Nottingham Forest collected their first away point of the season at Aston Villa yesterday afternoon in a game which burst to life in the second half.
A dour first-half saw the home side create, and waste, several decent chances with the Reds failing to register a single shot on target, much to the delight of Sky Sports who seemed joyful at the prospect of a home win!
Enter Apostolos Vellios. The Greek striker has taken some criticism in recent weeks, with his work rate questionable to say the least.
If the former Iraklis striker can produce goals like the one he netted yesterday afternoon then I will forgive him for being somewhat sluggish. His thunderbolt flew past Mark Bunn, sending the 3,000 Forest fans into delirium.
Typically Forest couldn’t keep hold of the lead and it took Ross McCormack and Rudy Gestede just 17 minutes to turn the tie on its head. Former Fulham man McCormack keeping up his rather annoying record of scoring against the Reds, yesterday’s goal his seventh in as many games against Forest.
Being totally honest, I expected Villa to go on and win by more and had it not been for some tremendous goalkeeping from Vladimir Stojkovic then Forest would have been despatched easily yesterday afternoon.
The Serbian stopper looks to be a real find and hopefully he can find more performances of that nature between now and the end of the season.
Philippe Motanier’s team are developing a new found belief within themselves which based on yesterday ensures that the eleven players on the pitch do not know when they are beaten.
A marauding run forward from Hildeberto Pereira saw him reach the box brilliantly and after a heavy tackle from a Villa defender, the ball rolled kindly into the path of Henri Lansbury who stroked him beautifully past a stranded Bunn.
I have to say I was pleased to see Lansbury notch his first goal of the campaign and hopefully his performance yesterday will prompt the club to hand him a new contract in the coming weeks. Love him or hate him, Nottingham Forest are a better football team when the ex-Arsenal man is included in the side and hopefully he will be with the Reds for a few more years yet.
Pereira’s sending off in the aftermath of the equalising goal leaves a sour taste with me. Could common sense not be applied there by referee Simon Hooper? Pereira has just been a key part of the move to create the goal so is the letter of the law saying that he should simply turn back and get ready to restart the game again?
The player on loan from Benfica is desperate to make a name for himself in English football and rightly went over to celebrate with the travelling supporters. Okay, so I will justify the referee by saying that he got it right in law, but should the powers that be not look to scrap such a crazy implication. We don’t want the passion removing from football do we?
Forest have a glut of fixtures coming up and there are lots of chances to put more points on the board in the coming weeks. Hopefully the Reds can get some key players back and continue to push up the league.
Back-to- back away games have seen the Forest faithful snap up the entire ticket allocation, giving a firm indication that the feel good factor is on the horizon once more at Nottingham Forest.