Van Hooijdonk 6
Leeds United 1
All the omens now suggest that Forest face relegation from the Premiership for the second time in four years, after meekly surrendering a one-goal lead. Forest's manager, Dave Bassett, acknowledged they are dependent on their fellow strugglers, saying: "We have now got to win all three games to stay up... if the other teams win we'll go down."
It had all started so promisingly for Forest, who were a goal up after six minutes and were coping well with a Leeds resurgence, when the substitute Carlton Palmer drove a fierce low cross into the area. Chris Bart-Williams stuck out a boot and deflected the ball on to the inside of the near post. It squirmed back along the goalline for Brian Deane to slide it home.
George Graham, the Leeds manager, reorganised at half-time and did much to redress the balance of the game. "Forest played with a lot more urgency than of late. They should have been more than one up at half-time, which would have made it difficult for us to come back," Graham said.
Pierre van Hooijdonk's first goal for Forest palpably relieved the tension at the City Ground. But even then a potential offside decision resulted in a collective holding of breath. The Dutch striker appeared to have drifted beyond the last defender when Scott Gemmill's measured pass found him unmarked six yards out. Van Hooijdonk scooped the ball over Nigel Martyn but the referee David Elleray deliberated with his assistant before allowing the goal to stand.
Gemmill wasted a first-half chance, blazing over from 10 yards after being released by Brian McNeil, on loan from Celtic, who provided stability and vision in midfield. Gemmill also headed over from a similar position after Leeds' equaliser but Brian Roy could have extended Forest's lead much earlier.
The mercurial striker failed to connect with one chance but then unleashed a sweet left-foot drive which Martyn tipped on to the bar, a save Bassett described as "England class". Pierre Laurent made his full debut for Leeds and, with his pace and control, could have sealed the match in the final minute but Alan Fettis blocked his shot from 10 yards. Fettis will be needed for the rest of Forest's relegation campaign as Mark Crossley will have an operation on Wednesday in the hope of solving a hernia problem.Reuse content