17/04/2004 Millwall
2 - 2

This was the proverbial game of two halves, with the first proving to be uninspiring and dull, while the second turned out to be explosive, providing a four-goal thriller as Forest earned themselves a point in their efforts to break away from the relegation dogfight.

Joe Kinnearís side took to the pitch with two changes forced on them by injury; Gareth Taylor and Matthieu Louis-Jean were both out, while David Johnson and Eoin Jess both started in their places.

Millwall were the first to strike during the fifth minute as Danny Dichio held up the ball for Dennis Wise, whose shot drifted wide of the upright.

Then Andy Impey found himself in a spot of bother as he trod on the ball and stumbled. Neil Harris leapt in to take advantage of the situation, but he curled his shot wide.

At the other end Impey then came close to making the breakthrough as he tried to chip Andy Marshall with a clever curling shot, unfortunately, it didnít dip in time and drifted over the bar.

Marlon King then had the best chance as he rose to meet Eoin Jessís cross, only to find his header coming back off the bar.

Slowly though the half petered out and as it ended with something of a whimper, the sensible money was on a 0-0 bore draw. How wrong can you be?

Both managers must have had words with their sides during the break, but it was Millwall who responded positively and they took the lead with only 47 seconds of the second half gone.

The Reds gave away a needless free kick on the far side and as David Livermoreís kick drifted through the box, every single man in a red shirt did a passable impression of a statue as they watched the ball drift in to the net at the far post.

It was just the kick-up-the-arse that Forest needed and their response was to step up a couple of gears as they went in search of an equaliser.

From the restart they went straight on the attack and Paul Evans smashed a drive towards goal only to see it stopped by the hand of Tim Cahill. Another quick shot and again it hit the hands of another Millwall player.

Forest were incensed as the referee waved play on, and Evans managed to talk himself into a yellow card as he harangued the ref all the way back to his own half of the field. It was a silly booking but he did have a point.

What Forest really needed was a bit of magic to even things up again, and it duly arrived from Andy Reid, who, picking the ball up in his own half ran with it before unleashing a blistering drive from 30 yards out which crashed into the top corner of Marshallís net.

It was easily the goal of the day, and had it been in the Premiership, it would easily qualify as a contender for goal of the season.

Forest almost doubled their lead moments later as Gareth Williams flew in to get on the end of Reidís cross, only to send the ball over the bar. It wouldnít have counted anyway as the flag was already up for off-side, but Forest now had Millwall on the back foot.

The game had finally burst into life, but it exploded moments later as Wes Morgan clashed with Dichio. I didnít see the incident that sparked it off, but both players were pushing each other as the others gathered round. There didnít seem to be any blows traded, but both had put the referee in a difficult position and he brandished a red to each.

Predictably, with both sides reduced to ten men the play opened up, and Forest took advantage of the space to take the lead through David Johnson.

As he picked up the ball just outside the Millwall area he ran into the box and rounded the diving Marshall before slotting the ball into the empty net. It was his first league goal since he suffered a double break of the leg in September.

A few minutes later Jess had a golden opportunity to make it 3-1 and guarantee all three points would go to Forest. As Johnson shot from a very tight angle and Marshall parried the ball away, it fell to the feet of Jess just ten yards out, but somehow, with an empty net at his mercy he managed to skew his shot an inch wide of the far post.

Millwall were not going to let this game slip away from them though, and with six minutes left they grabbed a vital equaliser.

Mark McCammon nodded the ball down to Cahill who flicked it through for Nick Chadwick Ė on loan from Everton Ė and he curled his shot past Gerrard and into the far corner of the net.

There were more clashes as tempers flared; first Dennis Wise and Evans squared up to each other, with Wise going down clutching his face. The referee was having none of it, though he should have booked Wise for simulation.

Then McCammon and Dawson clashed in the wall as Millwall had a free kick. This time McCammon went down clutching his face as if he had been shot. The linesman came on to inform the referee that Dawson had not touched McCammonís face. Again, the referee decided not to book the player for simulation.

It made for a tense and exciting end to an already tense and exciting second half, but with no more goals, both teams left with a hard-earned point.

All the other results went Forestís way and though the three points would have made it almost certain they were safe, the point means they are still four clear of the last remaining relegation place, currently occupied by Gillingham.
Forest Man-of-the-Match:


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

No. Player Scored Cards
22  GERRARD       
35  IMPEY       
34  ROGERS       
23  MORGAN       
14  JESS       
18  EVANS       
WILLIAMS  Substituted    
JOHNSON  Substituted 1  
REID    1  
11  KING       
16  DOIG  Substitute (On for 8 )    
21  SONNER  Substitute (On for 9 )    


View                       Sign

e-mail [email protected]