Football: Forceful Forest maintain pressure: Wimbledon outgunned

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The Independent Online
Nottingham Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Wimbledon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Trabzonspor have the firepower - - United to face a confident Barcelona STAN COLLYMORE again stole the show at the City Ground last night, helping to edge unbeaten Nottingham Forest above Blackburn into second place in the Premiership with a stunning goal which effectively condemned Wimbledon to a third consecutive defeat.

Sadly, Terry Venables was not present to witness Collymore's ninth goal of the season. The England coach has yet to watch Frank Clark's pounds 2.5m steal from Southend since Forest gained promotion, preferring to rely on reports from aides such as Don Howe, so we must be thankful that there is a satellite dish at Venables' Kensington club.

This was the third time Forest had featured in Sky's live match, and on each occasion Collymore has rewarded the armchair audience with an important strike. In keeping with sod's law, Graham Taylor was there to see it, working as a radio pundit while at the same time running the rule over Wolves' Coca-Cola Cup visitors next week.

The former England manager smiled wryly when reminded that Collymore, a Molineux regular as a boy, still lives in Wolves' territory. 'He's a threat to anyone on that form,' Taylor said.

After Collymore's moment of inspiration, Forest seized control and might have closed the gap in goal difference between themselves and Newcastle.

Before it, however, Collymore and Bryan Roy had not shown sufficient mobility to lose the players deputed to shadow them.

Lars Bohinen, who scored one of the Norway goals which put the skids under Taylor's England reign, had been a peripheral figure during a first half in which Peter Fear and Efan Ekoku had chances to turn the visitors' ascendancy into goals. A classic counter-attack, so direct it was at least route two, changed all that.

The Forest keeper, Mark Crossley, cleared to Ian Woan, who charged 60 yards along the left before centring low across the edge of the box. Bohinen met it with an instinctive swing of the right boot, the ball shaking the underside of the bar before nestling in the net for his third goal in eight appearances.

Collymore and Roy finally began to work the Wimbledon defence in the second half. After 62 minutes, sensing that Vinnie Jones' back- header would not carry to Hans Segers, the former darted in ahead of Alan Reeves to send an angled chip against the far post.

The ball rebounded into play, but Wimbledon's reprieve lasted only five minutes. Taking possession 30 yards out, Collymore left three defenders in his wake before unleashing a right- footed drive which tore past the Wimbledon keeper.

Woan, set up by Roy and the increasingly influential Bohinen, prodded home his second goal in successive games 15 minutes from time. Marcus Gayle gave a Wimbledon side bereft of eight injured regulars some measure of consolation in the 82nd minute, though there was still time for Roy to waste an easy chance to add to Forest's haul.

Afterwards, a deflated Joe Kinnear stared into his beer and claimed with tongue in cheek that he would have kept out Collymore's goal. Meanwhile, a delighted Clark said: 'Terry knows about Stan, don't you worry.' The Forest manager restated Collymore's ability to conjure startling goals in apparently innocuous circumstances, suggesting that when he learned to score the simple tap-ins, the case for an international call might become irresistible.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Haland, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Phillips, Bohinen, Woan; Roy, Collymore. Substitutes not used: Gemmill, Lee, Rigby (gk).

Wimbledon: (3-5-2): Segers; Fitzgerald, Thorn, Reeves; Barton, Fear (Ardley, 78), Jones, Castledine, Elkins; Ekoku, Gayle. Substitutes not used: Harford, Sullivan (gk).

Referee: R Hart (Darlington).

Magpies look to Cole, page 39 (Photograph omitted)