Last Minute Jones Header Forces Forest to a Point

Last night’s late show at the City Ground was something out of Football Manager. There we were taking what looked a vital 3 points in injury time, only for Preston to equalise moments later. It was a cruel blow in a game that should have been a given three points for any side wanting promotion.

Kick off last night was delayed until 8 o’clock due to the excessive volume of traffic from the sell out Forest crowd. This was a great relief to me with the Cattle Market completely full although I still didn’t end up getting into the ground until 8:15 as it seemed nowhere in Nottingham had a space free.

The team we sent out seems to be slowly getting jiggered by injuries. In the warm up Earnshaw and Tyson got injured thus meaning our subs bench looked the weakest it had been all season. The only change to the starting line up from Cardiff was McGoldrick coming in up front for Robbie.

When we eventually started, Forest should have been 2-0 up before Preston scored as glorious chances for Cohen and McKenna just went wide.

But then for the second week in a row, Forest needed a wakeup call from lowly opposition. A delicious cross from Keith Treacy found Barry Nicholson, who put a well placed header right past Lee Camp. At this stage I was only just finding my seat so the screams of a man near me shouting ‘free header’ made me have a quick look up and there it was...goal.

As with Scunthorpe and Cardiff last week, the goal seemed to perk up the opposition and if it wasn’t for an excellent save from Camp off a long range Billy Jones shot, we may have been 2-0 down – the fear of a repeat of the 3-2 defeat at Deepdale last season was sparking in the back of my mind.

Before half time though, Forest were slowly coming into the game.

A ball by Konchesky evaded Anderson but zipped across to Tudgay, who from 8 yards out couldn’t find the finish - a glorious opportunity it has to be said.

Tudgay also had another great chance on the stroke of half time, after a good cross from the left by Cohen landed right on Tudgay’s head forcing Iain Turner into a brilliant save. The chance though was met with a flurry of cheers from Red’s fans eager to drive the team on bar the moron who sits behind me, who shouted his catchphrase four letter ‘w’ word at the team.

The resulting corner saw Anderson bundled over in the box by a blatant foul for which another inconsistent ref did not give – this one was up there with one of the worst we've had all season.

As the whistle blew for half time, most the part time fans made their feelings known by booing off the team. Classy although the majority were probably on a Notts County coach to the City of Manchester stadium 48 hours earlier.

Second half and Forest came out looking like they wanted to win – supposed they had to really if they want to get results to help them go up.

Sadly Preston were looking more and more like a desperate team. Time wasting and negative football galore, it was like we were playing the championship equivalent of Stoke City. Who can blame them in all honesty? They have come here and got a goal.

Fortunately, Forest got an equaliser on the 54th minute. Excellent play from McGoldrick on the left as he twisted and turned through the Preston defence before putting in a driven cross to Anderson. Ando’s shot was blocked but in came Konchesky with an emphatic shot into the corner of the Preston goal. That’s more like it!

Dele came on for Tudgay to create some sort of equaliser while Konchesky went off with a hamstring injury – just what we need to add to our growing injury list.

McGoldrick and Dele had tame chances that were comfortably saved by Turner before McGoldrick gave way to young Nialle Rodney – last seen ripping Cardiff’s defence up last November.

The reception McGoldrick got when subbed was nothing short of diabolical. Sarcastic cheering from most fans around me as well as a few boos – honestly it was disgraceful. I like McGoldrick and think he does show some great intelligent link up at times as well as having a poacher’s knack of always being there.

Part timers or not, some of the fans need to have a good look at themselves when jeering off the likes of McGoldrick and McKenna - although McKenna seems to have shut a few of them up in recent weeks. Booing and jeering is not going to improve anyones overall game is it? I’m sure you’d all love to swap them for Eugine Dadi and Danny Sonner who were donning red shirts not so long ago but then this is the problem. These folk are too quick to forget where we were 3 years ago.

Back to the match and Dele and Rodney were linking up pretty well - a guy behind me thought it was hilarious saying Dele Boy and Rodney. What a wit!

Dele’s flick-on headers were setting in Rodney a treat, as he terrorised the Preston defence.

With the board for 5 minutes added time aloft, the Reds got a free kick. An inswinging free kick by Cohen evaded everyone and fell into the bottom corner of Turner’s goal. The sell out City Ground crowd erupted into scenes of joy. The Reds had done it again!

I was saying to the folks around me; “This is the sign of a team that wins promotion!” as well as texting everyone I know saying we’ve done it again against Preston.

I was made to look an absolute fool, maybe even a jinx.

Preston had shifted their game from all out defence to all out attack and they kept getting the ball into our half. All Forest needed to do was get a foot on it and smash it away.

6 minutes into injury time – yep a minute over the initial allocation – Preston pinged in a cross for Billy Jones who headed right over a felled Camp and into the net. A head in your hands moment for all Red’s fans.

One of Preston’s fans ran to celebrate with the players but fell tit over arse down every step before being grabbed by a steward. The Preston staff also ran into the Forest technical area to celebrate the goal in front of Billy Davies. Class acts.

Shortly after the ref blew for full time and the part timers, unhappy with what they’d seen for a cheap ticket, booed us off again. At least they won’t be here for the Hull game in a few weeks time.

We were left reflecting on a dropped 2 points in a game we should have won. All that hard work from Saturday was undone in one game as Cardiff’s win over Leicester put them back above us.

Now some fans were expressing their disgust at Preston’s goal being outside of the allocated injury time. Yes it was but when you take a minute to celebrate a goal, they have to add that minute on. After all do they not say “There will be a minimum of…” when they hold the board up?

The fact of the matter is when you’re at home to anyone and score a late injury time winner; you should be able to hold on. There was no excuse for conceding when all we had to do was get a foot on the ball and boot it clear. We should have been able to keep Preston out whether we were playing for another 3 minutes or for another 40 minutes. There was no excuse and Preston deserve great praise.

The worrying thing for me at the minute is we aren’t keeping enough clean sheets and almost all the goals we’ve conceded since QPR have started on the wings. We need to press these teams more to stop them having a chance to cut inside or whip a ball in to the six foot something striker.

Ah well, everyone’s an expert when things don’t go well and I can’t disagree with the folks calling this the 'Nottingham Forest Rollercoaster' – I for one am delighted the part timers have got off after this game.

We’ll see what Saturday brings although we’ve now put unnecessary pressure on ourselves by not winning in games that we really should do.

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