Dave Beasant now knows how Davey Crockett must have felt at the Alamo, having spent the entire evening attempting to defy a Chelsea side that totally overran the Reds. That the final score was restricted to just two goals was due to a combination of factors: terrific saves from Beasant, inspired defending from Louis-Jean and Hjelde in particular, the woodwork, woeful finishing by the Blues and Gianfranco Zola's brainstorm.
In my humble opinion, the formation that Forest started with tonight was unwise. The best opportunity for Forest to get anything from this game was surely to score the first goal and then invite Chelsea to try and score two. To let Chelsea score first and then try to chase the game was always going to end in defeat.
The gulf in class was there for all to see, but to their credit, our boys defended superbly at times, and no-one can have any complaint about the effort put in tonight, despite the result.
Forest held their own against Vialli's foreign legion for the first 20 minutes or so, but then Chelsea moved up a gear and from then on it was backs to the wall stuff. First Zola was denied what seemed a certain goal when he was put clear by Poyet's header and scooped the ball over the advancing Beasant. Indeed, Petrescu had already turned away celebrating when somehow Louis-Jean acrobatically bicycle kicked the ball off the line, to Zola's obvious disbelief. The ball was cleared as far as Harley and the left-back unleashed a wicked curling shot that had Beasant grasping at thin air as it flew past him, only to crash against the angle of post and bar and rebound to safety.
Chelsea continued to pour forward, and cross by Harley was misjudged by Beasant, who fumbled the ball and could only watch as it fell to Petrescu, who toe-poked the ball towards the net and a certain goal. What happened next almost defies logic. Zola, obviously in an offside position, only had to leave well alone, but in a moment of madness hammered the ball into the net from 1 yard and the goal was disallowed. Zola immediately dropped to the floor as he realised what he had done, waiting for that big hole to open up and swallow him. Alas for Forest, it didn't, because a little later he was to make amends.
Shortly after this Forest had a great chance to take the lead when they broke from defence and suddenly found themselves four on two against the Chelsea defence
Scimeca had the ball, with Freedman and both the defenders to his right, and Rogers and John to his left. Freedman did everything he could, short of writing a letter and telling him, to get Scimeca to play the ball to the left and leave us two players against the keeper. Inexplicably, Ricky attempted to find Freedman and the chance had gone.
The second half reflected the pattern of the first as Chelsea continued to hound Forest and they finally made the breakthrough after 57 minutes. Prutton conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box and Zola delivered a quality ball that flashed off the head of Leboeuf and was into the net before the keeper could move - totally undefendable.
Beasant continued to roll back the years and twice denied Poyet, tipping over both headed efforts. After 81 minutes Chelsea were awarded another free kick. A carbon copy of Zola's earlier effort followed, but this time Beasant saved Leboeuf's header comfortably.
Chelsea though were not going to be denied a second gaol and it was superbly set up by substitute Jodie Morris.
He danced his way into the box and drove to the bye-line. Everyone thought he had taken the ball too far, but he managed to spin on the ball and hook it back into the box where it found the head of Wise, who nodded it past Beasant from no more than two yards.
Forest only really tested DeGoey once during the match, when Stern John hit a shot on the turn that the keeper saved with his legs.
So the F.A.Cup adventure is over for another season, but if Forest can transfer this type of attitude to the League they should easily climb away from the wrong end of the Division.