02/11/2002 Sheffield United
3 - 0

Sheffield-born Jack Lester bagged a brace against his home-town club this afternoon as Forest made their dominance count with three goals in nine minutes.
Itís been a hard fortnight for Forest after they started it by facing local rivals Derby in a hard fought 0-0 draw, the next three matches have seen them face opposition from the top six in the division, starting with Leicester at the City Ground and then a midweek trip to Carrow road to face high-flying Norwich.
It says a lot for Forest these days that they stood up to the tests with honour and came away with a point from each of the games.
Based on that form it would not have surprised anyone if sixth-placed Forest were feeling the strain of the past 14 days as they stepped out to face fifth-placed Sheffield United.
But they werenít - or if they were, they werenít showing it - as they started the game at a high tempo and managed to keep it up for the whole game.
Forest dominated both halves, however, Sheffield United had a fair contribution to make to this game as well as the first half saw end-to-end football, which, thanks to good defending by both sides, and some poor finishing was to end 0 Ė 0.
Forestís first chance came on four minutes as in-form David Johnson beat three defenders on the edge of the Bladeís area before firing over.
Unitedís responded well as 18-year-old Michael Tonge blasted a shot at the Forest goal, unfortunately for the youngster the shot was straight at Ward who collected the ball gratefully.
Johnson and Harewood were a thorn in the side of the Bladesí defence as their jinking runs beat them every time. Johnson forced the United goalkeeper, Kenny, into making a fine save on 10 minutes as he again broke through the Bladesí defence.
Then on 15 minutes it looked like United might be reduced to 10 men as Robert Page bought down the rampaging Johnson as he again slipped through the defence. It looked from my position in the Trent End that Page was the last defender and I was expecting a red card. The ref didnít see it that way and produced a yellow. In hindsight Iím glad he did, I think the red card would have spoilt this game and forced United to play with 10 men behind the ball in a bid to keep it at 0 Ė 0.
Dawson took the free kick but it was a poor one and went straight into the wall.
Further chances fell to both Johnson, who fired just wide, and Harewood, his blistering shot curling beautifully from the edge of the box, Kenny was beaten all the way, but again the shot slid just the wrong side of the upright. Forest had dominated the first half and played at a high tempo. Most people would have forgiven them if they had eased back a notch for the second half. They didnít though, in fact they stepped it up a notch or two as they went searching for an early goal.
However, it was the Blades who had the first chance of the half as Carl Asaba turned quickly and fired a low shot just wide of Wardís post.
Forest responded immediately as Jim Brennan fired in a teasing cross. Page cleared it, but only as far as Harewood who fired wide.
Gareth Williams then found himself in space just outside the United area and fired in a superb shot which was tipped over by Kenny as he pulled off another fine save.
The breakthrough finally came on 53 minutes as Riccy Scimecaís cross found Jack Lester on the far post, he headed straight past the flailing Kenny and Forest were in the lead.
Unitedís response was swift and they nearly found themselves on equal terms again as Allison caught the Forest defence napping. He found himself with the whole goal to aim at, but pulled his shot wide of the post.
The second goal came on the hour as Harewood and Lester ran at the defence, Harewood slipped a lovely pass through to Lester, who took one touch to control the ball on the edge of the D the curled it in to the far post past the outstretched Kenney.
United looked deflated by the second goal and it was no surprise when the third goal came less than three minutes later.
This time it was Lester who slipped the pass through for Johnson who ran toward the bye-line and turned it back across goal. Harewood slid in and knocked the ball home form eight yards out.
You knew it was Forestís day on 68 minutes as Darren Ward made a fine save from Peschisolido. The ball rebounded out to Allison who missed the open goal from about four yards out.
The game was visibly slowing now as the weather made the pitch much harder to play on and I think it came as a relief to most players when the referee finally blew for full time.
Forest got everything their efforts deserved from this game, but Sheffield United played their part in an entertaining game as well.
Paul Hart was, understandably, delighted after the game, saying: "David deserved a goal for all the effort he put in Ė heís on fire at the moment.
"But the fact that he gets so much attention gives others an opportunity, and Iím pleased we got goals from other areas.
"It was great to see three goals so close to one another; but I knew it would be a hard match.
"The good thing about us is we get stronger as the game goes on. Itís becoming a trait Ė and a good one to have." United boss, Neil Warnock, was gracious in defeat and admitted Forest deserved their defeat, admitting: "It was their day and we have just got to learn from it.
"It might have been interesting had Allison equalized when he had the chance; but you have to give Forest credit Ė they are a very good passing team and formidable at home."
Forest Man-of-the-Match: All of 'em - a fine team performance


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

No.Player Scored Cards
LOUIS-JEAN  Substituted    
17 DAWSON       
JOHNSON  Substituted    
10 LESTER    2  
11 HAREWOOD    1  
14 DOIG  Substitute    
22 JESS  Substitute    


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