24/04/2004 Ipswich Town
1 - 2

For the last week many people have been saying that Forest were safe, but the pessimist in me would not accept it. After all, mathematically we could have still gone down.

But this 2-1 victory at Portman Road makes things so much more comfortable, yes there are still six points to play for and we are exactly six points clear of the final relegation place. Nevertheless, Forest’s goal difference is so much better than everyone else involved in the dogfight that it would take some truly bizarre results to drag them back into the scrap.

Both teams surprised everyone on a gloriously sunny and warm Suffolk day as they started this game at a cracking pace and kept it up all the game.

And the hero of the afternoon was none other than David Johnson, who, after receiving a standing ovation from the home fans who still think a lot of him, went on to score a goal in each half to make sure the three points would travel back to Nottingham.

Johno drew first blood in the eleventh minute as Matt Elliot – on loan from Leicester – cleared the ball; it only went as far as Andy Reid, who quickly picked out Marlon King.

King ran to the goal line before cutting the ball back into the centre of the box where Johno was on hand to hammer it in from seven yards out.

Ipswich went straight on the attack after this and it took two fine saves from Paul Gerrard to deny one-time Forest target Jermaine Wright the equaliser.

Meanwhile, Johno was giving the Ipswich defence nightmares and had a glorious chance to double the score when Reid picked him out with a 40-yard pass. Johno brought the ball under control and tried to round the Ipswich ‘keeper, Kelvin Davis.

But Davis pulled off a fine save as he got down to push the ball wide.

Johnson then netted the ball as it came out to him after Davis pulled off another good save from Eoin Jess’s shot, but it was ruled out for offside.

Then in the 34th minute, 17-year-old Dean Bowditch, who had been impressive all game, grabbed the equaliser.

As Darren Bent let the ball run through his legs, Bowditch beat Alan Rogers to it and curled a lovely shot into the bottom corner, beyond the reach of Gerrard.

Both sides must have welcomed the break as the pace had been frenetic and the heat must have been telling on some of the players.

Despite the heat though both sides came out and started the second half at the same pace as the first.

And ten minutes into the half Forest had regained the lead when a power header from Johnson diverted Jess’s cross into the net.

Inevitably, Ipswich increased the pressure on Forest, but the defence was resolute as they repelled attack after attack.

And Forest were unlucky not to grab a third as Johnson turned provider, picking out King, who could only direct his header over the bar.

Four minutes of stoppage time did nothing to ease Forest nerves or those of the travelling support, but they managed to hang on for the crucial three points and almost certain safety.
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  Substituted    
18  EVANS       
WILLIAMS  Substituted    
JOHNSON    2  
11  KING       
THOMPSON  Substitute (On for 14 )    
21  SONNER  Substitute (On for 8 )    


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