Nottingham Forest striker Lewis Grabban ended his nine-game goal-drought in the Reds’ 2-1 win against Brentford.
However, it wasn’t just his goal that will please Martin O’Neill. His overall performance was very good and was key in helping the Reds pick up their second consecutive home victory under the Northern Irishman.
It could’ve been even better for the 31-year-old. If he had been more clinical, he could’ve easily scored a hat-trick and got himself back among the top scorers in the Championship. Grabban had a superb opportunity at the start of the second-half, before being denied by Daniel Bentley from the penalty spot not long afterwards.
Having ended his run of nine appearances without a goal, could this be the start of a goalscoring run? He has now scored 16 goals in all competitions. His previous 15 goals all came within a 15-game period. This suggests he is largely a confidence player, as most goalscorers tend to be.
The Reds are currently five points off the play-off places. If they are to close that gap, then you’d think Grabban’s goals would play a huge part. It’s vital that O’Neill keeps him firing on all cylinders between now and the end of the season.
O’Neill delighted with his performance
In his post-match interview with BBC Radio Nottingham, O’Neill hinted that he wasn’t sure whether Grabban was capable of playing upfront by himself. This could explain why Daryl Murphy has been favoured in recent weeks.
Speaking on Grabban’s performance, O’Neill said: “He did very well. He did excellently. I thought he was very good. I’ve just been told about his penalty record which is not so good. He might not grab the next one.
“I thought his whole performance was very strong. He worked exceptionally hard in the game when we didn’t have it (the ball).
“I had slight concerns about Lewis being able to do that job on his own. We were trying to give as much help to him as quickly as possible. A couple of times he did very well himself individually. I was delighted with his performance.”
Having impressed O’Neill with his performance in this game, Grabban could count himself unfortunate if he isn’t named in the starting line-up for Tuesday’s game against West Bromwich Albion. He could do with a run of games to help build his fitness up and add further to his goalscoring tally.
There’s no doubt that he remains one of the most clinical strikers in the division. He doesn’t miss many chances. Murphy is often a good option for certain games, but Grabban carries far more goal threat and has the mobility which allows him to put in more of a shift.
‘He’s pure quality at this level’
Following the conclusion of today’s match, Seat Pitch rounded up exactly what Reds supporters had to say about Grabban’s performance.
Milosevic and Yates were brilliant today. Credit to Watson for coming back in and doing well. Grabban proving once again why he should be number 1 striker! #nffc
— Callum Chivers (@CallumChivers91) February 9, 2019
I love Grabban, but the man can’t take penalties. 🤦🏻♂️😂 #NFFC
— Craig Johno 👑 (@CJohno1990) February 9, 2019
Yates was unreal today! Grabban brill as always, unlucky with a dubious pen! #nffc
— R o s s (@Bousfi3ld_) February 9, 2019
— Sarcastic Forest (@SarcasticForest) February 9, 2019
Love the way nobody mentions Grabban ! Thats cos they dont need to ! Hes just pure quality at this level ! #nffc
— Gary (@Gary77421446) February 9, 2019
Great 3 points not always pretty but fantastic effort , Watson and Yates were brilliant in the middle ( dare say there was some moaning at 2 pm ) and Grabban worked his socks off . Onto the next one #NFFC
— Carl Aldred (@carl_aldred) February 9, 2019