Nottingham
Forest
 

8th January
2000
Score
3-1
Venue:
The Manor Ground

Attendance:
7,191

Referee:
Mr Paul D'Urso

Goal One
Powell 72 mins
Goal Two
Bart-Williams
81 mins
Goal Three
Bart-Williams
83 mins pen
Goal Four
Rogers 89mins



 
Oxford Utd
   
Beasant   Lundin
Dawson Folland
Bart-Williams   Watson
Simeca     Whelan
Gray   Powell
Prutton     Robinson
Williams   Beauchamp
Johnson     Murphy
Brennan     Cook
John   Lilley
Harewood Anthobus
Substitutes     Substitutes
Crossley   Arendse
Cooper     Fear
Freedman   Tait
Rogers   Davis
Melton   Francis

 
Bart-Williams and Scimeca Kevin Dawson
Celebrations David Prutton
Stern John David Prutton

Not the Bridport Red Report
By Russ

They are big boots to fill, there’s no doubt, but let me try in my short stint as substitute reporter by saying – the glass may be half full, but the tap is still running.
Let me start with the match details. Forest came out with a slightly strange looking side thanks to, surprise surprise, a mini injury crisis. No Hjelde or Doig meant that the Bartman was pressed into emergency service as a centre half – just what you need against a lone forward the size of Steve Anthrobus (6’4”). Flanked by Riccy and Kevin Dawson, the midfield also boasted a start for Gareth Williams, along with the regular faces of Johnno and David Prutton. Andy Gray and Jim Brennan played the right and left flanks respectively, with Stern and Marlon once again the preferred strike force.
Oxford played a slightly surprising 4-5-1, considering they were at home, but their lack of funds dictates that forwards are hard to come to by in their position.

.So to the game. The tone was set in the first minute with a burst of acceleration down the left from Jim Brennan, who delivered a slightly awkward centre which Stern could only scuff inside the box at full stretch. The wisdom of playing Bartman at centre-half was soon in question, though, when he was deservedly booked just five minutes into the game after an ill-timed tackle on the right side of Forest’s box. Indeed, with just ten minutes gone Platt pushed Bartman up to the left side of midfield and reverted to a 4-4-2 with Williams and Johnson in the middle, and Prutton playing down the right. The rest of the first half was much of a stalemate, with only a handful of notable incidents. On sixteen minutes Kevin Dawson, of all people, directed a powerful header goalwards from an Andy Gray corner, only to see it saved by the keeper Lundin, and Johnson’s follow-up cleared off the line. Lundin was also responsible for a fantastic save with his legs from Stern’s snap-shot on 37 minutes; is this man doomed to never score again?

Half time comes and goes, and Oxford come out looking to win. Forest were still finishing their cup of tea when Oxford’s best player on the pitch, Derek Lilley, gave Anthrobus an inch-perfect ball which was promptly spooned over the bar. United wenty on to run the game for the next ten minutes or so, until a Stern John cross was just too far ahead of Johnno for a tap-in. By this time Dougie had replaced Marlon, and there was a welcome return for Alan Rogers in exchange for Gareth Williams.

And then, in the 71st minute, the game suddenly came alive. A bizarre free kick was awarded by Mr D'Urso to Oxford just inside the Forest half against Andy Johnson, because he had the temerity to stand and watch Anthrobus crash into Whelan. It was quickly taken to Powell on the left side, who accelerated past Andy Gray, turned Scimeca, and let loose a superb shot which sneaked inside the post for a belting goal. 1-0 Oxford.
Forest then came up and at Oxford, but the goal came from an unexpected source. A cross was delivered from the left, which was headed out of the box by an Oxford defender, but only as far as the feet of Bartman, who unleashed a shot from 30 yards which went through the defence, hit one post and bounced just inside the other. 1-1.
Straight from kick off, Forest won possession and a ball was delivered by Johnno to the onrushing Dougie Freedman. One on one. It’s Dougie. How many times have we seen this and closed our eyes? But Freedman did everything a good striker should – he knocked the ball past the keeper and ran through him. You either manage to stay on your feet and score, or you get tripped and win a penalty plus a sending off. We got the latter.
After a couple of minutes, Lundin finally left the field, and CBW stepped up to strike the spot kick like a rocket pat the newly-arrived Arendse. 2-1 Forest, and it’s all looking rosy with a one man advantage. And that’s how it happened. Oxford pressed, left holes at the back, and with two minutes to go Freedman broke away down the left. Rogers used his pace out of defence, held the line brilliantly, and despite Dougie’s iffy through ball Tank conspired to turn the full back, cut inside and hit a well driven shot throguh the keeper’s legs. 3-1, and still time for Prutton to have a good shot superbly saved by the diving Arendse, but 3-1 it finished.

Yes, they are second division, and yes, Forest left it late, and yes, if they had had a finisher it could have been different, but so what? We were good for long periods. Bartman ran our midfield; he has hit a rich vein of form now that the team is finally playing to his strengths. Scimeca was a rock. Dougie played his part very well and, incredibly, didn’t get booed on or off the field. Williams was steady, if unspectacular, Johnno appears to be back to his manic, abrasive best, Prutton was once again everywhere.
But for me, Man of the Match was probably Kevin Dawson. At eighteen years old, he contained a seasoned professional in Steve Anthrobus has got five inches and probably three stone over him, and still managed to win most of the balls in the air!

So to Stamford Bridge, and the first game yet this season where we can go with no expectation and not care about losing. There’s a dreamer in me that says we could nick a win if we catch Chelsea on one of their off days. There’s an optimist in me that says we could battle for a draw, and at the CG who knows? But most of all the realist in me says that today showed that the magic of the Cup is still there, Man U or not, so let’s go and enjoy ourselves at Chelsea, safe in the knowledge that we are moving in the right direction.
And just imagine – what if we did win?
 

 


Copyright © 2001 Nottingham Forest F.C.