Dreadlocks deadlocked

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PHIL SHAW

Nottingham Forest 0 Chelsea 0

An evening of double Dutch and dreadlocks ended in deadlock at the City Ground last night, a result which suited Ruud Gullit and Chelsea rather better than Bryan Roy and Nottingham Forest.

Glenn Hoddle's side have now fought out two goalless draws since introducing Gullit to the hurly-burly of the Premiership, but they played a positive part in a contest which absorbed the crowd without quite living up to its promise.

Likewise, the eagerly awaited confrontation between Roy and his compatriot seldom materialised. The Forest striker looked a class act, despite fluffing two chances to add to the goals he scored at Southampton.

Gullit's influence was more fitful; the sweeper's elegant excursions upfield caused problems both for Forest and for his own defence as he ambled back.

In the event the key performers proved to be the rival goalkeepers, Mark Crossley and Dimitri Kharin, who each made marvellously agile saves to preserve parity. Kharin, however, also owed his clean sheet to the profligacy of Roy and his partner, Kevin Campbell.

Twice in a strong opening 20 minutes by Forest, the former Arsenal striker betrayed a lack of confidence - unsurprising in one whose last League goal was in December. Campbell skied his first effort; the next shook the crossbar. When he finally hit the target, Kharin parried athletically.

Roy's chance to show how it was done arrived in the 50th minute. No sooner had he narrowly failed to apply a touch to Steve Stone's header than he was scampering on to Lars Bohinen's through-pass. Erland Johnsen and Frank Sinclair collided, but Roy tripped over the ball with only Kharin to beat.

While little was seen of Mark Hughes, his new colleagues carved out almost as many openings from less possession. Most fell to Mark Stein whose finishing was wayward until the 68th minute. After Chelsea's first corner of the match fell to Sinclair, whose shot was hacked off the line by Ian Woan, Stein lashed in the rebound. Crossley, at full stretch, diverted his shot over the bar .

In stoppage time his Russian counterpart ensured that Chelsea made their point with a finger-tip save from Stone. Forest will play worse and score a hatful. For Chelsea, the problem is how better to use Gullit's natural attacking flair and, perhaps to persuade him to conceal his exasperation when lesser mortals mis-read his intentions.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Lyttle Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Phillips, Bohinen, Woan; Roy, Campbell (Lee, 83). Substitutes not used: Gemmill, Tracey (gk).

Chelsea (1-4-3-2): Kharin; Gullit; Clarke, Sinclair, Johnsen, Myers; Peacock (Burley, 79), Spackman, Wise; Stein (Spencer, 75), Hughes. Substitutes not used: Hitchcock (gk).

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees).

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