Writer: Steve Guscott
Date:Saturday January 16 2010
16th January 2010
Forget Anfield, it was back to reality on Saturday afternoon and an awful first half display saw us beaten at Nottingham Forest despite a spirited effort in the second half that saw Forest keeper Lee Camp in fine form to deny new signing Gunnar Thorvaldsson with two world class saves, and a Brian Howard penalty.
Brian McDermott made three changes from the win on Wednesday and rested man of the match Brynjar Gunnarsson as well as Grzegorz Rasiak and gave debuts to Andy Griffin and Gunnar Thorvaldsson. He also had to do without Gylfi Sigurdsson who was injured at Anfield, and Jay Tabb replaced him on the left hand side.
Rob Earnshaw had an early chance for Forest but was given offside with the decision looking very marginal whilst at the other end the Royals threatened through Thorvaldsson. However it took only 11 minutes for the first goal to be scored and it wasn`t really a surprise when the home side went in front.
Earnshaw had started brightly and his neat work found Chris Cohen whose run and square ball was perfect for Paul Anderson and the former Liverpool midfielder`s effort gave Adam Federici no chance.
The large home supported was treated to a fantastic display by their side in the first half and before the break they had extended the lead, and it was the impressive Earnshaw who got it. A curling left footed effort again gave Federici no chance and things needed to improve even if it was to avoid a hammering for the Royals.
McDermott made just the one change at half time; the ineffective Kalifa Cisse was hauled off and replaced with Brian Howard who could argue that he had deserved to start anyway. Howard was heavily involved and added creative spark to the side going forward and he almost set up a debut goal for Thorvaldsson with a magnificent cross from the left hand side. The Icelandic striker showed good movement to get on the end of the ball in and his effort looked goal bound but Lee Camp stuck out his foot and the Forest keeper kept it out.
The two would renew acquaintances just moments later, Thorvaldsson`s header again looked destined for the back of the net but Camp again got down well and made a fine save low down. Jimmy Kebe was introduced for Simon Church and the winger was played through on goal by Jem Karacan, but the Mali wingers run was impeded by former Royal Nicky Shorey and we had a chance to get back into the game from the spot. Shorey was also sent off for denying a goalscoring opportunity and Howard stepped up in the absence of Sigurdsson to take the kick. Camp though was in fine form and he got down well to turn the spot kick away.
Kebe continued to cause problems for Forest and he played fellow sub Shane Long in but the ref blew up for a foul in the Royals favour, as Wednesday`s goal here bore down on Camp once more. We did managed to grab a consolation in the dying seconds when Howard crossed for Kebe to head home but at that stage in the game it was not a lifeline back into the game and the final whistle was blown soon after.
Date:Saturday January 16 2010
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