|Darren Huckerby got his Forest career off to a great start by grabbing the crucial equalizer in this 1 – 1 draw.
Paul Hart was forced into changing the side that thumped Stoke 6 – 0 at the City Ground last Saturday. John Thompson dropped back to right back to replace the injured Matthieu Louis-Jean (thigh) and Darren Huckerby replaced leading scorer David Johnson (posterior cruciate ligament), while Eoin Jess started in the midfield.
Forest seemed to struggle with the enforced changes and had only one chance in the opening 15 minutes as Andy Reid, seeing Alec Chamberlain off his line, tried to chip the ball over him. Chamberlain scrambled back to make the save.
Less than two minutes later Forest were made to pay for their slow start as Heidur Helguson rose unmarked at the back post to head home Jamie Hand’s cross.
Forest were disorganized at the front and back, and were lucky to go in at the break only 1-0 down, thanks to Watford spurning numerous chances and some good defending from Michael Dawson.
The half time break - and probably a few choice words from Paul Hart – seemed to do the trick. Forest started to play with more purpose and as they settled into the game they looked more dangerous.
They started to pressure the Watford goal and their endeavours were rewarded on 65 minutes when Chamberlain parried away Marlon Harewood’s shot. Harewood collected the ball again and slid it through to Huckerby, who smashed it into the roof of the net to open his Forest account.
Forest now began to lay siege on the Watford and only some last ditch defending stopped Forest adding a second.
Then in the last minute of normal time, Forest had the chance to grab the winner their second half performance deserved. Reid fired in a great corner to find Dawson at the back post, but his header struck the bar.
Deep into injury time Huckerby’s cross found Reid in space, but the young Irishman rushed the shot and fired wide.
Paul Hart was concerned about his team’s first half performance and afterwards he said: “I’m annoyed and disappointed at the way we started. We played poorly in the first half.
“We played well in the second half though and possibly deserved a winner.”