Nottingham Forest blog: Ryan Mendes shines as Forest show they have turned the corner
Mendes was simply sensational yet again as Forest made it 14 points from their last seven games to shoot up the Championship table to a more respected 13th place position and more importantly saw them pull ten points clear of the bottom three.
The remarkable scenario for the Reds is that the amount of points amassed on the current good run of form equals the amount obtained from their first 15 games of the 2015/16 campaign, which is enough for me to suggest the team have turned a rather large corner.
Whilst Dougie Freedman’s men were victorious on Saturday, the three points should have come in more emphatic fashion.
Dons’ boss Karl Robinson said after the game that his side had dominated affairs, which I simply cannot agree with.
What the likeable Liverpool-born manager failed to identify was that despite all of his side’s possession, they barely troubled the hosts in the way of clear cut chances until the last 20 minutes.
Nelson Oliveira who netted the superb opener after just two minutes, should have made it 3-0 shortly after Mendes’ goal with the on-loan Benfica man failing to convert a one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
He later hit the post in the second half, whilst Henri Lansbury tested Martin’s reflexes with a powerful free-kick, which the stopper was equal to.
The pleasing thing from my perspective was that Forest seemingly found a way to win ugly at the weekend and I honestly feel that if this game had taken place two months ago, the Reds would have been defeated or been forced to settle for a draw.
With the Reds inviting unnecessary pressure on themselves as the game dragged on, a side short on confidence – in other words, Forest of a month or so ago - might have succumbed to the Dons’ assault towards the end of the game.
Nicky Maynard who spent the entire pre-season period at Nottingham Forest should have reduced the arrears from the penalty spot after a clumsy challenge from Eric Lichaj. The ex-West Ham United man found Forest’s inspired custodian up to the task however and the Dutchman saved his third penalty of the season down low to his right.
Josh Murphy did pull the visitors closer to the Reds with a well-taken goal nine minutes from time but the Reds held out for a fourth win on the bounce on home soil.
The impressive thing for me is that the team finally looks capable of putting teams to the sword, on a consistent basis which is going to make winning games of football a much easier task as the season progresses.
Up next is what looks an exciting game against Leeds United, who themselves seem to be slowly putting their rocky start to the season behind them and have started picking up wins more frequently.
The two once great clubs have had some epic battles down the years and Sunday’s encounter could be massive as Forest look to prove that they are capable of climbing into the top half of the Sky Bet Championship.