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Thursday, 3 February 2011

Forest win puts the Reds up to 4th - Coventry 1 Forest 2


Apologies for the delay in this match report, other things have mounted up since Tuedsay nights game and I've only just got round to writing this up.

We made the trip to Coventry just over 48 hours since the FA Cup defeat to West Ham.

The FA Cup game will have taken it out of certain players on the team and with Coventry's resilience to move the game to a Wednesday, I was expecting a draw at best.

Tudgay and Earnshaw returned to the front line in place of McGoldrick and Dele Adebola. Moussi and Anderson were back in the midfield for McKenna and Majewski while Paul Konchesky made his Forest debut.

Early on the game gave me a reminder as to why I dislike this away trip so much every season. Empty seats were everywhere and with no atmosphere, it got to the point were the the magnificent Forest away following gave up on the singing for a short while due to the lack of response. Honestly, you'd have thought we were the home team.

Maybe the Ricoh is a warning to Forest of what any perspective move to a larger stadium could bring.

The start to the match was almost as dull as the atmosphere with only 3 notable chances before Marlon King broke the deadlock.

Ex Red's loanee Gary McSheffery took a free kick from around 25 yards in the opening 5 minutes that clipped the top of Lee Camp's bar - although I never thought it looked like it was close to going in.

For Forest, Gunter set Earnshaw free only for him to drag the ball wide, although he was flagged for offside, while McGugan had one of his shots go well over inside the box.

With the 'She said no Marlon' chants ringing around the away end, King managed to silence the away fans with a scrappy goal after 25 minutes.

McSheffery pinged a ball into the box which Eastwood flicked onto King. King headed the ball at goal but Camp managed to get a hand onto it - although the ball ended up going across the goal into the path of Freddy Eastwood. Wes Morgan stopped Eastwood getting a touch with an outstretched leg but the ball fell straight back into the path of King, who then tapped it into the empty goal. It really was that scrappy and King proceeded to celebrate by looking at each one of us Forest fans sat in the away end - I suppose when you get all that stick, he deserved his moment.

But as with Sunday's game at West Ham, going a goal down seemed to lift the team and get us playing - we didn't have to wait too long for an equaliser either.

A great cross field pass by Chris Cohen landed at the feet of McGugan who needed three touches to turn it into a goal. His first touch flicked the ball into his path, his second set the chance and after a quick glance up, he hit a swerving 25 yard shot past Keiran Westwood - putting an end to what had become an 11 game goals from open play drought.

Now Westwood is one of the best goalkeepers in this league but I'm sure he know this was a howler on his part. The ball swerved and bounced in front of him, yet he seemed to have plenty of time to anticipate what was going to happen and seemingly dived in the opposite direction.

Forest now had the game in their advantage and Paul Anderson was presented with a glorious one-on-one, which he put just went wide of Westwood and his far post.

But we had the lead just a minute later.

Guy Moussi ran onto a Marcus Tudgay through ball and although he managed to injure himeself in the process, he managed to whip in a peach of a cross right into Earnshaws path who thumped the ball past Westwood's near post - the Coventry defenders watched on bemused at how quick we managed to turn it from a chance to a goal.

Sadly that was Moussi's last action of the night and for what we've now been informed is two months.

In the second half, Forest seemed to want to defend their one goal lead and let Coventry come at them.

Sadly for Coventry they couldn't make amends of this opportunity at all.

The best of their chances came when Marlon King swung in a ball on the right hand side for Eastwood, only for him to head it right across Camp's goal giving Wes Morgan the chance to hoof it away.

But Forest defended hard and really frustrated Coventry.

By the end of the game Lynch and Dele had come on and both had ended up in what turned into a 6 man defence.

It really wasn't a pretty or entertaining game but it was another fantastic away win for Forest - as we advanced up to 4th with 2 games in hand of all the teams above us.

I do worry when we play away and just sit back once we get a 1 goal advantage. I have my concerns that if we do the same at QPR in just over a weeks time, they will really damage us with their masses of quality - especially now we have McKenna in place of the destroyer Moussi. That said I expect us to approach that game like we did Cardiff in November, where we press and attack from the off.

I do think our recent excellent form away from home can be linked to the younger players maturing over the past 12 months and getting that resilience to know they can bounce back even if they go a goal down. After all, it was only this time last year our heads bowed as soon as we conceded a goal away from home and to think how much we've come on is frightening.

But it's fantastic that we're keeping up this momentum and pressure on the teams above us, who must really consider us as strong contenders what with our games in hand and decent squad. The recent injuries have made us a bit short again in some areas but confidence is high at the minute and if we can carry on grinding out results, come May we may have been promoted via the automatic spots.

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