Nottingham Forest 0-3 Saints
A harsh but hardly unexpected January frost seemed to have caused havoc over a fair chunk of the country’s railway network. Whatever the cause, we still had a match to see and just about made it to Nottingham Forest by hook or by crook.
Saints had no such travel worries, but the team still had a lopsided look thanks to injuries and suspensions – but at least Guly was back, as was Davis after his rest.
Forest have had a difficult campaign and under Steve Cotterill they are maximising the build of some of their squad with a direct approach. This caused our defence some problems in the opening period, with Hooiveld cautioned for a foul on Tudgay and entering into a battle with Harewood at almost every set piece as the forward tried to make life difficult for Davis.
It took a great block by the Dutchman to keep the Saints goal intact, and then the ball fell nicely for wide man Cork as play switched to the other end. There was still a lot to do, and Connolly failed to beat Camp despite a decent cross; happily the ball came back to Do Prado who made no mistake.
Corner kicks could still have been our downfall, but the advantage was maintained before a crucial refereeing decision in the 48th minute. Connolly was floored by an apparent elbow from Chambers, and in the last 15 years or so, this sort of challenge has often meant an instant dismissal. That was how referee Ilderton saw it, but Mr. Cotterill clearly thought differently and in truth there didn’t seem to be much malicious intent in the offence.
Saints revelled in the extra space and Connolly profited by latching on to a loose ball to finish neatly. Forest had already begun to look beaten, and at two down they only regained possession occasionally.
Schneiderlin produced a characteristic tame shot when well placed, before he unleashed a more meaningful effort to put his team three up. Camp maybe could have done better with this goal, but he ended up more or less playing Saints on his own as the game turned very one-sided by the end.
LSSC Man of the Match: Shared between Jack Cork and Jos Hooiveld! There is a precedent for this: Bialkowski and Saganowski were once joint winners in a 6-0 triumph at Molyneux. Cork set up the first goal and looked to have finally filled the wide right position vacated by Chaplow’s injury, while Hooiveld’s block and his expert handling of Harewood’s threat impressed the other half of our voters.
03 Harding (Butterfield 85)
10 Guly (Holmes 70)
20 Lallana (Reeves 90+1)