After going two goals down to Birmingham City, Nottingham Forest fought back to protect their unbeaten record with goals from Joe Lolley and Daryl Murphy. James Morton was at the City Ground
The day starting in great spirits with another well-organised pre-match gathering from Forza Garibaldi at the Trent Navigation, and a brilliant collection by the fans for a local food bank. A great gesture.
Then that beautiful walk over Trent Bridge, where you just can’t help but look to your left and see the markings of a display. Again, another fantastic job by the Forza lot.
What was to follow was, well, a polar opposite performance to the last time we were on Sky. Forest looked miles off the pace, as Birmingham got in our faces and hassled us for every ball. So, it was to no one’s surprise when Ben Watson gave away possession with a sloppy pass and — for the umpteenth time in the last couple of seasons — a man was left unmarked from a cross into the box, to head home and send the away end into raptures. I mean it was only Lukas Jutkiewicz, it’s not like he’s a player known for being an aerial threat now is it?
As the second-half got underway — after the standard booing at the half-time break, followed by applause as they emerge for the second-half — it was evident that not much was going to change. We still seemed slow, lacklustre and, well, it was almost as if the players had the same hangover and lack of energy that I had. It was no surprise that Karanka introduced both Carvalho and Osborn to try and inject something into the game. Although I don’t understand why Soudani came off, personally I feel we need more players attempting overhead kicks on the edge of their own box.
It did go from bad to worse, as Che Adams steered the ball into the bottom corner out of Pantilimon’s reach. Well, that’s how it appeared from the Bridgford Lower — so my view was far from perfect, and therefore apologise if I’ve got it wrong — sending a fair amount of fans for the exit; I wonder how many of them regretted that decision with what was to follow.
This did, however, mean Karanka was forced to bring on Joe Lolley onto the pitch. Quite why he didn’t start baffled me anyway, considering it was his birthday and that he’s an Aston Villa fan, as he was always going to be up for it. And, well, that was proven to be the case as within 15 seconds he latched onto a loose ball and fired at goal, with Lee Camp making it look an even better strike by palming it into the bottom corner.
This brought flashbacks of when we played Birmingham under O’Driscoll — Cox scoring that goal, and Dan Harding getting the equaliser — ironically that result also meant we remained unbeaten (well, so the BBC Sport match report suggested anyway). Returning to present day, Forest remained completely frustrating to watch, and it was Lolley who changed that, when another rocket from distance was punched up into the air by Camp. Daryl Murphy was able to get to the ball first, controlling it and calmly placing beyond Camp at his near post. This sent the Bridgford Lower into absolute chaos… apart from the group of lads next to me, who somehow stood clapping and awaiting the replay of the goal on the big screen that happened literally in front of them, odd behaviour.
But with that Forest, somehow, for the second week running, got out of jail, and remain unbeaten. A tough trip to Brentford follows next weekend, and Newcastle in the cup midweek.