Bescot Stadium


Mr Wilkes
Goal 1:
Rogers 43mins
Goal 2
Freedman 88 mins

Beasant     Walker
Louis-Jean     Brightwell
Hjelde     Barras
Vaughan Viveash
Rogers     Padula
Quashie   Harper
Prutton Bukran
Bart-Williams   Keates
Johnson     Wrack
Harewood Ricketts
Lester   Robins
Substitutes     Substitutes
Crossley     Emberson
Freedman Larnusson
Edwards   Rammell
Merino   Forester
Gray   Gadsby

© Nottingham Forest 2000

Louis-Jean Nigel Quashie

. At last! The first of our real six-pointers - a game we simply HAD to win. OK, I'll put you out of your misery - we won. I won't say it was completely comfortable for the whole time (far from it for a period early in the second half), but it was deserved in the end.

Last week's injuries to Riccy Scimeca and Chris Doig plus the absence of Jim Brennan on international duty with Canada meant a totally revamped defence, with Tank slipping back to his old left back position and Hjelde partnering the new boy Vaughan in the middle. Then in midfield Platty picked his most experienced available line up, with Prutton and Quashie playing either side of Bart and the welcome Johnno. The final surprise was the relegation of Dougie to the bench, with Marlon up front with Jack Lester.
We made a good start, forcing a number of corners and two decent saves from Marshall - one a header from Vaughan and the other a blast from Marlon. The game plan seemed to be based on denying the Saddlers space in midfield, with Johnson, Quashie and Prutton hunting in packs and Jack Lester tackling back like a demon. On the whole it worked, but the downside of the formation and tactics was the fact that we were unable to create as much as normal down the flanks - Prutton occasionally beat his man on the outside, but Quashie (who started well but faded badly) ain't no winger!

Gradually the first half settled into something of a midfield battle with Forest playing the better football but neither side really testing the keeper enough. Walsall did hit the post on a rare attack at this stage, but mostly the game was being played at the far end from us (i.e. in the opposition half). Then with only a minute or two to go to half time, we scored. ML-J was brought down on the right edge of the box, everyone bar Prutton and ML-J piled forward into the box, and Rogers swung the ball in at pace to the far post. We were a long way away and low down, so it is hard to say exactly what happened. Riccy Scimeca, however, was sitting just in front of me (good to see an injured player come with the fans to support the lads) and I will take his word for it - he reckoned that everyone missed the ball and it went in at the far post (the BBC later agreed). Tank's goal, then.

Their keeper had a right set to with Johnno after the goal - presumably he must have thought he had been fouled. After half time we again started well making three decent break-away chances, all dragged badly wide by Marlon (twice) and Quashie, but gradually they started to come into the game, grabbing more of the ball in midfield and pushing us back. They forced a number of corners in a row and Lurch saved us two or three times, notably a superb one low down at his right hand post. The Forest fans began to stir uneasily as we had visions of making heavy weather of it... all the more so when they grazed the top of the bar with a long-range bullet.

But then, with about 20 minutes to go, Forest seemed to make a decision that they were simply not going to let this one slip. Andy Gray came on to replace the increasingly ineffective Quashie and then Dougie replaced Marlon, presumably on the grounds that he can hold the ball up better. We began to play much better, keeping the ball, moving it about with some patience and letting the excellent Lester run it into the corners. Then in injury time we scored a great goal to wrap the whole thing up. Prutton robbed Keates in midfield and moved it swiftly on to Lester - Jack drew one defender and passed to Dougie on the edge of the box. Dougie still had a hell of a lot to do, with three defenders and the keeper between him and the goal, but he nutmegged one man, dummied two more and rammed it into the net.

Opinions will doubtless remain divided about Dougie's qualities, but surely few can deny that this was a truly classy piece of finishing - in my opinion the best goal he has scored for Forest. So. Lots to be happy about.

1. A solid debut from Tony Vaughan - nothing too fancy, sophisticated or complicated, but he reads the game well, wins his fair share in the air and tackles. Best of all he doesn't faff about; when the ball needs getting rid of he simply does it. Just the sort of uncomplicated player we need

. 2. A clean sheet.

3. Jack Lester. The rumours about him appear to be true - he will probably not score bags of goals, but he will make lots for others, he works his nads off, can hold the ball up and make space for others. I look forward to seeing him play alongside Stern in due course. In the mean time he might be too similar to Dougie for them to be too effective together - of the two I would say that Jack is the better player but Dougie will probably score more goals.

4. Other results! Pompey, Crewe Alex, Vale and (obviously) Walsall all lost while we won. Good effort today, boys; many good performances, with Bart, Lurch, ML-J, Johnno & Lester all excellent. We weren't perfect, but we will all settle for imperfect performances which bring us three points! Now lets break the habit of out entire season by winning two games in a row - we must beat Palace.



Copyright © 2001 Nottingham Forest F.C.