Football: Clough's creativity enlivens Forest

Leicester City 2 Nottingham Forest 2

After the demise of Frank Clark, the thought was bound to present itself: what if Martin O'Neill had taken the Forest job? Would things have come to the same pretty pass?

The Ulsterman, whose playing days spanned Forest's finest hours, was offered the opportunity to manage them in the spring of 1993, ahead of Clark. He turned it down, preferring to stay at Wycombe Wanderers, whom he had taken from non-League to the Second Division. That he should now be watching their demise from as close a vantage point as Leicester has a certain irony.

O'Neill's rejection suggested to some a lack of ambition but to others wisdom. As a relative rookie in management, he knew he was not ready to step into Brian Clough's shoes.

Within the next two or three weeks, Stuart Pearce, without even the modest experience O'Neill could draw upon then, must indicate whether he is ready to succeed Clark. For him, making the right choice will be tougher still.

Colin Cooper's late header salvaged a draw, giving Forest four points from the matches that preceded and followed the Boxing Day drubbing by Manchester United. But Pearce is under no illusions. "I think to survive we've got to get near to the 46-point mark and as we've only got 14 at present the situation is clearly not good enough," he said.

The Forest board - unsure of its own destiny while take-over manoeuvres continue - has given Pearce a trial period to be determined largely by himself. "The chairman asked me to take over until mid-January and I'll talk it over with my wife then," he said. "I'm a level headed chap, not one to make rash decisions."

O'Neill is not a contender now, having pledged never to follow the lead of Brian Little and Mark McGhee by walking out of Filbert Street with commitments unfulfilled. To lose another manager now would be calamitous for Leicester, clinging to their mid-table perch with a tenuous grip.

Coventry have proved that the difference between comfort and dire straits can be as little as three or four results. O'Neill has conjured from limited resources some splendid results for Leicester, a Boxing Day draw at Liverpool the most recent. But after only one win in seven, he knows such results must come more often.

"After the Liverpool game we had 22 points from 19 games, the half-way point in the season," he said. "We will need at least as many as that in the second half."

Given the lateness of Forest's second equaliser, Saturday's result might appear an opportunity missed. Leicester led twice, in fact, through Emile Heskey's glancing header and some cool finishing by Mustafa Izzet, from a chance made by Heskey. But O'Neill was surprisingly benevolent.

"We were down to the bare bones, with literally only one other player available," he said. "You are disappointed to concede a late goal but the attitude and application was terrific and I can ask for no more."

Pearce, still employing bold tactics, saw glimpses of Forest's old fluidity, their creativity enhanced by the return of Nigel Clough, on loan from Manchester City. Clough scored his first Forest goal since 8 May, 1993, the last day of his father's sad valedictory season. But he should have had a second and it is more vital to Forest even than to Leicester that points come in threes.

Goals: Heskey (10) 1-0; Clough (37) 1-1; Izzet (63) 2-1; Cooper (87) 2-2.

Leicester City (5-4-1): Keller; Grayson, Prior, Hill, Marshall, Lewis (Lawrence, 81); Taylor, Parker, Izzet, Heskey; Claridge. Substitutes not used: Watts, Campbell, Wilson, Poole (gk).

Nottingham Forest (3-4-1-2): Crossley; Blatherwick, Chettle, Pearce; Haland, Cooper, Gemmill (Lyttle, 69), Woan (Allen, 77); Clough; Saunders, Campbell. Substitutes not used: Phillips, Roy, Fettis (gk).

Referee: K Burge (Tonypandy).

Booked: Forest: Chettle, Blatherwick.

Man of the match: Clough.

Attendance: 20,833.

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?