Some players just get Nottingham Forest and homegrown academy graduate Wes Morgan was one those people.

Having come through the City Ground ranks, he would go onto make 381 appearances for the Reds and serve the club with distinction.

The centre-back was as strong as they come and read the game as good as any defender, I’ve ever seen on Trentside.

He also managed 10 goals in the famous Garibaldi and his most spectacular came in some style.

Picture the scene, Nottingham Forest against Notts County, 8000 away fans packed into the Bridgford Stand and all ready to start the ridicule.

(Photo; James Williamson; AMA; Getty Images)

The League One outfit led Steve McClaren’s team 3-2 with just seconds of stoppage time at the end of extra-time remaining.

Martin Allen, the Notts manager, stood on the touchline badgering the fourth official that time was indeed up. He had a point, I think, luckily, Geoff Miller’s watch had stopped.

Forest’s boss stood uneasy. This wasn’t how his first couple of weeks at the City Ground were supposed to go.

Losing to Derby is tough to take for any Forest boss but losing to Notts County in 2011 would have been nothing short of embarrassing.

McClaren was supposed to be the man chosen to do what Billy Davies couldn’t and finally restore Forest’s status as a Premier League club.

A derby-day defeat is one thing but the Reds have always had the edge of County.

Derby County along the A52 have enjoyed their own success over the years but Notts have always been in Forest’s shadow.

That may sound harsh but it’s true.


Anyway, on this occasion danger was averted thanks to the unlikeliest of sources.

With the game ebbing away from Forest and literally seconds on the referee’s watch; Morgan found himself thrust into the attack.

(Photo; Michael Regan; Getty Images)

George Boateng’s long ball found Robbie Findlay, he cushioned it back to Morgan who lashes an unstoppable effort past Stuart Nelson in the Notts goal from 25 yards.

It flew, like a rocket and like it had just come off the right foot of a Raddy Majewski and nearly took the net away from the goal frame.

Watching the footage again, Notts left-back Alan Sheehan puts his hands on his head and joins the travelling contingent of supporters behind the goal in despair.

Morgan’s beauty sent the game to penalties and Forest didn’t exactly make light work of those.

Lee Hughes had a penalty to win it for Notts but couldn’t find a way past Paul Smith and when Neal Bishop fired over, Forest had squeezed home.

Morgan’s goal was nothing short of spectacular and it’s fair to say he’s never struck a ball in such fashion since.

(Photo; Pete Norton; Getty Images)

His departure from Forest in 2012 was a tough one to take for supporters.

It’s never easy to see homegrown talent depart but there was genuine optimism that Morgan could be a one-club man.

Despite the fact he went to Leicester, very few Forest fans would begrudge him the glory he had when he lifted the Premier League title with the Foxes in 2016.

The uncompromising defender is grounded, humble and at Dunkirk FC on Lenton Lane where he learnt his trade, one of his Forest shirts still sits proudly on the wall.

I maintain that Morgan is the best player to ever come through the youth ranks at Forest and his thunderbolt against Notts was comfortably one of my favourite City Ground strikes.

(Photo; Laurence Griffiths; Getty Images)
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