FOOTBALL: All smiles for one Lee

Nottingham Forest 3 Manchester City 0

There is a lot to be said for a bit of dignity under pressure. It was one of the few things, for example, that earned Trevor Francis credit during his decline at Sheffield Wednesday. He may have managed badly but at least he did it with composure.

Alan Ball seems to have lost his already. So far this abject season, if he has not been whining about unlucky defeats, it has been unhelpful referees. He could not bring himself even to do that after this match, though he would have been justified. "They've been making it up all week, they can make it up again now," was his only public comment.

Apparently, it was the suggestion that he was planning a clear-out of players that had made him so cross, even though most people looking at his team's record would probably say it was a good idea. If reports of a rebellious dressing room have any foundation, he might do well to ship a few out.

If Ball manages to keep City in the Premiership - assuming that Francis Lee stays loyal to him - it will be a remarkable achievement. One draw and seven straight defeats is the worst sequence even in City's up-and- down history. The scoreline here probably flattered them. Had Forest, unbeaten now in 21 League games, been at full throttle, it might have doubled.

"We could have done no more in the second half but I felt we were a bit low-key before that," the Forest manager, Frank Clark, said, finding it hard not to rub it in. "We could have done our goal difference some good."

Bryan Roy, for all his wizardry on the ball, again missed the target more often than he hit it, but otherwise for Clark there was much encouragement, not least in the progress of Jason Lee.

Bought 18 months ago from Southend for pounds 200,000, Lee's only function previously was to cover for Stan Collymore and, really, he never seemed much of a substitute. Given that he spent nearly pounds 4m on Kevin Campbell and Andrea Silenzi during the summer, Clark appears to have been of similar mind.

But with Silenzi and now Campbell suffering injuries, Lee has acquired first claim on the target striker's position and not only is he quite unfazed by it, he is also destroying one or two preconceptions. His hair may look as though it should be attached to a donkey's posterior but the similarities end there.

He scored twice - a first for him in a Forest shirt - and although neither goal will be remembered long, both were put away coolly, capping an accomplished performance. No wonder Silenzi looked eager to impress when he replaced a limping Roy.

Had he been of a mind, Ball could have grumbled about Mike Reed, the referee, and received a sympathetic hearing. It was never a match to warrant nine yellow cards - plus a first-half red for Ian Brightwell for picking up two within a minute - but with 27 bookings and three men sent off already, Ball will need some new players, clear-outs notwithstanding, to replace all those suspended.

Goals: Lee (10) 1-0; Lee (47) 2-0; Stone (82) 3-0.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Bart-Williams, Bohinen (Gemmill, 85), Woan; Roy (Silenzi, 65), Lee. Substitute not used: Tiler.

Manchester City (4-4-2): Immel; I Brightwell, Curle, Symons, Foster; Lomas, Brown, Kinkladze, Beagrie; Rosler, Creaney (Summerbee, 52). Substitutes not used: Quinn, Margetson (gk).

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam