Matty Cash may not make too many headlines for Nottingham Forest, but he is deserving of a prominent role in Aitor Karanka’s plans.
Heading into stoppage-time at Carrow Road on Boxing Day, it appeared as though a well-taken brace from a home-grown product would secure the Reds all three points.
We all know what happened next.
And that late collapse occurred with Cash off the field.
Gil Dias’ woeful attempt to clear his lines in the 98th minute against Norwich put the final nail in Forest’s coffin, with a dramatic draw feeling more like a defeat.
There is no way of knowing what would have happened had Karanka not shuffled his pack, but his substitutions raised plenty of eyebrows.
Within three minutes of Lewis Grabban making his way from the field, the Canaries had snatched a lifeline.
Cash was then replaced with seven minutes, plus an obscene amount of stoppage-time, still on the clock.
He took his place on the bench expecting to be saluted as a match-winner.
When asked to face the media afterwards, Cash struggled to hide his disappointment, with the Nottingham Post reporting him as saying: “I am frustrated, really. Going 3-0 up and scoring two goals was nice – but it is all about the team, isn’t it?
“It was good to get a brace and I was hoping to get a third. It was nice for me – but as I said previously it is a team game and what matters most is the result.”
Cash will be hoping to put things right against Millwall on Saturday, and should be given a chance to see that game out.
He has finished just three games that he has started this season, despite proving to be one of Forest’s most productive performers.
His work rate can never be questioned and he boasts better defensive qualities than many of the alternatives that are competing for and taking minutes off him.
Only Grabban has more goals for the Reds this season than Cash – with his haul of seven across all competitions placing him alongside Joe Lolley, who has admittedly laid on plenty for others.
And of the five efforts he has managed in the Championship, all of them have come on the road.
Inspiration can often be harder to come by away from home, even if the Reds’ record of late contradicts that theory somewhat.
Cash has shown that he has the energy and versatility to be key component for Karanka, with more faith needing to be shown in him even when he looks a little leggy.