The story of the season - Forest (a)
2010/11 season v Forest in the league at The City Ground, Saturday 15th January 2011 - tracyc gives her account of events...
We started off at 9am, when Gandor's hubby dropped her off at our place in Havant, and headed our little Fiat, with strategically placed scarf along the back window, up the A3, via the M25 and M1. Just one brief stop at a service station, where we were pleased to see other Pompey fans around. Happily a quite uneventful journey, the satnav got us to Nottingham by 12.30. We parked in a leafy suburb - student bedsit-land I believe - that we had spotted on Google Earth, a few minutes walk from the ground. I had refused to believe there was free street parking so near the stadium, but it was true, and we quoffed our packed lunches and headed off.
This is a first for me. To go to one football ground, but head off first of all for another. For those who don't know, Forest and Notts County are within spitting distance of one another each side of the River Trent, and County welcome Forest's away fans into their bar before the match. It was full of Pompey fans in there and there was even a Forest fan with his two kids!
Then we headed into the stadium, arriving a good half hour before kick off. We like watching the players warm up. The stewards were friendly, welcoming us to the stadium, and our seats were amazing. Right behind the middle of the goal and just enough rows up to get a good view. Add to that, the last few weeks I'd noticed how bad my eyesight was getting, I'd been struggling to see the action the other end of the pitch, but today I was sporting new specs and could see everything clearly. A miracle! Must admit I had my doubts it was going to be a blessing or not, the way things have been going lately!
We were a bit edgy when the seats in front of us stayed empty till very late before kick-off, and Westwood hadn't arrived either, we feared he was going to be stood right in front of us, but eventually they were filled, probably a good 10 minutes before Mr PFC found his way into the ground. Phew!
We came into this match on a bad run, losing every match in 2011 so far, conceding way too many goals and way too many red and yellow cards. We were without Halford and Kitson for suspensions, and Brown and Hughes for contract reasons. We did have the Man Utd youngster De Laet making his debut, and I did admit on the journey up there I would be more than happy with a draw. Especially bearing in mind Forest's long home unbeaten run.
The stadium was smaller than I had anticipated. Yes it was bigger and better than FP and had executive boxes, but not that much better. For some very strange reason, before the start of both halves they played 'Mull of Kintyre'. Don't get it? Their stadium announcer was pathetic, the way he made a point of mumbling the team list for us and bigging up the team list for them. He mumbled the half-time score as well, and they didn't bother putting the scoreline on their electronic board until they scored. I am proud of the way our stadium announcer makes a point of being gracious to the away fans, and their announcer needs to grow up.
We had a bit of entertainment watching a Forest fan in an alleyway next to the stand to our left getting into trouble with the stewards. They had him against the wall with a hand in his face, and he threw punches. Less entertaining later on was watching two Pompey fans, one of them who looked a very respectable rather mature gentleman getting thrown out by the stewards - for what I don't know. There wasn`t any trouble. I suspect it was for persistent standing but there were hundreds of people doing that, including the lads stood in front of us, and consequently us as well.
Well, we got through the first 20 minutes without conceding a single goal! I almost commented on it at that point, but I didn't want to jinx things. Then just before the half hour, King Kanu Kanu scored! He's older than me & you, you know! His real age is 62! It was a bit of a lack-lustre match for most of the time. Forest didn't do all that much, although they had a few corners that were ably collected by Paddy Ashdown, who had an excellent game. Getting towards the end of the match and Forest suddenly seemed to pick up a sense of urgency, although I guess it was because Pompey ran out of legs and subs. They started piling the pressure on our goal, and we didn't seem to be able to get the action out of our six yard box. Their fans started leaving after they came close at the end.
It started to feel like we were going to hold onto our 1-0 lead and win this game. What a turn-up for the books that would be! What a valuable three points! What an unlikely double! 31 home games unbeaten for Forest, and we might, just might, hold on to be the ones to kill that off. It wasn't as intense as hanging on to the 1-0 lead at Old Trafford in the 2008 FA cup quarter final, but it was along the same lines. We hardly dared breathe.
About 5 minutes to go, a shot came across that ricocheted off Sonko and straight into our net. Devastating! There went our famous win down the pan. But at least, I thought, I had been happy to accept a point before the game. So it wasn't going to be so bad after all. Or was it? The Forest pressure continued, and all credit to them for their never-say-die spirit, at least 4 minutes into the 4 minutes of injury time, they hit another one that landed in the back of Paddy's net, and it was all over!
We were stunned! What a kick in the guts that was. It took a couple of minutes before we could rouse ourselves to sing a few rounds of Play Up Pompey and applaud the players who came so close. Steve Cotterill came over to applaud the fans, feeling just as bad as we were.
So near and yet so far. But we have to take a leaf out of Cotters' book of positivity, and look ahead to the next game.
Play Up Pompey!
Written by tracyc.
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