Football: Forest return to the roots

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The Independent Online
Nottingham Forest 4

Black 34, Bohinen 52, Pearce pen 63

Roy 84

Sheffield Wednesday 1

Hyde 56

Attendance: 22,022

IN THE days when Nottingham Forest were winning everything, it was said that Brian Clough used to walk to work across the river Trent. The water turned to whine two seasons ago, but Frank Clark, his successor, has restored the team to their old primacy.

The neat passing that was always their hallmark is back, allied to a speed of thought and a tough-tackling defence. Their first and third goals had a touch of fortune, but the woodwork and Kevin Pressman prevented at least three others.

All the pre-match initiative seemed to be Wednesday's as Klas Ingesson, the Swedish international midfielder signed for pounds 2m, trotted out to join the Premier League's own version of the United Nations Points- Keeping Force.

The tall Swede nearly enjoyed a dream start. Given possession on the left, he cut in rapidly past defenders to fire a fierce shot just wide of Mark Crossley's left post.

Forest assumed control of the game with Brian Roy and Lars Bohinen, in for the injured Scot Gemmill, breaking fast from midfield to provide support for Stan Collymore.

It was Collymore's right- wing cross that almost found Kingsley Black's head at the far post, and his own powerful right-foot shot from outside the box that first had Pressman scrambling.

Wednesday had plenty of possession, but wasted it by using 10 passes to try to achieve what one good one could provide, and whenever they lost the ball, Forest looked capable of profiting. Black should have scored from Collymore's back header, but his left-foot volley went wide. Another Forest breakout saw Lars Bohinen chip a pass on to the back of Roy's head, setting up Steve Stone's shot, which went in via Black's inadvertent deflection. Wednesday brought on Gordon Watson at the interval to provide much-needed support for David Hirst.

Bohinen pounced on Graham Hyde's error to plant a crisp shot past Pressman. Hyde redeemed himself by volleying in a botched clearance from Crossley, giving Wednesday hope of getting back into the game. Forest had other ideas.

They pressed forward fluently, Wednesday's defence seemingly unable to get the ball away. When Roy broke into the penalty area on the right, Simon Coleman needed his arm to block the cross. Stuart Pearce buried the penalty. It took two superb saves from Pressman to stem the Forest tide, but they were not enough.

Wednesday capitulated, giving the ball away constantly, and resorting to petulant fouls which saw both Hirst and Andy Pearce booked. It was no surprise to see Brian Roy, put through by Collymore's acute pass, beat both the last defender and the goalkeeper to apply a suitably elegant coup de grace. Trevor Francis will need to spend again, and soon - a defence and an attack look like worthwhile priorities.