16th Jan
0- 1
City Ground


Mr Paul Durkin

Goal 1:

Beasant     Manninger
Rogers     Dixon
Hjelde   Winterburn
Gemmill   Adams
Johnson Anelka
Bart-Williams     Bergkamp
Armstrong   Overmars
Bonalair Keown
Darcheville   Parlour
Lyttle     Petit
van Hooijdonk   Garde
Substitutes     Substitutes
Quashie Vivas
Crossley     Wrey
Shipperley   Upson
Woan     Lukic
Edwards     Caballero

© Nottingham Forest 1999

So Ron Atkinson swept into The City Ground with more photographers following him than Peter Mandleson.

The City Ground pitch looked more like Mablethorpe Beach rather than Barbados and he took his triumphal position in the Arsenal dugout until the Arsenal subs told him he was in the wrong place!

 The game started off at a good pace on a difficult pitch and both sets of fans were making their presence known.

Johnson and Gemmill looked comfortable in midfield and if it hadn't been for Referee Paul Durkin booking Gemmill early on we may have seen Gemmill making the difference between the two sides.

There had been nothing between the sides until the 36th min when Petit put across one of his long balls for Adams to head on and for Keown to put it in bouncing over Bonalair.

It was an example of Lady Luck yet again playing against Forest.

Beasant brought off a great save from Anelka and then it was time for the Bovril.

The half time conversation was that Forest were looking better than they have for a long time but not looking as if they could break down the Arsenal back four.

People were still returning to their seats when Johnson put in a screaming shot that hit the post and Pierre van Hooijdonk put in a shot that Manninger scrambled clear.

 As the game went on it was apparent that Forest hadn't enough in their Armoury to break down the Arsenal defence, but they showed enough that with luck, Carlton Palmer, Steve Stone, and hopefully other new faces, Ron Atkinson and Peter Shreeves may pull off the miracle.

The joy of the afternoon to me was to see Emmanuel Petit dominate a midfield, never moving too far away from the centre of the field except to put in his long searching corners and free kicks.

It is the first time this season I have seen a really world class player at the City Ground, and before you all bombard me with emails, it is only my opinion!