Once again it is a case of R-over and out as Forest crash to yet another defeat, with very little sign of things getting better in the foreseeable future. It would be easy to blame today's defeat on the rather dubious sending off of Andy Johnson, but the truth of the matter is that Forest were already a goal down and showing no real signs of getting on the score sheet when Johnno made his early exit. The final scoreline no doubt flattered Tranmere, but it shouldn't be allowed to gloss over the fact that Forest just weren't good enough - again.
As expected, Tranmere were all route one, looking to exploit Forest's well publicized dislike of the high ball into the box, but for the whole of the first half the Reds, to their credit, handled the situation well. Even the world record throw ins of Challinor didn't cause too many problems, but it was at the other end where Forest failed miserably, creating almost nothing of note, the strike force of Beck and Merino receiving hardly any service. Even the pace of Rogers and Brennan failed to trouble Tranmere, who caught Forest offside again and again, as they struggled to find a way of breaking Rovers down.
The second period continued in much the same vein as the first, Stockport all huff, puff and high ball, whilst the Reds looked as though they could cope with it all day long. Of course, with our current defensive set-up, we are always likely to cock up sooner or later, and so it was to be after 53 minutes had elapsed. Roberts got away down the flank and his cross was met by Hill, who easily nodded the ball past Crossley as the rest of the defence stood and watched.
5 minutes later, and a difficult position was made impossible when 'Homer' Bates saw fit to dismiss Johnson even though he was fully 30 yards behind play when Johnno tackled Roberts. Popular opinion says that although the tackle was very firm, it was also fair, Johnson winning the ball cleanly. However, that didn't stop half of the Tranmere side plus their Manager John Aldridge from gathering around Johnno and venting their anger. Did the referee even consult his linesman? Not bloody likely! He just decided that Johnson should walk - a disgraceful decision.
It took Rovers only 5 more minutes to make the man advantage tell. Another huge throw in by Challinor found the head of Allison and it was 2-0. Forest then threw any sort of caution to the wind, and were punished again when Tranmere caught them on the break and Kelly completed the scoring in the final minute.
Forest are well and truly in it now, and the time has arrived when David Platt must turn Managerial potential into hard results. If midweek results go against us, Forest could start Wednesday's game against Portsmouth second from bottom, and with difficult games against Ipswich, Blackburn, Birmingham and Charlton on the horizon, the new Millennium could see Forest rooted to the bottom of the Division - a scary thought indeed.