It seems a fair while since we last had a Forest away day. In fact, it was the 30th November to be more precise when the Reds put in that less than convincing performance at Leicester.
Today we took the trip to Portman Road; a ground I have always thought is a good one in terms of Forest getting points provided you forget that 6-0 drubbing in the 04/05 season, that all but confirmed to fans we’re going to be relegated.
Davies’ initial squad selection raised a few eyebrows. The likes of David McGoldrick and, even more surprising, Joel Lynch were given the nod as well as Paul Anderson; whereas key men like Earnshaw, Tudgay, Raddy and McGugan all had to settle for a place on the bench. Aaron Ramsey was also making his final start for the club ahead of his return to Arsenal.
The first half was a funny one, dare I say a typical Forest away performance. We had all the possession, yet Ipswich seemed to be having the best of the chances. Ramsey, Cohen and Gunter were magnificent in how they were threading passes together for the likes of Anderson, Tyson and McGoldrick to run onto.
The closest Ipswich came to a goal in the first half was from a long range Leadbitter strike that had Camp stretching as it just went over. There was also a spell of corners in Ipswich’s favour where most notably, Troy Brown managed to force Camp into a superb acrobatic stop to tip it over.
But as the game progressed, Forest was turning their possession into chances. Gunter and Tyson were pinging in inviting balls into the six yard box – of which many said had Earnshaw been playing they’d have been certain goals.
McGoldrick almost found himself on the score sheet by pure fluke. A drop ball situation in Forest’s favour saw McGoldrick hit the bar from range, instead of fulfilling the act of sportsmanship by passing the ball back to Fulop. It certainly didn’t impress Roy Keane as Billy had to apologise on McGoldrick’s behalf.
Forest’s hard work was eventually rewarded though. Right on half time, McGoldrick ran onto a through ball on the left wing and after getting the ball under control, he produced a low driven cross into the box. This was tipped on by Fulop, only for it to ricochet off Damien Delaney into his own goal. In fairness, it was justice that Forest was going into the break with the lead.
In the second half, Keane tried to transform the way his team attacked by throwing on Carlos Edwards and Jason Scotland.
The transformation almost worked immediately when David Norris cut in from the right to go one on one with Camp, only to drag it well wide of the post – much to the delight of the travelling fans.
Ipswich began to slowly get the better of the chances as well as getting a touch niggly, proceeding to needlessly foul our players as soon as we got the ball.
On the 70th minute, McGoldrick took a sweet shot on the edge of the box to force Fulop into a great save at his right hand post.
With time ticking away, Ipswich pressed harder and Leadbitter once again had a long range shot that tested Camp. But all their pressure came to nothing in the end.
There was still time left for arguably Ipswich’s best player, Leadbitter, to get himself sent off with what looked like a two footed lunge on Anderson – well it did from where I was sat anyways. This resulted in a few Ipswich following the ref around the pitch for about 30 seconds before the red card was finally produced.
It was another great and vital away win for Forest, that’s now seen us win 2 of our last 3 away games. More importantly however, it has also seen us jump up to seventh in the league and just 6 points off second.
Let's hope our recent away form continues in the league with massive games coming up against the likes of Derby, Coventry and QPR all to face inside the next month. If we beat Preston in the FA Cup on Saturday, we may have Manchester United or Arsenal thrown into that mix.