Football: Forest display their strength in depth

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Nottingham Forest. . .4

Sheffield Wednesday. .1

WEDNESDAY'S loss of Des Walker from defence and Ian Taylor and Ryan Jones from midfield posed Forest something of a problem. 'When we saw the team sheet, we couldn't work out how they were going to play,' Frank Clark said. In the event, Forest's manager need not have worried. Wednesday had not worked it out either.

Trevor Francis admitted they produced a poor performance, and offered calls to national service not as an excuse but by way of explanation, saying that his new Swedish signing Klas Ingesson and Ireland's John Sheridan tired in the second half, and Romania's Dan Petrescu had picked up a sore throat.

A trip to Luxembourg, where he scored for the Netherlands, did not seem to have done Brian Roy much harm, though. He terrorised Wednesday's weakened defence throughout with his penetrating runs and subtle skills, and after striking the crossbar with a venomous shot from 25 yards he deserved to round off yet another surge of searing pace with a goal five minutes from time.

'Of all the games to lose Des Walker, with the threat of Collymore and Roy this was not one I would have chosen,' Francis said of his centre-back's untimely hamstring trouble. 'The two of them up front complement each other very well. They are both exciting players individually and they inspire the rest of the team.'

But then the rest of the team inspired them, too. David Phillips anchored the midfield, Steve Stone was tireless on the right, and Kingsley Black, who touched in Forest's first goal, from Stone's fierce drive, and Lars Bohinen, who thrashed in their second, showed no sign that they were starting for the first time this season as injury cover.

Had Wednesday's middle men been able to match the sharp passing that echoed the Forest of old, Francis might have been better able to judge his experiment with a 4-5-1 formation that left David Hirst in splendid isolation up front for 45 minutes and Mark Bright to amuse himself elsewhere.

Petrescu's departure dictated a return to 4-4-2 and the revised line-up had begun to show promise when the hard-working Graham Hyde pulled it back to 2-1. But then Roy's trickery produced a rather harsh penalty as his shot struck Simon Coleman's arm, and Wednesday fell apart.

Goals: Black (34) 1-0; Bohinen (54) 2-0; Hyde (56) 2-1; S Pearce pen (63) 3-1; Roy (85) 4-1.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Lyttle, Chettle, Cooper, S Pearce; Stone, Bohinen, Phillips, Black; Collymore, Roy. Substitutes not used: Webb, Lee, Rigby (gk).

Sheffield Wednesday (4-5-1): Pressman; Atherton, A Pearce, Coleman, Nolan; Petrescu (Watson, h-t), Sheridan (Bart-Williams, 67), Sinton, Hyde, Ingesson; Hirst. Substitute not used: Key (gk).

Referee: P Don (Hanworth Park, Middlesex).