Dave Bassett, their manager, has a commendable record of achieving survival, even success, in unpromising circumstances but the challenge he faces to keep Forest in the Premiership will severely test even his acumen. Much as they have a right to feel let down by the treachery of Pierre van Hooijdonk, sympathy with their plight is undermined when they perform as they did yesterday.
Bassett needed to deliver a half-time rocket to bring them to life after they had gone a goal down within five minutes of the first 45 minutes after the first of a series of defensive howlers. Forest had two chances to clear Mark Kinsella's corner but failed with both and, when the ball went to ground, Youds slipped away from his marker to drill it home through a crowd of inert defenders.
It could easily have been worse. Andy Hunt missed both with his head and right foot as further chances opened up for the London side and Clive Mendonca slid the ball against a post after Forest stood and watched a long ball by the wing-back Danny Mills.
Neil Shipperley, making his home debut after his pounds 1.5m move from Crystal Palace, formed a largely ineffective partnership with Dougie Freedman, although they were poorly supported by a Forest midfield in which the pounds 2.5m recruit Nigel Quashie has yet to make a real impact.
But for an extraordinary double save by Beasant, finished off by Steve Chettle's clearance after Mendonca and Hunt had been left unmarked six yards from goal, Forest would have been stung again at the start of the second half.
Bart-Williams spurned Forest's best chance from 12 yards after Freedman's pull-back had invited him to score, but at least there was more conviction from the home side in the second period and, ultimately, only two brilliant one-handed saves by Ilic, both from Chettle, denied them an equaliser.Reuse content