13th Dec
The City Ground


Mr. C Wilkes

Goal One
Ndlovu 56 mins
Goal Two
Dyson 60 mins
Goal Three
Gallen 61 mins
Goal Four
Reid 69mins

Beasant   Vaesen
Edwards     Jenkins
Bart-Williams   Dyson v
Calderwood Armstrong
Scimeca Gray
Prutton   Baldry
Jones   Heary
Olsen Thornley
Foy Holland
Reid Gallen
John Ndlovu
Substitutes     Substitutes
Roche   Margetson
Gray Vincent
Dawson Irons
Brennan Gorre
Harewood Facey

It has been hard to keep up with the injuries this week and once again David Platt has had to change the team. Both Lester and loan signing Upson joined the walking wounded this week and Vaughan is suspended for two matches. So Calderwood, Jones and John all join the starting line-up. With the prospect of third or possibly second place with a win the pressure was on the team for a win.

A full house thanks to the special 5 per ticket offer assured that there would be a great atmosphere in spite of the wind and rain. And although Huddersfield are rooted at the bottom of the division they have won their last two matches and with Ndlovu in goalscoring form it was not going to be a walkover. So, what went wrong?

Well, it was just a game too many in a week with so many injuries and a heavy pitch to contend with. But you can't blame three goals on bad weather and injuries. There isn't a lot to say about the first half. Neither side showed a great deal of skill with Huddersfield booting the ball up the pitch and Forest not getting the ball through to the front two.

Early on both Foy and Olsen got close with some good crosses. And Prutton came close but shot over the bar. But Stern John looked far too slow and we predicted he would not be coming out for the second half. Forest in the end were lucky not to be going in at half time a goal down as Ndlovu shot wide seconds before the whistle put us out of our misery.

Harewood started the second half for John and added life to the Forest front line. But it was a near goal from Huddersfield, which clattered off the post, which brought Forest and the crowd temporarily to life. It looked for a few minutes as if Forest were going to take the game by the scruff of the neck and get a result. They piled on the pressure and the crowd roared. Marlon sent a ball across goal to Olsen who sent the ball towards goal but the keeper pulled off a good save.

And it was only a couple of minutes later, on 56 minutes, that it all went pear shaped. Out of nowhere Huddersfield lobbed the ball up the pitch, Ndlovu got on the end of it and, with the defence nowhere to be seen, sent the ball past Beasant.

Their second goal came on 60 minutes from a corner, but not before Ndlovu nearly caught Beasant out again. And the third followed only a minute later. So, within 5 minutes the game had fallen apart for Forest. And it can only be blamed on the defence. Calderwood looked unfit, Edwards had a poor match and Bart-Williams was just looking a bit too weary by then. Forest's goal came on 69 minutes with Reid picking up a deflected save and putting the ball past the keeper. For a while it looked like Forest could get something out of the game. But by then only Olsen, Harewood and Reid looked like they had the energy left. Marlon sent one shot flying over and Olsen had a great shot on 87 minutes.

So 27,000 people went home unhappy. I really hope that it does not put off those who came for the first time tonight. Because I don't really feel that we saw the true Forest out there tonight and I can't even feel angry that they missed a great opportunity to climb the table. Yes, the defence were poor and they should not have let a side like Huddersfield get the better of them by lobbing the ball up the pitch.

On the plus side Reid looks ever better and Olsen will at least be with the Club long enough to help them through the Christmas matches. But it is very worrying when you think of the number of players out injured - Scimeca joined them tonight and will be out for 6 weeks and Lester is going to be out for about three months. And whilst it is great to have the youngsters to fall back on they need to rest or they too will be joining the list. You could see tonight why Ndlovu was on Platt's shopping list. He played well tonight as he did earlier in the season with Birmingham. His pace at times was awesome and his skill in front of goal is something Forest could do with desperately now.

© Nottingham Forest 2000


Copyright © 2000 Nottingham Forest F.C.