14/02/2004 Walsall
3 - 3

Itís been a funny old week for Forest and the fans. First Paul Hart is sacked after the abysmal performance against Coventry last Saturday. Then on Tuesday, a mixed reception greets Joe Kinnear when he announced as manager.

On Thursday Kinnearís new signings, Forest old boy Alan Rogers and his Leicester team mate Andy Impey arrived at the City Ground; both on a one-month loan.

Then on Friday, we learn that Forest have defaulted on the repayments for the Trent End and the council is threatening eviction if we donít pay up.

So it was something of a relief to arrive at the City Ground to see some football, even it it was Walsall, a team we canít seem to beat.

Joe Kinnear continued the drama of the week by keeping everyone waiting right up to the kick-off before making his appearance, and that drama continued as Forest stormed into the lead less than three minutes into the game.

And Joe must have been smiling as both his signings played a key role in the first goal from open play in over 800 minutes of football.

It started with Rogers bringing the ball out of defence before setting Marlon King loose down the left flank.

King turned in a great cross for Michael Chopra, but he failed to connect with it. However, Andy Impey was storming in at the far post and he blasted it into the net.

It was the perfect start for Joe, and the roar from the fans told you that all the troubles of the last week were forgotten.

But they all came rushing back two minutes later as Walsall equalized thanks to a Forest defence that seemed to go to sleep.

Thompson allowed Gary Wales to get past him a little too easily, and des Walker failed to block his cross, which found Danny Leiato at the far post. He blasted the ball at goal and at first it looked as if Darren Ward had blocked it with his legs, but the ball curled into the net.

On 13 minutes King, who looked much livelier than he has done in recent weeks, turned and blasted a shot at goal. It looked destined for the back of the net until James Walker pulled off a superb save.

Then on 23 minutes, Walsall took the lead as Ward parried a shot from Gary Birch and Jamie Lawrence bundled the loose ball into the net.

The Forest attack were looking more confident though, and Gareth Williams and King both had good chances to level the scores, while Andy Reid was back to his old self, trying long range shots, which this time were only just missing the target.

It looked like game, set and match to Walsall on 39 minutes when Gary Wales again found Thompson a little too easy to beat, twisting inside him before blasting a low shot past Ward.

As the Forest team left the pitch at the break, they did so to a chorus of boos.

Kinnear must have said some harsh words at half time though, as they came out full of life, taking the game to Walsall and pegging them back in their own half for the rest of the game.

And on 56 minutes their hard work and pressure paid off as Andy Reidís cross found the head of Marlon King at the far post.

The goal gave Forest an even bigger lift and they continued to press Walsall, but for all their efforts, it didnít look as if the equalizer was going to come.

Then Joe Kinnear made an inspired substitution in the 89th minute, bringing on Gareth Taylor for Chopra.

Taylor, having been on the pitch for less than a minute, got his head to an Alan Rogers cross and Forest were on level terms with only injury time to play.

The reaction from the crowd told you everything and the City Ground was buzzing again.

Forest almost won the game as well, and it would have been thoroughly deserved. However, as Reidís corner found the head of Eoin Jess at the far post he could only direct it into the side netting.

It was a great battling performance from Forest and they thoroughly deserved their point. But it is worth noting that the performance was not that different from previous weeks, the real difference was that we actually scored goals in this game.

After the game, Joe Kinnear had mixed feelings about the game saying: "Having been 3-1 down, I'm pleased with a point but I'm disappointed that we didn't win the game.

"It must have been a wonderful game to watch. We got off to a blinding start and then we went to sleep.

"But at 3-1 down and in the position we're in you may have expected one or two heads to drop but they didn't.

ĒWe stuck at it and in the end I felt there was only one team that was going to come out on top ... and that was us!

"I was praying for a fourth goal but it just didn't come. A great deal of positives have come out of the game and I now know what type of players I've got and what type of players I need."
Forest Man-of-the-Match:


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

No. Player Scored Cards
34  ROGERS       
35  IMPEY    1  
21  SONNER       
WILLIAMS  Substituted    
22  CHOPRA  Substituted    
11  KING    1  
14  JESS  Substitute (On for 8 )    
10  TAYLOR  Substitute (On for 22 ) 1  


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