22nd Aug
The Feethams


Mr Bill Burns

Goal One
Elliott 14 mins pen
Goal Two
20mins Pen
Goal Three
Naylor 60 mins
Goal Four
Rogers 72 mins

Beasant   van der Geest
Louis-Jean     Heckinbotham
Vaughan   Liddle
Doig   Reed
Brennan   Aspin
Prutton   Himsworth
Jones   Gray
Bart-Williams Elliott
Rogers Naylor
John Hiorth
Harewood Williamson
Substitutes     Substitutes
Roche   Collett
Platt Campbell
Dawson   Kilty
Lester Hodgson
Gray Angell

© Nottingham Forest 2000

Report by Becky Gamester
Despite the dark clouds looming over the bleak terraces of Darlington, one could be forgiven for a feel of optimism before the game. Forest were nine games unbeaten after all, and it was somewhat strange knowing that we hadn’t conceded this term! A good defence is always a solid starting point for a team to improve over the season, but Forest faced their first mini-crisis after solid defensive duo Hjelde and Riccy were ruled out with injury, meaning a welcome return for Vaughan.

However, if anything for the first ten minutes the team as a whole was diabolical. Darlington were winning all the fifty-fifty balls as Forest continued to hoof the ball up the field in the hope that some headless chicken had read it via psychic powers up front. Inevitably, this was not to be; even if Marlon did get the ball, there was no-one to help him. Stern John looked slow and wasn’t linking with Harewood at all well. However, it was pleasing to see potentially our star player improve greatly as the match went on – and comfortably completing the 90 minutes.

The first goal, a Darlington penalty, was rather dubious. As Marlon misplaced a fatal ball, Vaughan ‘brought down’ inexperienced youngster Gary Williamson as the juvenile thing made a meal out of it. The tackle was a clean one from where I was sitting and although Vaughan did catch him, the ball was quite clearly taking first. At least it shut up the old Darlo bloke behind me, who had been forever slagging off the Scarborough ref (northern prejudice, you know) and Beasant had no chance as the ball was smashed to the ‘keeper’s right.

This had its good points as Forest suddenly realised where they were and woke up. Just six minutes later the ball was passed to the right for Gary Jones, who ran into the penalty area and was consequently felled. Bartman slammed in the sport-kick and Forest were a little lucky to be equal in terms of possession, although the actual foul itself was less dubious than the previous penalty. Rogers, who unfortunately seemed to have carried on where he left off after Norwich, suddenly started to sprint down the left again and linked brilliantly with the impressive Brennan for the rest of the match. Crosses were flying in time after time from this left side and if it weren’t for a missed opportunity by Marlon when he really should have scored with a free header, and a superb save by the Darlington ‘keeper from John, Forest could have been ahead at the break. However, 1-1 and we were relatively happy after an impressive pick-up after the first goal.

Whilst munching on a worryingly dodgy pie at half-time, I couldn’t help but chuckle when it suddenly dawned on me that Forest fans had been summoned to a shed of a stand. Those of you who have been to Feethams will know that the away stand is situated on the length of the pitch, yet it only covers about a third of the length and was a larger version than the programme booth, which was a garden shed with a hole in it (no, really). Despite there being a relatively low amount of fans that had made the journey up from Nottingham, they were still relatively loud as the Darlo fans snapped ‘Who are you?’. However, these ironic chants from opposing supporters may be short-lived as Forest continued to struggle to show anything to support their ‘big’ club status. The thought of travelling to such grounds (stadium seems a little inappropriate) is much more of a reality than it was, say five years ago.

The second half started brightly with Forest looking the better, although the first real defensive collapse came about when Williamson couldn’t connect from no more than 2 yards out. Forest did continue to play the better but just when a goal was looming, it came from the third division side when Glenn Naylor easily placed the ball past Beasant. Platty then realised the threat of an upset and brought himself on for Marlon, who hadn’t had one of his better games, and subsequently made very little impact.

From then on, the game was real end to end stuff as both pushed for another goal. It was Forest who got their second away goal as Rogers was found in space by Bartman. The top-scorer then blasted the ball on target and hoped – and Forest were relieved when it deflected off a Darlo player, giving their ‘keeper no chance. The firey pace of the game was maintained however as the impressive Prutton was booked for a bad tackle. After the final few minutes of both sides going for the winner, the final whistle blew and 2-2 was probably a fair result. I had seen worse from Forest and they did seem to miss Hjelde, who has already seemed to be commanding from the back this season.

Not a great performance by all means, but at the end of the day we go into the second leg level, at home and against a side that can easily be beaten when we are playing well. The signing of Robbie Blake could be the deciding factor as service to the front is the main problem in the side. With Alan Rogers hopefully regaining his form and continuing to link so well with Brennan – my man of the match after putting in some superb crosses tonight – service from at least two out of the three areas should put the Quakers out. Hopefully
.Becky Gamester "From The Terrace"


Copyright © 2000 Nottingham Forest F.C.