Forest came out inexplicably wearing black and blue today, possibly something to do with the players giving their shirts away at the end of the match. Great savings for the club in not having to buy new kit for next season!
Well, the match didn't start like an end of season stroll in the park. John had an early chance on 5 minutes with a shot just looped around the goal. But that was about all Forest managed in the first half. They appeared to be lacking in every quality needed to win from enthusiasm through to skill. And it was Tranmere who deservedly went ahead on 13 minutes with a bullet of a header from Rideout into the top corner, to celebrate his retirement as a player. It seemed that the only player actually playing for Forest was Beasant who saved a diving header from N'Diaye and another shot from the same player a couple of minutes later.
The second half started without promise as the game drifted into total monotony. And then Marlon came on for David Johnson who had looked out of sorts for the whole match. And Marlon did what only he can do, and more, and that is to add a spark of hope to an otherwise dreadful afternoon. We all expect him to cause a bit of havoc and make some great runs. But we don't expect him to score not once, but twice. And good goals they were. The first on 65 minutes came from Bart-Williams who spotted Scimeca at the far post who in turn headed the ball to Marlon who volleyed the ball in. Before his second N'Diaye missed an easy opportunity to regain the lead, it was one of those where it would have been easier for him to score than miss, but miss he did. And on 78 minutes he broke from the defender and lifted the ball over the keeper. The Forest fans at last had something to shout about and celebrated with the conga and a verse of 'That Loving Feeling'.
But the win was grabbed from Forest on 92 minutes, literally just before the final whistle as Mellon caught the Forest defence out and a deflection slipped the ball in the net. A disappointing end to a disappointing season.
Tranmere are joined in Division 2 by QPR and Huddersfield as Portsmouth escaped with a win. Forest are joined next season by Milwall and Rotherham, Bradford and Coventry, with the final two places to be decided in the playoffs.
David Platt was obviously disappointed today at only managing a draw
and felt his side were not there mentally as individuals. "When some
players are not there the whole performance goes down. I was pleased with
the way we started but the rest of the half we just dwindled away."
Platt was pleased with Marlon Harewood today. "I was particularly pleased with the way he finished both goals. He shows great pace and power but doesn't always manage to score."
Commenting on the season as a whole Platt put Forest's current position down to the number of games where they failed to get a draw and others where they lost after going behind first. Just 6 or 7 points lost have put Forest out of playoff contention.
© Nottingham Forest 2001