Football: Collymore denied but Forest find target

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The Independent Online
Nottingham Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Southend United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

AFTER a slow start, Nottingham Forest are relentlessly making ground on the First Division leaders. Stan Collymore, the 16-goal pounds 2.1m striker who is spearheading their charge, was denied the pleasure of scoring against his former colleagues yesterday but his new team nevertheless extended their impressive form.

During an eight-match unbeaten run that has also seen them through to the last eight of the Coca-Cola Cup, Forest have collected 16 from 18 available League points, moving close enough to the front- running group for their manager, Frank Clark, to enjoy a satisfying Christmas. Fears that he might be haunted by the ghost of Brian Clough seem unfounded.

Forest made light of a viciously swirling wind yesterday with an impressive technical display in which David Phillips and Lars Bohinen contributed considerable creative influence.

Without a conventional co- striker, Collymore was left to forage alone but he is in such threatening form that he is almost the equivalent of two men and, in any case, Forest's five-man midfield system invariably provided support.

The home side could be criticised only for not making victory comfortable sooner. Having gone ahead a minute before half-time via the centre-back Colin Cooper's deflected free- kick, they had to wait until the 79th minute for Kingsley Black to add a second goal. For a period before that, during which the substitute Jason Lee missed an open goal and Mark Crossley, at fault then, redeemed himself with two good saves, they looked vulnerable.

Cooper, who had opened his Forest account by tipping Manchester City out of the Coca-Cola Cup last week, made his mark again after Scot Gemmill was fouled 10 yards outside the penalty area, watching with delight as his powerful free- kick cannoned off the wall into the ground and ballooned over Sansome's head.

Bohinen, instrumental in the build-up to that goal, created the second, peeling away to the byline to the left of Sansome's goal before pulling the ball back to a well-positioned Black, whose close- range strike left Southend's new manager, the former Spurs and England winger Peter Taylor, to contemplate two defeats in two games since stepping into the breach left by Barry Fry's acrimonious departure.

Nottingham Forest (4-1-4-1): Crossley; Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Phillips; Stone, Bohinen, Gemmill, Black; Collymore. Substitutes not used: Webb, Bull, Wright (gk).

Southend (4-3-3): Sansome; Poole, Edwards, Bodley, Powell; Hunt (Tilson, 68), Gridelet, K Jones; Mooney, Angell (Lee, 53), Otto. Substitute not used: Royce (gk).

Referee: T Heilbron (Co Durham).

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