Football: Wright's rich dividends can secure loan

Nottingham Forest 4 Walsall 1 Freedman 43, 76 Robins 4 Chettle pen 71 Wright 86 Half-time: 1-1 Attendance: 15,081

FOREST FINISHED the afternoon in style, with two former England stars cavorting in the sun and four goals in the net. Their manager, David Platt, called his team's second-half showing, starring his former international team-mate Ian Wright, the best since he joined, but the roof did not fall in on Walsall until 20 minutes from the end when their goalkeeper, James Walker, conceded a penalty and was shown the red card when he brought down Gianluca Petrachi, the home side's inspiration.

Steve Chettle thumped home the penalty. Five minutes later Dougie Freedman claimed his second of the match and three minutes from the end Wright earned deserved reward as he slipped the ball past the stand-in goalkeeper, Carl Emberson.

The Walsall manager, Ray Graydon, said it was the first time this season his promoted team had been second best. "I can't wait to get out of here," he admitted. "It isn't a pleasant sight to watch your side well beaten. We were nowhere near them."

Honest and true. Walsall had a wonderful boost of a goal after only four minutes, and they defended this lead doggedly until almost half-time through the bulk of Tony Barras and the goalkeeping heroics of Walker. But after the interval Petrachi tormented the left side of Walsall's defence and their cave-in always seemed on the cards.

However, Forest were so long turning their domination into goals that Platt, who had named himself as one of the substitutes because of an injury crisis among his midfielders, was warming up after only an hour. His arrival with five minutes left was more in the nature of a celebratory trot than anything else since, in his opinion, all 11 Forest men were heroes.

They looked anything but heroic after that early setback. By then Wright had already gone close to scoring, chipping Walker with a delightful effort which landed on the roof of the net. Walsall raced away from the goal- kick, Darren Wrack crossed from the right and Mark Robins, from a very long way out indeed, struck a perfectly timed header high to Dave Beasant's leap to his left.

Petrachi, Freedman, John Burns and Wright all came close to the equaliser, but there were only three minutes to the safety of the dressing-room when Walsall capitulated. The credit goes to Petrachi, who forced his way into the area and drew Walker before his shot was blocked. The rebound fell kindly for Matthieu Louis-Jean, who crossed for Freedman to head in.

The timing of that goal was the boost Forest needed to take the match to Walsall and keep them penned in their defensive zone. Walker was constantly in action as Forest clipped both uprights and Wright floated another chip on to the bar.

Walsall could not contain Petrachi and it was his darting run into the penalty area which led to the second Forest goal. Put through by Nigel Quashie with Walsall looking for the offside flag, the Italian rounded Walker but was pulled down. The referee Kevin Lynch's red card was a formality and, once Emberson had replaced him in goal just in time to pick Chettle's penalty out of the net, Walsall were goners.

Forest's third was a beauty. Alan Rogers and Petrachi worked a short corner on the right, Petrachi transferred the ball to his left foot and swung over a precise cross to the far post, where Freedman squeezed his header between the upright and a hesitant goalkeeper.

Emberson managed to stop one when he thrust Quashie's storming drive over his head, then hurriedly rescued the ball as it bounced towards goal. But he was nowhere when Wright struck the woodwork again.

With two minutes left, Wright collected from Riccardo Scimeca and got in a shot which Emberson parried, but could not keep out.

Wright is only on loan for another couple of weeks from West Ham and Platt is understandably keen to keep him, since he is forming a potent spearhead with Freedman. "In the space of a week they are getting a very good understanding together," he said. With Harry Redknapp's indulgence, they may go on to greater things.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own