Football: Forest firing only blanks

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The Independent Online
Nottingham Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Wolverhampton Wanderers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

THIS was reminiscent of the old Forest, but only one season old, duplicating the kind of fluid but fruitless performance that was so typical of them as they slid towards relegation during Brian Clough's tortured final days.

Wolves, who have yet to concede a goal in five matches in 1994, organised themselves superbly behind the ball and might have stolen victory as Forest flagged, physically and mentally, in the last 20 minutes.

Forest deny that they are a one-man team but the continued absence of Stan Collymore, missing his fourth match with hamstring trouble, is causing them to suffer. Lee Glover, again asked to deputise for the 19-goal striker in a solitary forward role, could do little, but it would be unfair to blame him for Forest's first failure to score in a League match since mid-October. Indeed, had his one shot of the match struck the inside rather than the outside of the left- hand post midway through the second half, he would have been cheered from the field.

The problem lay in a lack of positive back-up, Forest's five- man midfield indulging in some cultured passing exchanges but showing a collective reluctance to take the ball anywhere near Wolves' goal.

Early in the second half, David Kelly screwed a shot wide, and for the final 20 minutes, chances came thick and fast as Wolves' Darren Ferguson and Chris Marsden, an impressive new midfield partnership, found freedom previously denied them. Kelly hit one close- range attempt against the bar and Bull three times found himself one-on-one with Mark Crossley only for the goalkeeper to block successfully each time.

Nottingham Forest (4-5-1): Crossley; Phillips, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Bohinen (G Bull, 68), Webb, Gemmill, Woan; Glover. Substitutes not used: Black, Wright (gk).

Wolverhampton Wanderers (5-3-2): Stowell; Rankine, Blades, Shirtliff, Venus, Thompson; Keen, Ferguson, Marsden; S Bull, Kelly. Substitutes not used: Regis, Mountfield, Jones (gk).

Referee: I Hemley (Bedfordshire).