It might have been a year of ups and downs but Nottingham Forest continued to score some incredible goals. Michael Shaw selects 10 of the best from 2012…
1. Garath McCleary v Coventry City (18 February)
Some goals make this list because of their quality, some because of their importance; McCleary’s wonderful solo strike against the Sky Blues had both in equal measure. With both sides level on 25 points, six points adrift of safety, a draw would do little for either side as the worst home record went head-to-head with the worst away record. As the game looked to be heading for a scoreless draw, McCleary picked the ball up inside his own half and ran at a tiring visitor’s defence. As he approached the edge of the penalty area he produced a neat stepover before driving a left-footed shot into the corner of the net to set the Reds on the road to survival.
2. Dexter Blackstock v Birmingham City (25 February)
The Reds faithful traveled to St Andrews more in the hope than expectation, with the home side holding an unbeaten home record and having not even conceded on their own patch for over seven hours of football. Dexter Blackstock had already bundled the Reds in front, only for Chris Burke to peg them back before the talismanic striker produced a moment of magic to win the game, dragging Garath McCleary’s cross out of the air with his first touch and turning as he did so before slotting past Boaz Myhill to secure three precious points.
3. Adlene Guedioura v Leeds United (20 March)
The goal that kicked off the Forest scoring on ‘that’ night at Elland Road. What a goal it was too. One down to a rather soft Robert Snodgrass penalty, conceded by Guedioura, there didn’t look much on when the Algerian midfielder collected the ball midway inside the Leeds half after a strong challenge by Radi Majewski. After taking two touches to steady himself he launched an absolute missile from 35 yards that soared beyond Andy Lonergan and into the net. John McGovern’s chuckle on the Radio Nottingham commentary said it all.
4. Garath McCleary v Leeds United (20 March)
You wait all year for a goal of the season contender and then two come along at once. Michael Brown had just levelled matters at 3-3 and the travelling supporters began to fear the worst. They needn’t have worried, Dexter Blackstock flicked on and from the right edge of the penalty area McCleary allowed the ball to bounce before unleashing an unstoppable shot across Andy Lonergan and into the far corner of the net.
5. Lewis McGugan v Bolton Wanderers (24 August)
After a solid start to life under Sean O’Driscoll, the Reds faced their sternest test yet against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium in front of the Sky cameras on a wet Friday night in August. What better place for Lewis McGugan to catch the eye. After a neat bit of passing found the midfielder 30 yards from goal he allowed the ball to run across his body before slamming a right-footed shot past the helpless Adam Bodgan and into the roof of the Trotters’ net.
6. Simon Cox v Wigan (28 August)
In the end it counted for little as the Reds slipped to a first defeat of the season, but this strike from Simon Cox really was one to behold. His first touch killed a 60-yard Lee Camp goal kick on his chest, his second was a cheeky nutmeg, his third was an unstoppable shot that soared past Ali Al-Habsi. It could easily get lost amongst more important goals this season, but it was a real announcement of the 25-year-old striker’s talents.
7. Simon Cox v Birmingham (15 September)
The pick of a very good bunch, Simon Cox’s goal against Birmingham really was something else. When Rio Ferdinand tweeted that it was his goal of the season, bearing in mind this was back in September, that should tell you it was a very special goal indeed. Lewis McGugan looked to exploit a tiring Blues back line with a long diagonal ball towards the onrushing Cox. What followed was quite astonishing. With his first touch the striker pulled the ball out of the air and perfectly into his stride, with his second, before the ball had even hit terra firma, he lifted a delicate finish beyond Jack Butland to haul the Reds back into the match.
8. Andy Reid v Peterborough (6 October)
After defeats away at Leeds and at home to Derby, followed by a disappointing goalless draw against Blackburn, the Reds traveled to London Road in need of three points against a Posh side who had begun to show some fight following their dismal start to the campaign. After being frustrated by Bobby Olejnik in the home goal, Andy Reid produced a moment of magic to get Forest back to winning ways. Collecting the ball just inside his own half, he carried the ball away down the left-wing and after a brief glance up confirmed there were few options inside him, he fired an unstoppable drive across the goalkeeper and into the top corner of the net. It was the kind of goal that only Andy Reid could score. Thank goodness he did too, ending a run of one point in nine and sparking one of 10 points in 12 during a fine October for Sean O’Driscoll’s men.
9. Jermaine Jenas v Barnsley (27 October)
I must admit a certain degree of sentiment has crept into his nomination. Eleven years had passed since a fresh-faced young lad from Clifton poked home a late equaliser in front of the Reds’ travelling faithful at Oakwell. Plenty had said stardom beckoned for the languid, classy midfield player and big money moves and England recognition were to follow. But now he was back in the Garibaldi — one of our own, a fan on the pitch. It seemed fitting that it was back where it all began that he was to round off a rout in South Yorkshire, striding imperiously onto a pass and lifting the daintiest of chips over the advancing Ben Alnwick to delight the traveling army. It was one of those rare moments as a football fan when you think to yourself ‘do you know what, it’s alright this lark’.
10. Adlene Guedioura v Wolves (24 November)
The sun will rise, it will set and players will score against their former clubs, but few will score goals as good or as important as the one that Adi Guedioura was to notch on his first return to Molineux. After battling back from a goal down early on, the game hung finely in the balance when the Algerian picked the ball up from Chris Cohen’s pass and advanced at the Wolves back four. As those in Old Gold backed off, he hit a rasping right-foot shot that zipped off the turf and into the bottom corner of the net to secure back-to-back wins for the Reds and give them a first league win in Wolverhampton since Boxing Day 1980.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @nowthenyoungman
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