06/05/2006 Bradford City
1 - 1

Simon Hough
After all the talk, the end of season play-off challenge ended in anti-climax as results elsewhere went against us from the start. Having only been in the top six for the briefest of periods, we can't really complain at our final placing of seventh.

Having filled two sides of the ground, Forest certainly weren't lacking in support but on the day the team lacked the quality required to win the game. A case of so near, yet so far. From that moment since we actually reached the top 6, the team has failed to perform to the required standards.

Gerrard was brought back into the starting line-up in place of Pedersen with the rest of the team unchanged.

The game was a real anti-climax with Forest out of the top 6 for the whole game and never looking like having a chance to gate-crash the play-off party. Almost as soon as the game started, Swansea were in front and then after Bradford scored, Barnsley took the lead.

Forest started pretty well and half a couple of half chances before Bridge-Wilkinson shot from outside the area. Gerrard could only manage to push the ball straight to Windass who hammered home the rebound. Big error from the keeper who really should have either caught the ball or pushed it round the post. Palming it back onto the penalty spot was schoolboy stuff.

With this error and shocking kicking, it was a poor return to the starting XI from someone who should not be making these basic mistakes.

Forest forced a series of free kicks on the right wing which Commons could only deliver into the keepers hands as if he was shooting for goal. Very disappointing with the number of goals we've scored recently from set pieces.

Commons and Grant Holt had other efforts saved with another cleared off the line before half time.

The second half started in a similar fashion with Holt again chesting and volleying from the edge of the area but the keeper saving again. Commons shot from outside the area produced another decent save.

The only real moment of excitement came after Walsall had equalised against Barnsley but that soon disappeared when they fell behind soon after.

As Forest went forward, Bradford looking dangerous on the break and should really have increased their lead but their shot hit the underside of the bar and stayed out.

The deserved equaliser came in the 88th minute when we finally delivered a decent corner to the far post. Bennett headed into the bottom corner despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball.

A fair point earned against a battling opposition. We were just lacking the necessary quality to unlock a defence well organised by David Weatherall. We Forest searching for goals, Lester should have been introduced much earlier than the 76 minute to provide support for Tyson and Holt.

As with many games this season, we struggled to provide the necessary supply for Tyson's pace. This really needs addressing before next season to take advantage of his pace and energy.

Even though he didn't have a bad game, Perch should never have played in central midfield. Clingan has the qualities to offer a much better partnership with Gary Holt.

Others struggled to maintain the level of performances they've displayed earlier, in particular Southall, Bennett and Tyson spring to mind.

The team has improved over the course of the season with the problem positions of left back and centre forward resolved. Once we have a new manager in place, we can look to address the issues of a new goalkeeper with Gerrard out of contract. We might also need a new left winger should Commons leave and it's a possibility that the likes of Breckin/Morgan or Tyson could attract bids with their recent performances.

Should be an interesting summer - see you in August!
Forest Man-of-the-Match: Gary Holt


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

No. Player Scored Cards
  THOMPSON  Substitute (Not Used)    
  LESTER  Substitute (On for 21 )    
16  CLINGAN  Substitute (Not Used)    
  PEDERSEN  Substitute (Not Used)    
  CULLIP  Substitute (Not Used)    
10  HOLT       
29  BENNETT    1  
  CURTIS  Substituted