© Nottingham Forest 1999
Before the game the whole crowd stood for a minutes silence in respect of the tenth anniversary on April 15th of the Hillsborough disaster, and I must praise all the fans for it being in TOTAL silence....thank you. Although not a classic match it was a typical Forest v Liverpool game where we did not want Liverpool gain their first win at The City Ground since 1987. After 10 mins Liverpool had hit the bottom of the Forest upright, and from the break Harewood beat two players and put a hard cross in for Freedman and van Hooijdonk but it was deflected away by a Liverpool player who just put it over the bar for a corner. On 13 mins Gough was adjudged to bring Ince down on the edge of the area, although from the Trent End it looked as if Ince was going down before he was touched!! For some reason the Forest wall was at least 13yds away from the ball and Redknapp flashed the ball into the top left hand corner before Crossley could move. By now Johnson was fighting hard in midfield winning ball after ball and Harewood was starting to show the skill we know he has, especially when he stops his imitation of a headless chicken. Forest were now getting men back behind the ball when Rogers forced Staunton into a mistake and ran at James who had sprinted a full 30 yds to get to the ball.
Half Time and I thought it had been a hard fought half with Forest being unlucky to be one down, Larry Lloyd on Century 106 had thought it had been a dreadful performance, and that is his opinion, I thought from what we have seen this year, it was one of their better games. We also had the sight of Ebby from Duisberg having his handprints cast in plaster to go on show in the World of Football in the fans room as our No 1 Fan. I must add here as the recipient for many of the votes I received there were at least 5 nominations that could have won this award.
On 52 mins Owen had his first chance of the afternoon, and with just Crossley to beat he put it wide. Then on 60 mins Rogers put in a long throw in for Gough to back head for Freedman to score from close in. However with 72 mins gone Gough make an unfortunate back header straight into Owen's path and this time he made no mistake into putting the ball into the back of the net. This took the fight out of Forest and the game was drifting into yet another defeat, the 4th referee had signalled 2 mins of extra time when the ball was put across into the Liverpool area, Ince looked as if he handled in the area but all claims for a penalty were waived away by Referee Dermott Gallagher but Ince took the ball to just outside the area and then fell on the ball and handled, free kick! The ball was well within van Hooijdonk's range although he hasn't scored from a free kick this season. With the ease of the free kicks of last year he put it away into top left hand corner on 89th. How many times have Liverpool done that to us over the last 10 years? Although there were no outstanding players in the team today, I would single out Johnson, Harewood and Rogers as the players who most influenced the game. We saw Bernard Allou on for the last 15 mins not enough time to make any assessment of his skills. I must say again in my opinion, all efforts should be made to keep Ron Atkinson as he is beginning to mould a team together that may, if money was made available, build a side that could challenge for promotion yet again.