Nottingham Forest 2 – 1 Norwich City

The divisions 18th and 24th most form teams met at the City Ground on Saturday afternoon, with the home team the only one who moved up in that statistic. Forest and Norwich were both obviously desperate for a win, losing 1-3 and 4-0 during the week, and the starting line ups reflected this. Norwich fielded Cameron Jerome and Lewis Grabban in front of a positive midfield diamond, where as the home side also started two forwards, but with deeper lying midfielders and attacking wingers.

The early stages were controlled by the home side, who crafted a few half chances. But it was the visitors who took an unexpected lead, Jamaal Lascelles backing off way to far and Jonny Howson allowing time to apply a cool finish into the bottom corner. Norwich used this as a catalyst as they into the game, and it should culminated in them taking a two-goal lead when Lewis Grabban headed his skipper Russell Martins’ cross wide. A disappointing half from the home side who were met with a smattering of boo’s as referee Andy Madley blew his whistle for half time.

The introduction of Jamie Paterson, after the break, by Forest proved to be a good one, as he was one of the stand out players in a much-improved second half performance. Norwich rarely threatened throughout the second period; despite having narrowly more possession they seemed content with trying to hold on to their narrow lead. Forest used this negativity to apply heavy pressure on Norwich’s goal. A switch to 3-5-2 allowed Stuart Pearce’s side to really throw the kitchen sink at them and, in the 86th minute after missing several good chances, Britt Assombalonga finally scored the elusive equalizer. The crowd had been good all game but now they erupted in support, pushing their side on, and it paid off big time. As, from there own corner, Norwich were caught napping as the Reds quickly broke eventually getting the ball to the feet on Michail Antonio, who promptly blasted the ball past John Ruddy, taking the roof of the City Ground in the process.

For Norwich fans this result may feel worse than their 4-0 midweek drubbing, as being 6 minutes away from a great win, ended up being a gutting defeat. Forest, who closed to gap to the play offs to 3 points, will be hoping there early season form returns, following this narrow win.

Karl Darlow Had no chance with Howson’s goal and claimed a few crosses and corners confidently. 6.5
Jack Hunt Subbed after an hour, he had a few threatening forays forward 6.0
Michael Mancienne Didn’t dominate Norwich’s forwards in the air but managed to deal with a few counter attacks without the midfields help 6.5
Jamaal Lascelles really poor defending lead to Norwich taking the lead, wasn’t powerful or physical enough for me 4.0
Dan Harding Subbed as Forest went all out for a leveller, Norwich’s right was their main attacking channel but Harding didn’t do anything notably wrong. 6.0
Tom Ince really poor, as he has since signing on loan. A poor work rate and attitude is acceptable but only when you’re producing with goals or assists, and as of yet Ince hasn’t been. 3.0
Ben Osborn The 19 year old really impressed and picked up the motm award from the home sides sponcers. Sowed off his repertoire of passes mixed with good intelligent movement. 8.0
Robert Tesche Was solid if not unspectacular, helped out both offensively and defensively but won’t make headlines 7.0
Michail Antonio Got that big big goal in the 92nd minute and was Forests main threat all game, going close with a shot from the edge go the box 8.0
Matty Fryatt Set up the equalising goal, was starved of device for the majority of the game 6.5
Britt Assombalonga Got a goal and an assist in the last 6 minutes, otherwise would have had a much lower rating as he was fairly quiet up until then 8.0

Substitutions

Jamie Paterson Really impressed in the second half, making several dangerous runs and just making Norwich’s task of holding on that bit harder 8.0
Eric Lichaj Was better then he was on Wednesday, not that that is at all difficult. Played centre back and was decent 5.5
Henri Lansbury Looked a bit more at it than in recent weeks 6.0

Norwich City

John Ruddy Could’ve done a bit better for the winning goal but before that he had dealt with everything Forest had thrown at him 5.0
Russell Martin A good cross should have resulted in City going 2-0 up. Forced Antonio and Ince to switch sides in the first half as neither were having any luck, but second half Antonio got the better of him a few times 6.5
Michael Turner Forest’s winner came on the break, and counter attacks had been dangerous all game due to Turner and Cuellers lack of pace. Any crosses though, were headed away with ease 5.5
Carlos Cueller A similar story to Turner, very little pace which caused issues with Assombalonga and Antonio’s runs behind them 6.0
Martin Olsson Was absent in the 92nd minute as Antonio slotted in the winner, and struggled to deal with Paterson when he came on 4.0
Alex Tettey A good first half but average second, playing a deeper midfield role he was good when Norwich had the ball but poor off it 6.5
Gary O’Neil Highlighted Norwich’s need for width as him and Johnson compacted the middle of the park, which made it difficult for them to turn their possession into chances 5.0
Bradley Johnson Played a few decent passes but wasn’t overly impressive 6.0
Jonny Howson Was bright at the tip of a diamond through out and got on the scoresheet with a well taken goal 7.5
Cameron Jerome Was always an option for the Canaries, held the ball up well and got Norwich forward 7.0
Lewis Grabban Missed a golden chance which he, and his side, where then made to rue. Didn’t look all to threatening besides that 5.0

Substitutions

Kyle Lafferty Didn’t hold the ball up as well as the man he replaced, which could have contributed to them sitting deeper. Playing against 3 exposed centre backs he should have done better, although didn’t have many opportunities too. 4.0

Man of the Match

Ben Osborn: Forest fans will be hoping young Osborn can keep playing like he did against Norwich and be a natural replacement for their injured talisman, Andy Reid. Assombalonga and Antonio all make the headlines due to their goals but Osborn was the real man of the arch as he was at the centre any of Forest’s good play. 8.0

Highlights


About Author

Nottingham Forest supporter home and away, Andy Reid's left foot appreciator. 17 at college and hoping to go on to take Sports Journalism at uni.