|They say to be a good team you have to battle for wins against the odds and that is exactly what Forest did at Valley Parade today as they ran out 2-1 winners over Bradford City.
After a battling performance against West Ham in midweek Forest were very slow to get started in this game, and they paid the price after only five minutes.
Michael Branch, who holds a place of endearment in every Forest fan’s heart after his cheating at Wolves a few seasons ago, was the man to get the ball rolling.
The goal came in the fifth minute as ex-Red, Andy Gray, dropped the ball into the penalty area, where Branch was on-hand to side-foot it over Darren Ward and into the net.
In fairness, it was nothing more than Bradford deserved for their early dominance of the game.
And the goal did nothing to shake the lethargy from Forest as Bradford continued to dominate for long spells in the first half, though they failed to capitalise on their dominance and went in at the break with just the one goal to show for their trouble.
After the break, Bradford continued much as they had in the first half and continued to dominate. However, thanks to some fine defending and excellent saves from Ward, they still couldn’t find a second goal.
Things then looked bad for Forest as they lost Michael Dawson to a suspected hamstring problem. But Forest’s luck started to change as the game wore on, and on 78 minutes Eoin Jess - booed by the Bradford fans every time he got near the ball – got his reward for running his socks off all afternoon as he put Forest level.
It was real route-one stuff as Ward cleared long, Andy Reid flicked it on and Jess, after bringing it under control, lashed the ball into the net.
The Bradford fans were silenced for a few seconds, before the booing started again. This time Jess was not the target, it was Nicky Law, the under-fire Bradford manager.
Bradford almost got back in front as the game drew to a close. Gareth Edds, another ex-Red, crashed a superb shot towards goal, but Ward pulled off another superb save to keep the scores level.
Then Gareth Williams almost won it for Forest at the other end as he fired in a terrific low shot, but Alan Combe in the Bradford goal pulled off a great save, tipping the ball round the post for a corner.
With the game deep into injury time it looked like a draw was on the cards, but Andy Reid had other ideas as he skipped past a couple of defenders before firing in from 25 yards out.
The goal earned Forest all three points and condemned Bradford to their sixth home defeat of the season.
Looking at this game as a whole, very few would ague that Forest deserved all three points. But they never gave up and it was this never-say-die attitude that won them the game and that is what made the victory all the sweeter.
Paul Hart summed it up after the game saying: “In the past we have played well and not necessarily got the reward we deserved. We weren’t at our best today, but we stuck at it and got something out of the game.
“We started poorly and I told the players at half time that they had just not played well enough.
“We worked tremendously hard in the second half. I’m not exactly sure whether we deserved to win the game or not … but I’m not really bothered about that.”