01/01/2003 Walsall
1 - 1

John Thompson scored his first senior goal to give Forest the lead on 15 minutes but saw his efforts wiped out when Gareth Ainsworth grabbed the equalizer on 62 minutes.
Injuries, suspensions and tired legs over the busy Christmas period saw Paul Hart make more changes to his side as Walsall arrived at the City Ground to welcome in the New Year.
Marlon Harewood was back after serving a one-match suspension and took his usual place alongside top-scorer David Johnson. Des Walker, Riccy Scimeca and Jon Hjelde were all out with thigh injuries, while Lester and Jess both found themselves starting on the bench.
This meant some reshuffling, with Doig starting in defence alongside Dawson and John Thompson moving into an unfamiliar role in midfield.
Forest started brightly and looked confident as they searched for an early goal. The breakthrough coming on 15 minutes as Thompson got on the end of a David Prutton cross and volleyed it in to the bottom corner.
Forest continued to dominate the first half and were restricting Walsall to long-range efforts. Their first real chance coming just after the half-hour mark when Darren Wrack’s shot produced a great save from Darren Ward.
The second half started much as the first had finished, with Forest taking the game to Walsall, but it wasn’t long before the visitors stated to turn things around.
Wrack came close again on 57 minutes when he got his head to Darren Bazeley’s cross, but could only direct it wide of the post. Gareth Ainsworth then went close as he drilled a fierce shot wide.
It was becoming obvious to the sell-out crowd that Walsall were now starting to dominate and Junior failed to capitalise on it as he misjudged his header.
But on 62 minutes, their efforts were rewarded when Ainsworth – on loan from Wimbledon – got his head onto Bazeley’s cross and directed it past Ward.
David Johnson had the chance to restore Forest’s lead on 67 minutes as he got on the end of Andy Reid’s cross, but the leading scorer could only volley wide.
Forest did try to step up a gear and brought on fresh legs in the form of Craig Westcarr, but Walsall, having worked hard to get level, were not going to give it up again and the game petered out over the last fifteen minutes.
Forest fought hard for the point and it enabled them to climb back into fourth place.
After the game, Paul Hart seemed pleased with the point saying: “Walsall were given a roasting in the first half but got on top for a period after the break.
“At the end of the game I had eight players out there who are under 22. That is a measure of what we are achieving and of the faith in our youth programme.
“I’ve told them that I am grateful for a point. We are fourth in January and that is amazing.”
Forest Man-of-the-Match:


[Click on Player Name to view Player Profile and Statistics]

No.Player Scored Cards
14 DOIG       
17 DAWSON       
15 THOMPSON    1  
JOHNSON  Substituted    
20 REID  Substituted    
11 HAREWOOD       
19 WESTCARR  Substitute    
10 LESTER  Substitute    


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