Nottingham
Forest
  28th Oct
2000
Score
2-1
Venue:
Edgeley Park

Attendance:
6,021

Referee:
Mr M.Warren

Goal One
Edward og 48mins
Goal Two
Lester 75 mins
Goal Three
Lester 88 mins





 
Stockport County
   
Beasant   Nash
Edwardsog     Nicholson
Bart-Williams   Flynn
Vaughan Cooper
Scimeca Moore
Prutton   Gibb
Johnson   Wiss
Jones Wilbraham
Rogers Smith
Blake Tod
Lester Bergerson
Substitutes     Substitutes
Roche   Maxwell
Louis-Jean Woodthorpe
Harewood L.Jones
Olsen Bryngelsson
Williams   Lawson

Report by Becky Gamester

Last time Forest played at Stockport, it was the last game of last season between two mid-table sides with little to play for in an almost light-hearted 3-2 victory for the reds.

This game couldn’t have been more different, not least the contrasting weather of the freezing cold, windy and rainy terraces of Edgeley Park. However, the brave set of Forest fans were, as always, in full voice despite the disappointing weather and, for most of the game, the performance to match. After witnessing a superb performance in midweek against Burnley, expectation was high for this game. However, Stockport were not to be underestimated as they trounced promotion hopefuls Birmingham 3-0 last week at Edgeley Park. And, for around 65 minutes or so, Forest were constantly being pushed back by a battling County side.

There were two dangerous efforts towards the Forest goal within the first 10 minutes as Stockport immediately put Forest on the back foot. Luckily, whilst looking a battling side that shouldn’t really be in the trouble that they find themselves in within the depths of Division One, they simply didn’t have the quality up front to put away the chances that should’ve been their’s. At the same time, former Forest striker Ian Moore proved why exactly he was offloaded from the City Ground as he cocked up several striking chances whilst still looking like ‘he has potential’. Funny that things haven’t moved on for the former Tranmere youngster. However, the pacey frontman did find the back of the net for Stockport’s second goal disallowed (the first was correctly disallowed for offside), but the ref’s whistle had already gone for pushing.

As they went in for half time, a draw was looking good. Forest, to be blunt, were pretty awful. On one occasion they managed to string together three passes if my memory serves me correctly, but the front two of Lester and Blake, impressive in recent games, had little to do as the service lacked from midfield. However, defensive duo Edwards and Vaughan were both looking typically solid at the back, although it was almost inevitable that something was going to give in the second half. And it did, shortly after half time.

Moore, again showing flickers of ‘potential’ saw his shot on target closed down by Edwards, only for it to deflect into the net leaving Beasant no chance. With a mediocre Stockport side, it came as no surprise that they couldn’t score for themselves. For the majority of this season, Forest have always shown a fighting spirit after conceding with some effect. However, they just didn’t improve and it quickly became apparent that something drastic needed to be changed.

Step in Mr Platt – he made an inspirational double-substitution that would change the face of the game. Vaughan, who had been booked earlier on, was replaced by Olsen and the non-existent Blake came off for Marlon. The formation switched to 4-4-2, which had been the usual formation for away games and immediately Forest actually started to play. Marlon, always a joy to watch for one reason or another was evidently fired up for this one and his influence seemed to spread throughout the team whereas Olsen again proved why Platt has brought him over from America with some great skills on the attack down the left.

Then all of a sudden Prutton played a great ball to Johnson, whose shot rebounded off the ‘keeper only for Lester to tuck it away cleanly. Forest had go the goal they wanted – and desperately needed – as we were looking forward to a lucky point. Surely Forest wouldn’t get the winner?! But they did. After an hour or so of scrappy, ‘in the air’ football from the away team when we had seen such a great show of pass and move on Wednesday, Forest’s ‘awakening’ immediately troubled Stockport and Forest grabbed the goal with a couple of minutes to go. The high ball in from Bartman found Marlon who unselfishly (for once!) supplied the goal assist for Lester to smash in his double. It wasn’t the best of performances. In fact, it was pretty terrible – maybe the weather had something to do with it; the last time I travelled to a game in this part of the world in such conditions we were soundly beaten by the might of Bury.

But, as Forest have found out so many times in the last few years, when you’re struggling at the bottom luck doesn’t go your way. And when you’re going for promotion (or the play-offs at least), as we discovered on numerous occasions in our championship-winning season (oh how long ago that seems!), it does :-)

Report by Burton Red, (Bridport Reds Brother!)

What a difference a week makes. Having endured the defeat by Watford, I would not have been inclined to go to Stockport, but the 5-0 win in mid-week put me in a more optimistic frame of mind, so I tried to tempt Bridport to make the journey from London to Edgeley Park. It's probably just as well he didn't, because he was in disgrace with his sister-in-law for forgetting his nephew's birthday. So it was that brother Burton set off for Manchester for a birthday treat with the said son and his younger brother.

The omens were not good. Last time I went to an autumn game with Peter, it was at the third-ranking team of a Northwestern city, Tranmere last year. A 3-0 defeat followed the loss of the first goal, after a somewhat scrappy first half. I mention this as evidence of the progress that has been made in a year.

A late start and a filthy journey through the south-eastern approaches ensured that we only arrived at 2.55, but a flukey car parking space and quick trip to the ticket office meant that we only missed the first two minutes. One reason for taking the boys was to show them what football used to be like. In the end I thought that the uncovered Railway End was taking authenticity too far, though many of the faithful braved it. This was the Bridgford End of 20 years ago, only worse. But 26 for seats for three of us wasn't bad, even if it was a restricted view - see below.

The match was sponsored by Stockport's main sponsors, Robinsons, and at first it looked as if both teams had had five pints each. To be fair, the conditions were absolutely atrocious, and both teams did well to play a clean game. The first half resembled a pinball machine, with the ball cannoning around all over the place, frequently miles up into the air. Stockport had more of the attacking play, without actually looking quite like scoring. They did have two efforts disallowed, one for offside, one for a foul - in passing, it's worth mentioning the advantage of a small ground, that you can hear the whistle before the ball goes into the net! - but the closest they came to scoring was an effort low down by Beasant's right hand post that needed a fine save to keep out. They also hit the bar. Forest's efforts were restricted to a couple of runs by Rogers.

Two minutes into the second half all that changed. A fine run down the right by Stockport - Kevin Cooper, I think, who had been their most dangerous player in the first half - resulted in a good low cross. At this point the restricted view came into play. That pillar was as over-engineered as they come, and I couln't really see what happened except the net rippling and the ref signalling a goal. It did seem that the Forest defence had gone AWOL, but later reports indicated that it was an o.g. by Christian Edwards.

Whatever, it's worth harking back to that Tranmere game. Last year I was not confident of an equaliser - and Forest duly lost discipline and folded, but this time I still thought they'd get something out of the game. The other significant factor was that the Hatters are clearly lacking in confidence, and even at 1-0 up they didn't start to play as though they thought they were going to win. Forest started to play at last, and this process was accelerated when - on about 55 minutes - Platt made a double substitution of Marlon and Ben Olsen for TV and a somewhat subdued Blake.

They started to play better at once. Olsen immediately linked up with Johnson and Rogers on the left, while Prutton and Harewood combined effectively with Scimeca on the right. At last the whole team managed to find the feet of the splendid Lester, with his back to goal, allowing him to turn his man. Forest slowly but surely wrested control of the midfield and the pressure started to tell. On about 70 minutes I had just remarked that if Forest scored, they'd get two, when the game suddenly turned. A corner on the right was not properly cleared and the midfield got the ball back in to the box. The ensuing melee left the goalkeeper stranded and Jack Lester coolly struck it home from about 10 yards. After that everyone in the ground knew that if there were to be a winner, only one side could get it.

At this point I have to pay tribute to football journalists for the ability to recall exactly how goals are scored, when the rest of us just have a vague recollection. So I wouldn't like to be on oath about the second goal except that again it resulted from the midfield's inability to say die. A ball was pumped back in - by Johnno, I think - and again Jack was on hand to sweep home from similar range. The great thing to report about Jack's finishes is that he never for one moment looked like missing either of them.

So three points from an away game in terrible conditions. That can't be bad. An absence of panic and the ability to play back into form are both plus points. And more than anything, David Platt has reached the end of October still in contention. And if the defence isn't perfect, Colin Calderwood may be back soon...



© Nottingham Forest 2000


 


Copyright © 2000 Nottingham Forest F.C.