Since my last two goals in this feature have been a testament to a club hero and a derby-day classic, I thought I’d plump for one that was enjoyable for the sheer brilliance of it.
Simon Cox was what you’d call a workhorse. His work rate was never in question during his time at Forest but he never really showcased that he’d be capable of scoring 20 goals in a single season.
Nonetheless, a clash against Birmingham City in 2012 gave the City Ground faithful a memory of Cox that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
Forest were in something of a transition period. The club had just been sold and Sean O’Driscoll appointed as the club’s manager.
We faced Birmingham with two wins and two draws to their name from the first four games of the season.
The game had proved to be a frustrating afternoon. Our former talisman Marlon King had scored against and with just over 15 minutes left to play, the visitors were leading 2-0.
In the 73rd minute, however, Cox took centre-stage. If Lewis McGugan’s pass was a joy to behold, the striker’s finesse and sheer quality completely eclipsed what had come before.
The pint-sized Forest striker controlled the ball out of the sky and with his next touch lifted if beautifully over the head of Jack Butland in the Birmingham goal.
In just two touches of the ball, Cox has left the City Ground in awe and handed Forest a lifeline.
At the time from my position in the upper tier of the Trent End I wasn’t entirely sure of what had just happened. Trailing 2-1 the celebrations were evident but slightly subdued considering we did still find ourselves behind in the game.
It wasn’t until I checked Twitter afterwards and saw #SimonCox trending that I realised we’d witnessed something quite spectacular.
I don’t typically find myself watching highlights of games Forest have lost. Just one of those little things that I haven’t been able to bring myself to do over the years.
It’s probably courtesy of a late Dan Harding goal which earned the Reds a point that I was even able to relive Cox’s goal over, and over, again.
For anyone who can’t remember the strike, or isn’t of an age to remember it, stop reading this piece and YouTube it right now.
To this day I maintain that had Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo scored it, Sky Sports would have made a montage of it with camera angles from 57 different viewpoints! It was that good.
Even Rio Ferdinand took to Twitter to rave about the brilliance of Cox.
Following the game he put out a Tweet which read, “Wow… I seen the goal of the season already. Simon Cox of Nottingham Forest took a ball out the sky, 2 keepy uppys and dispatched it nicely!”
Spelling and grammar might not be Rio’s forte, but an eye for ability certainly is.
In 57 league games for the Reds, Cox only managed 13 goals. It would be fair to say that his endeavour and commitment to the cause probably warranted more.
I think in terms of unbelievable skill it’s the cutest goal that the City Ground has seen for many years.
If you take a long ranger thunderbolt for example, they’re all good and well but if a Sunday League player connect properly with a long-range effort, it’s not completely out of the ordinary for it to sail into the top corner.
An average Joe of a player would spent weeks, months or in some cases, a lifetime trying to replicate Cox’s moment of magic from 2012 and get absolutely nowhere near achieving anything close.
The ex-striker’s goal is one that still lives fond in the memory and remains a YouTube classic.