 matches all season during 2003/04, highlighting just how much this game was filed under ‘must-win’ for Forest.

 

Frustration

The clock had struck 90 and another game without victory seemed on the cards. What followed will stay with me for as long as I’m a supporter of this football club.

Reid, so often Forest’s saviour over the years provided a pin point cross and Taylor beat his man to power a header into the net sending the City Ground into raptures.

It was out first win since we’d beat the Bantams at Valley Parade in October and proved the catalyst for Forest to lose just two of their last 13 matches.

I will never forget celebrating that goal and as a turned round the elderly chap who used to sit behind me was wiping the tears away from his face.

It’d been a miserable time of things for the Reds – I dread to think how Twitter would have reacted to such a run – but for this particular supporter it was like we’d just won a trophy.

Everton v Manchester City - Vitality Women's FA Cup: Final
(Photo; Tom Flathers; Manchester City FC; Getty Images)

Of course, it was just another three points but the win was so vital and in such dramatic fashion that the whole occasion had just got too much for him.

Taylor played 114 times for the Reds, sometimes featuring at centre-back under Gary Megson.

He scored 25 goals for the football club and what he lacked in ability he made up for in sheer determination to do his best in every performance.

As one of the players tasked with replacing Marlon Harewood when he departed for West Ham it would always prove a thankless task to convince absolutely every supporter.

Journeyman

Taylor would play for Tranmere, Doncaster and Wrexham after leaving Forest, retiring from the professional game in 2011 with 15 caps to his name for Wales too.

Brentford B v Manchester City U18's
(Photo; Alex Burstow; Getty Images)

Another highlight was his goal that earned Forest a 1-1 draw at Tottenham in the FA Cup.

That game, however, was something of a free hit with neutrals expecting Forest to be thrashed by the Premier League outfit.

In the context of what it did and how much pressure it eased, his strike against Bradford was, in my opinion, his most important in a red shirt.

Have something to tell us about this article?