13/07/1999 Peterborough
1 - 2

Steve Ralling
Well, here we go... game number one under David Platt... and Stanno can't get away from work to report on this game, so the job falls to yours truly! A good number of the 'faithful' turned up at London Road to see the first game of the new season (I estimate that there were around 500 'Trickies' in the ground) on a warm, but overcast evening. We knew from the start that this was going to be a tough game when we noticed in the programme that 'Posh' planned to field TWO teams, one in each half! Forest started the first half with Crossley, Louis-Jean, Chettle (capt.), Palmer, Bonalair, Rogers, Bart-Williams, Quashie, Woan, Gray and Freedman. The game started at a steady pace, with both teams passing the ball around well, looking for that vital weakness in the opposition. There were a few long-range attempts by Forest before Alan Rogers calmly side-footed the ball into the net after everyone had stopped, thinking that there had been an offside! Well done Alan: always play to the whistle!! Once everyone realized that the referee had actually given the goal, a cheer went up from the Forest Fans... 0-1 to Forest and 28 mins gone...
We didn't have to wait long for the second, as Forest upped the pace, spurred on by the first goal. Ian Woan (remember him?) got the ball on the left-hand edge of the Posh penalty area and powered the ball into the roof of the net... 0-2 to Forest, which is how it stayed until half-time. 'Big Norm' had a good spell in goal, with very little to do, but it was noticeable that he has been working on his kicks as he was frequently reaching the edge of Posh's penalty area with his clearances. The back four looked more solid that we have seen them for a long time, with Palmer calling most of the shots, despite Chets being the Captain... In midfield, Quashie showed some good skills, but looks as if he has not yet attained full match fitness, whilst Andy Gray looks as if he never will! He looked slow and awkward on and off the ball, and never really took part in the game (sorry Andy, but I tell it how I see it). Bart-Williams had a quiet first-half but Alan Rogers made up for that, with some speedy runs up the line and some good opportunities in front of goal.
Ian Woan was obviously out to impress the new manager and turned in a first-half performance, the likes of which we have not seen from him for some time, culminating in that powerful strike which nearly took the netting off of the Posh goal! Dougie Freedman also performed well in front of goal, with several attempts just narrowly missing their target. For me, the player of the first half had to be Posh's No.9 - David Farrell. Noticeable by his peroxide blonde hair, he was literally all over the pitch, with lightning fast runs up the wing, and good solid tackles in defense, he looked the only Posh player to cause us any real problems. No sign however of the skills of Matthew Etherington, who has recently been gaining the attention of some major clubs! The second-half saw a few changes... a completely different Peterborough side (!) and the appearance of Beasant (for Crossley), Harewood (for Gray) and a change of positions with Rogers moving to left-back (eh? David??)...
This time, it was Posh's turn to come at Forest. The Cambridgeshire team (all with 'fresh legs') looked the livelier side for most of the second half, with a powerful shot from Drewe Broughton just missing on 53mins and a header from Ritchie Hanlon going just over on 65mins. Forest changed things around again in an attempt to regain control of the game. John Burns came on for Ian Woan, Christian Edwards for Chettle (the captain's armband going quite rightly to Palmer), Steve Guinan came on to replace Alan Rogers and Nigel Quashie was replaced by Steve Melton. Bonalair moved back into his position at right-back (what was all that about???!!) This changed things a bit, with John Burns looking very impressive (watch out for this guy!) and Steve Guinan and Christian Edwards looking strong and very fit.
After 80mins, Posh finally got the goal the home fans had been waiting for, with a beautifully struck shot from Jae Martin, who had been threatening the Forest defense for some time. And that's how it ended: Peterborough 1 - Forest 2. A good start to the season and some promising signs of things to come... I was disappointed that David Platt did not come over to greet the fans, but then again this was only a friendly... on the other hand, around 500 of us made the trip to Peterborough... maybe he will put this right once the season starts???
Forest Man-of-the-Match:


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