Forest picked up their second consecutive home win, on a day when they simply took their chances.
After the embarrassment of losing to ten men last week, it was imperative that we get a result against the Royals of Reading.
I was massively critical of Dougie Freedman last week and the Forest boss was under huge pressure by the time this game kicked off.
Refreshingly, the reds boss opted to go with two up front in the form of Chris O’Grady and Nelson Oliveira.
Goals have been our Achilles heel all season and the home fans were not hugely optimistic going up against seventh placed Reading. Regardless of goals you figured there would be chances a plenty, Given that Oliveira and Reading’s Nick Blackman have racked up more shots at goal than anybody else in the division.
Forest started brightly and controlled the early possession well, going forward we looked lively. The first chance of the game fell to Reading’s Nick Blackman though, he forced a routine stop from De Vries after eight minutes.
The home side’s first effort was a similar effort just three minutes later by O’Grady.
It was the same old story after 13 minutes, Reading took an obligatory, although controversial lead. Matej Vydra (who else?) pounced as Oliver Norwood’s scrappy effort fell at his feet. The Czech forward swept it home from eight yards out but looked to be massively offside at the time.
Forest hit back soon after though, good play by Lichaj and Mendes set up O’Grady to smash home his first for the club. A smash it was, it was too hard for Al Habsi to hold, the giant royals keeper could only parry it into the net.
Forest were playing well, Mendes, Lansbury, Vaughan and Osborne were in fine form. So much so that we actually scored a second goal! Norwood’s over hit corner for Reading found its way to Mendes. T
he speed merchant opened his legs and carried the ball a good fifty yards before picking out Nelson Oliveira. Oliveira jinked inside and curled a superb shot in to the top right corner of the net, to give us a well deserved lead. That lead was preserved by Dorus De Vries just before the break, he produced a stunning save from Norwood’s goal bound free kick.
The unthinkable happened at the start of the second half, Forest scored a third goal! O’Grady’s volleyed cross found Oliveira unmarked to slot home with ease. Thus doubling our top scorer’s tally for the season (League goals).
Reading responded well and began to dictate the play, with the talent on display it was a credit to Forest that they’d not been able to thus far. Chances were scarce for both sides but Reading were given a boost when Jack Hobbs was sent off for a second yellow card. Forest brought on Wilson to accommodate the hole in defence and the home side held firm for the remaining 25 minutes.
Remarkably, we could and should have scored a fourth, Mendes somehow missed the ball completely when faced with an easy tap in. The Cape Verde man was replaced by Mancienne shortly after but left to a standing ovation. He had a superb game indeed.
Last week I berated Dougie Freedman for poor substitutions late on in games.
To be fair, Forest didn’t play any different to how they’ve been doing in the last two months. The fact of the matter is; we simply took our chances.