Football: Too late for Forest

Nottingham Forest 1 (Roy) 59 Wimbledon 1 (Leonhardson 16) Atten dance: 19,865
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Forest finally got the chop yesterday, and although they have the resources, are they renewable? Life has quite different requirements in the First Division and, as Queen's Park Rangers have found this season, by the time a side can see the wood for the trees, it can be too late. A spell out of the Premiership is not what the new investors at the City Ground will want.

Forest needed to win to prolong their hope of survival, but Dave Bassett, brought in to wield his Harry Houdini-like powers in support of player- manager Stuart Pearce, acknowledged yesterday morning that the die had long since been cast in the battle against relegation. Leaving it until this late stage to produce one of their most vibrant attacking displays of the season, served only to heighten the frustration for all at Forest.

It was their recent acquisition, the Dutch striker Pierre Van Hooijdonk, who provided the inspiration as Forest laid siege to the Wimbledon goal in a vain attempt to register only their seventh League win of the season.

Not that any sense of optimism among the home fans lasted long. After only 16 minutes, Duncan Jupp raided down the right, crossed and Oyvind Leonhardsen scored smartly.

Forest regrouped and imposed mounting pressure on the Wimbledon goal, but, typically when things are desperate, Neil Sullivan in the opposition goal pulled out all the stops. He was in outstanding form and saved his best for Van Hooijdonk's efforts.

Finally, after nearly an hour, Sullivan was beaten. Van Hooijdonk's nod-on found Bryan Roy, who had only just come on, and Forest's other Dutchman lopped his header home.

Sullivan only just kept out a cheeky chip by Scot Gemmill, but in the end Forest were left to suffer relegation for the second time in four seasons.