04 May, 2008

Nottingham Forest 3-2 Yeovil Town

Chambers Morgan Wilson (c) Bennett
McGugan Perchio Cohen
Ormerod Tyson Commons

I really haven't got time to write this - I know it's bank holiday Sunday but I have lots to do today; but I just cannot ignore this. I really don't think it has sunk in yet, it almost feels like a dream...

It was a warm, sunkissed afternoon at the City Ground, and there was a great, optimistic atmosphere even before kick-off. My Dad, in an uncharacteristic bout of bad timing, managed to be away, so I was in his seat in the lower BC; not my first choice of somewhere to sit, but better than at home in front of the computer!

Although the team was ostensibly lining up in 4-3-3, in reality Cohen was playing in the hole behind the three forwards, and the first half was action-packed. There had already been half-chances for both teams, including Lewis drilling the ball narrowly wide from 20 yards. Then on 20 minutes, Jules celebrated his Player of the Year award by winning a crunching 50-50 with Marvin Williams; while the Yeovil man lay prostrate on the floor, Jules picked himself up, and with a little time and space, looked up before banging the ball with the outside of his left foot inside the far post. A cracking goal, it really lifted the mood and from then, I knew that the Reds were going to win this match. Comparisons with Stuart Pearce are probably a bit lazy, but this was the type of goal that Psycho might have scored in his pomp.

Forest were irresistible, with only Chambers looking a little out of sorts. Krissy then went down the right and won another 50-50; when the ball broke to Dynorod, the old pro threaded the ball through and Krissy, who had continued his run, nutmegged the keeper with his right foot for 2-0.

Scarcely had the celebrations died down then we got caught out. Chambers had disappeared somewhere up the right hand side and although Lewis dropped back to cover, when the ball ricocheted back to Stewart, Jaime Peters was able to capitalise on the rightback's failure to trackback. 2-1, and although there was still a good feeling, the nerves were starting to jangle.

Before half-time, Cohen was chopped just outside the edge of the box on the right hand side - the former Yeovil man was covering every single blade of grass today in a really dynamic display. I had a feeling that Lewis would take the free kick and he made no mistake, in an effort that was reminiscent of his goal of the season against Gillingham last year.

It is worth mentioning in the first half that there had already been a false alarm, a Chinese whisper that Donny were losing, followed some time later by the news that Cheltenham had actually taken the lead. A massive roar erupted, almost as loud as when the Reds scored. Forest narrowly missed out on extending the lead when Wes' header from a corner was somehow bundled the wrong side of the post by a combination of keeper and defender.

The second half saw Forest obviously trying to play the patient game, just calming it down and keeping possession. Unfortunately they did their usual trick of dropping deeper, and it took some great tackles by Wes and Perchio to keep them at bay; the latter paid the price as he picked up a knock that was to curtail his participation. The rather surprising substitution was to bring on Agogo, switching to 4-4-2 with Commons on the left and Ormerod on the right. I should note that Perchio, who has had his detractors, was one of the star performers today, he did the dirty work and, as usual, made some great tackles; after a difficult season for him personally, he can hold his head up high for this performance.

Unfortunately, Forest were to make us sweat a bit. Chambers had made more mistakes which almost cost us dear, and was replaced by Breckin. I have no idea if Chambers was injured, and I didn't like the idea of Kelvin moving to right-back, but Brecks' introduction gave us more physical presence and a bit of authority at the back. However with Ormerod and Wilson making up the right hand side, Yeovil kept attacking us there, winning a corner from which Andy Kirk nodded in, completely unchallenged. 3-2.

The rest is a bit of blur, until the last five minutes when the roar went up that Cheltenham had taken the lead again. What I hadn't realised was how close Donny had come in the meantime, they had forced some good saves and hit the post. That news, and the crowd reaction, notably eased the tension, and then the Reds relaxed, meaning that our victory was no longer in doubt. At this point I did something I would never usually do, and turned on the radio on my phone, in time to hear the confirmation that Cheltenham had won, which prompted another massive roar, with the entire ground on their feet, dancing and singing (yes, even in the lower BC!). In the meantime, Nathan Tyson had tried his best to single-handedly add to our tally, with Skiverton somehow clearing off the line, and Ormerod (in possibly his last appearance for the Reds) was subbed for Arron Davies, who received a warm welcome from the travelling Glovers' fans.

You know the rest. The stoppage time didn't matter; unless we conceded two goals, we were promoted. At the final whistle, it couldn't have gone more mental! There was a pitch invasion, and then when the fans eventually left the pitch, the team came back out for a lap of honour.

I will have to write a separate post about the emotions of the day - it was certainly unlike any match I have been to before. In the meantime, let's savour the moment!

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