© Nottingham Forest 2000
It was a perfect hot, sunny day for the large crowd of Forest fans who had made their way to Stockport for this last match of the season and they sounded in good voice as the match got under way. But they were temporarily stunned into silence after just three minutes as Stockport took an early lead.
The opportunity came out of a dreadful pass by Scimeca across the front of goal. The ball had been meant for Edds but there was no possibility of him reaching it. Wilbraham took advantage and easily put the ball away. Lester had the best chance to equalise and forced the keeper to make an excellent save. On 17 minutes a rare mistake by Terry allowed Wilbraham another goalscoring opportunity but he put a point blank header over the bar. And Stockport had yet another chance when Lawson put the ball wide.
Forest's defence were lacking and the pace of the 2 Stockport wingers was giving Forest a lot of problems. So for a good part of the first half it looked like Forest were out for an end of season stroll while Stockport seemed determined to give their fans a match to remember. But that changed 12 minutes from half time when Forest were awarded a free kick from 19 yards out following a foul on Lester. It looked like a perfect position for Rogers to power a ball in but it was Bart-Williams who seemed to decide for himself that he would take it. And it was a beautiful free kick which put Forest back on equal terms. Then a bizarre piece of football put Forest into the lead. Rogers sent the ball forward and if it was intended for Harewood there was no way he was going to reach it. The keeper rushed out to collect the ball but Taylor tried to head it back to him and the ball went in for an own goal. Lester missed a good chance to score in injury time and the keeper, who had again run outside his area, had to clear with his body.
So at half time Forest, who could easily at one time have been 3-0 down went in 2-1 up and looked likely to command the second half. And they did that for the first 20 minutes or so, increasing their lead early on with a goal from Edds. It came from a Rogers throw-in, Edds made a good run down the left, shot the ball across the keeper and the ball went in from a ricochet of a Stockport defender. But Wilbraham's second goal came on about 20 minutes from time as he was unchallenged and able to easily volley the ball past Beasant. And from then the game deteriorated into a typical end of season match. Bart-Williams had a couple more chances from free kicks but shot first into the arms of the keeper and then over the bar. Platt gave young Cooper the chance of a run-out, rather strangely substituting Harewood and putting Bart-Williams up front. Woan came on for Rogers who was suffering badly from cramp and made an impressive attempt at scoring.
I have to admit to not going to the match today due to family commitments and had to rely on the radio, so had the rather strange experience of watching Manchester City win promotion beating Blackburn 4-1 whilst listening to Forest put an end to a disappointing season. I also had to listen to Darren Fletcher and Larry Lloyd from Century 106 moan the whole match about everything the club has done this season. But the last few matches have started to show what Forest can do next season with a lot of teamwork and hopefully one or two new faces in the squad.