As Brice Samba watched a 97th minute Kyle McFadzean effort squirm into the net, Nottingham Forest stopper Ethan Horvath might have been forgiven for licking his lips.
The Congolese stopper had done well to keep an initial header out after Callum O’Hare’s dangerous set-piece. McFadzean’s tame effort shouldn’t have beaten him. It did though and Samba could now pay the price.
In signing Horvath, Forest now have genuine competition for Samba’s place. That may sound harsh on Jordan Smith, although he never really looked close to ousting the former Caen man as the permanent number one.
Forest landed Horvath on a free transfer in the summer. He departed Club Brugge at the end of his contract and made one appearance in the Champions League during 2020/21.
With Forest having two friendlies cancelled, Horvath hasn’t yet managed to get a run out for his new club.
On Wednesday night, the Reds take on Bradford City in the Carabao Cup and that might have been pencilled in for Horvath’s debut even before Samba’s erratic moment.
Now, he could have a real chance to make the Forest goalkeeping jersey his own. The American will be desperate to make his mark at the club and to aid his international game time, he’ll want to be playing.
Samba or Horvath: Hughton provided with Forest conundrum
In truth, Samba didn’t have much to do in the defeat at Coventry yesterday. He tipped one effort onto the bar with the Reds in front but other than that it should have been a routine day.
The sign of a really good goalkeeper is having very little to do but then coming up trumps later on when actually called upon.
Samba’s save was a good one from the initial effort in the build-up to Coventry’s winner, but in no way should the follow up have beaten him.
This has been the 27-year-old all over since he arrived at Forest. He is capable of the sublime but he also lets himself down with too many casual moments that cost his team goals.
Horvath could get a chance to make his debut on Wednesday night. Two seasons ago Samba made his first outing for Forest during a 1-0 win over Fleetwood in the same competition.
Following that, he never looked back, ousting Aro Muric from the team. If Horvath produces the goods against Bradford, he could find himself quickly becoming Hughton’s number one custodian.