On an emotional day for everyone connected with Nottingham Forest, it was perhaps to be expected that the game itself would not live up to expectations, and it certainly didn't.
This was another game where Forest just didn't seem to get going, although yet again, luck was certainly not on their side. Denied at West Brom by an off-side goal, Wolves were allowed to take a free kick whilst the ball was clearly still moving and were rewarded to the maximum. However, it must be said that Forest's defence were guilty of not playing to the whistle. How many times do we see defenders standing still waiting for the referee to stop play whilst strikers just seem to get on with it?
And so it was today, as Osborn's free kick, awarded after a foul by Scimeca on Sinton, found Akinbiyi unmarked inside the box. His effort was parried by Crossley but the ball fell kindly to Bazeley who had the simple task of side footing the ball into the net.
With the visitors ahead, the pattern of the game was set - Wolves dropped back, packed the midfield and invited Forest to break them down, all the while looking for the ball over the top of the Reds defence hoping that Akinbiyi would have the pace to sneak a second goal. This man might be quick but he didn't show any signs of having a brain. He was caught off-side so many times it was boring - £3.5M well saved, I think!
Although the game itself was a little flat there were two individual battles going on that were enjoyable to watch. Alan Rogers, whose forays again caused the opposition many problems, and Bazeley were constantly at each others throats, so much so that both players were booked inside the first 20 minutes, Bazeley for hacking down Rogers, and then 'Tank' for barging into his opponent. On the other side of the pitch, Wright and Muscat were also having a bit of a go.
Although not playing well, Forest still had chances to level before half time. The Reds were denied what looked like a blatant penalty after 34 minutes when Emblem tripped Wright, and on the stroke of half time Wright sent a header just wide following a fine cross by Louis-Jean.
Forest had the perfect start to the second period. A fine run and cross from the left by Rogers was met by the head of Bernard Allou and the ball was past Stowell and into the net. This was Allou's first League start for the Reds, and I for one hope it is the first of many.
After 60 minutes, most of the crowd thought that Forest were ahead. A superb chip from Wright had Stowell beaten but the ball seemed to take an age to come down and dropped onto the roof of the net. This was Forest's last real attempt on goal, but Ian Wright still had one more act to play. Booked in the first half for kicking the ball away, the running battle with Muscat finally became too much for Wrighty. After another niggling challenge by the Wolves defender, Wright took a kick back and off he went. Fortunately there were only six minutes remaining and Wolves never made the extra man count, although Crossley did pull off two brilliant saves to deny Simpson and Osborn.
If the Reds are to mount a serious promotion challenge then teams like Wolves will have to be seen off, especially at The City Ground, otherwise we will be looking at mid table obscurity. Lets hope the trip to Bolton sets us on our way!