Forest had a dream start, taking the lead after only 73 seconds when Dean Saunders scored against one of his former clubs. But Derby, having taken the upper hand after recovering from the early blow, drew level in the second half and saw enough of the ball to have brought more anxiety to the home side, whose only success in 10 Premiership matches so far came at Coventry on the opening day.
Frank Clark admitted afterwards that he was worried by the air of crisis that has attached itself to Forest since it was disclosed that various offers to take control of the club are being considered by the board. "It is something that does not directly affect the players but any degree of uncertainty in any organisation is not good," the Forest manager said, "and with the team struggling at the same time, I can see how easy it is to get the impression from outside that there is an air of crisis. In fact, the two things are unconnected."
What is obvious, however, is that his side is being drained of confidence as their prospects for a season of anything other than struggle grow more slim. There has been little evidence recently of the quality that took them into a Uefa Cup quarter-final two years ago.
Lifted by a full house yesterday, Forest enjoyed a bright start. Ian Woan's pass to Jason Lee on the left reached its target more by luck than design but, with Derby's central defenders off-balance, Lee picked out Saunders with a measured low cross, and the Welshman helped himself to only his second Premiership goal of the season.
Saunders might have scored twice more before half-time, but was particularly wasteful with one chance which he blazed over from 15 yards. How Clarke must have wished his striker had showed the calm touch that enabled Christian Dailly to equalise from similar range 14 minutes into the second period.Reuse content