Forest struggle to serve up fitting tribute to fallen manager Clough

Nottingham Forest 2 Rotherham United 1 aet

Brian Clough was probably too busy amassing silverware and firing off pithy quotes to watch the TV sit-com
Whatever Happened To the Likely Lads?. But last night, as The City Ground remembered the most remarkable of managers, an unremarkable Carling Cup tie reminded 11,168 spectators that, as its theme song reflected, "the only thing to look forward to is the past".

Brian Clough was probably too busy amassing silverware and firing off pithy quotes to watch the TV sit-com Whatever Happened To the Likely Lads?. But last night, as The City Ground remembered the most remarkable of managers, an unremarkable Carling Cup tie reminded 11,168 spectators that, as its theme song reflected, "the only thing to look forward to is the past".

Not for the first time in Forest's history, the names Clough and Taylor were on everyone's lips. Gareth Taylor, the tall target man in Joe Kinnear's side, wasted little time cancelling out Chris Sedgwick's early goal for Rotherham United. He also headed the winner from point-blank range after Alan Rogers' shot looped into the air off Mike Pollitt four minutes into extra time.

Even if Forest's future looks distinctly ordinary, Taylor's opportunism sent the faithful home in good heart after the sadness of Clough's death on Monday.

Until his second goal, the meeting of two of the bottom three in the Championship - in which neither has won - went to form. David Johnson had the best chance to end the stalemate, but failed to convert an 88th-minute cross from a yard out - a clip-round-the-ear offence in Old Big 'Ead's heyday. Kinnear admitted these were "emotional" days for Forest. "We've had thousands of people down here, laying wreaths and signing the book of condolences," said Clough's latest successor. "It seems like the whole of Nottinghamshire has been here. It's been hectic, but we had to get a result for the greatest manager this club has ever had."

Progress in the League Cup is expected at Forest. Two European Cups are worth any number of domestic baubles, but this was the competition in which Clough's team consistently excelled. Six times they reached the final, winning four.

By poignant coincidence, Rotherham were Forest's first League Cup opponents in the Clough era, 29 years ago last month, when a 5-1 win completed a 7-2 aggregate success. The team that would conquer a continent was taking shape, seven players going on to collect a European Cup winner's medal.

Fewer than 8,000 turned out that night, and before Clough's passing, Forest would have been grateful for such an attendance. Just 2,000 tickets had been sold. While the official memorial game will be Sunday's visit of West Ham United - when Kinnear is threatening to join in a mass green-sweatshirt tribute - many fans clearly did not want to wait to share in the communal grief.

Displays of shirts and scarves, flags and flowers have become a routine part of mourning a football icon. However, even the most hardened cynic would have been moved by the messages left. Felt-penned on a green top was "Be Good", a catchphrase he would add to his autograph. Amid the red strips were tops from rival clubs, including one from Leeds United, candidly inscribed: "Our loss for the second time."

Only the hum of the electricity broke the minute's silence. Then the chants began. Starting with "Brian Clough's a football genius", the most raucous part of the crowd then sang "We hate Derby" (where Clough lived for 30 years) before "Brian Clough and Peter Taylor" acknowledged that the greatest triumphs came when this most singular man was part of a double act.

The match itself was never likely to be a fitting monument to his memory. Rotherham went ahead after nine minutes through Sedgwick. Seven minutes later, Taylor side-footed Forest level.

Soon after half-time, a cross-shot by Rogers clipped Rotherham's bar, sandwiched between cries of "You'll never beat Des Walker" and a chorus of "We're on the march with Cloughie's army, we're all off to Wemberlee".

The buoyant mood was out of keeping with the modest fare on offer. Rotherham, attired from top to toe in funereal black, gave as good as they got until the closing minutes of normal time. Johnson's wastefulness at that stage could have been costly, but Taylor finally gave Clough's people what they craved.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Gerrard; Perch, Morgan, Doig, Robertson; Impey (Bopp, 85), Jess, Evans, Rogers; Johnson, Taylor. Substitutes not used: Roche (gk), Tarka, Gardner, Beaumont.

Rotherham United (4-4-2): Pollitt; Stockdale, Swailes, Gilchrist, Minto (Hurst, 81); Sedgwick, Warne, Garner (Vernazza, 98), Mullin; Barker, Proctor (Hoskins, 96). Substitutes not used: Montgomery (gk), Scott.

Referee: M Fletcher (Worcestershire).

Suggested Topics
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
film
Sport
football
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
A photograph taken by David Redferm of Sonny Rollins
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker