by Daniel Widdowson
“Wow…just wow.” My Facebook status following the Leeds v Nottingham Forest match Tuesday night. This was one the very few occasions that words managed to escape me and it became impossible to express the emotions of the season, and result against Leeds of all clubs. Was it revenge for the treachery that was brought to Chris Cohen from Leeds, was it good fortune, splendid decision making, a stroke of genius from individual players or a united effort from everyone at the club which ultimately culminated in a night of fantastic football, action and a result that is worthy of record books. In fact, a record it certainly is as it’s the first time in their history that Leeds has conceded 7 at Elland road. Yes that’s right, Nottingham Forest… the team that can’t score, thumped Leeds united, at Elland Road, 3-7.
It looked ominous early on, a soft penalty… potentially wrong… was awarded to the home side in the early minutes. They converted it well and went a goal ahead. However, in what can only be described as sheer magic Guedioura launched the ball from distance clean into the Leeds goal. 1-1, and a strike fit for any league. BBC Radio Nottingham made the point of noting that “if it were in the Premiership you’d still be seeing the goal three weeks later”, whilst John McGovern sat in the background chuckling to himself giving it his best Santa impression. All joking aside, the goal was truly impressive. Perhaps Guedioura felt the team had been wronged with the penalty decision and knows only one way to seek vengeance… with style.
So clearly the match was set up to be a solid contest and neither team wanted to lose to the other; neither were defensively sound by any stretch of the imagination. The ref did his best to manage the game; however the cards should have come out far earlier and it took a howler of a challenge on Blackstock before any cards were shown and as standard at Elland Road the fans won many fouls.
However, the game was soon to become the Nottingham Forest show. Just before half time McCleary struck for his first of four. Blackstock added to the score line by nodding in a beautiful cross from Reid. 1-3. Now for the Leeds fightback. Two goals in quick succession (53’ and 55’), saw Leeds pull level at 3-3, they had a run going, a drive to attack and could surely see a way of getting all three points.
Alas not in this game. After allowing Leeds their moment of glory McCleary struck again on 56 minutes, and went on to add another in the 60th minute. The score line now read 3-5 and at such a bastion of home dominance this kind of score line is unheard of. Yet Forest weren’t finished yet, they continued throwing men forward, and McCleary added another in 71 minutes and the goal fest was rounded off by Blackstock in the 81st minute when he slid the ball past Lonergan. 3-7.
After a traumatic season of managerial ineptitude, a prolonged relegation dogfight and the sad passing of our chairman it was undeniably a special night, and those from a Leeds perspective were shown a master class in football which I hope Forest will be suitably invoicing them for.
With only a handful of games left this season Forest now find themselves that little bit closer to safety and surely such a performance will go a long way to returning confidence to previously beleaguered players. We’ll be able to regroup in the close season and come back fighting for a position we should actually be in this term – challenging at the top half. However, for now I shall enjoy the result of the Tuesday night. It was for Chris Cohen, who we hope gets back to fitness as soon as possible, and also for the late Brian Clough, who would have been 77 on Wednesday 21st 2012. That one was for you boss. RIP and COME ON YOU REDS!