King ends eight-year hitch for Forest

Nottingham Forest 1 - Peterborough 0
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Nottingham Forest sneaked into the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time in eight years thanks to a narrow and undeserved win.

Nottingham Forest sneaked into the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time in eight years thanks to a narrow and undeserved win.

The manner of their victory did little to suggest that Gary Megson, the Forest manager, is on the verge of papering over the cracks that permeate the City Ground.

Striker Marlon King scored the goal that turned out to be the match-winner after just 10 minutes of a contest in which Championship side Forest were comprehensively outplayed by a team 24 places below them, one off the foot of League Two.

Even in victory, Megson, who seems set to lose midfielder Andy Reid to Southampton or Spurs, had the decency to admit that although his side are through to the next round, they barely deserve to be.

"After we scored we looked like a team who are not used to winning and like they could not carry on playing and pushing for a second," said Megson. "Peterborough can consider themselves very unfortunate that they aren't in the hat for the next round. We will just try to get results by hook or by crook for the rest of the year and try to get them in a more pleasant way next season."

King's goal, neatly taken from 12 yards out after full-back Alan Rogers had fired in a low cross, was Forest's only meaningful effort on goal for the entire afternoon, which was notable as much for the home side's ineptitude as Peterborough's never-say-die attitude.

Peterborough could have had a penalty after 25 minutes when their striker Calum Willock was hauled back by Gareth Taylor only for the referee's assistant to rule the foul had been committed inches outside the area.

Willock and midfielder Steven Thomson forced Forest's goalkeeper, Paul Gerrard, into fine saves before half-time and Megson was so concerned that he attempted to remedy the situation by switching from a back five to a back four. He soon switched back after a weak-willed defensive showing he later branded "pathetic".

Peterborough came within inches of gaining a deserved equaliser after 54 minutes. Forward Richard Logan played in winger David Farrell on the left and he drilled a shot past Gerrard that came back off of his left-hand post. Teenager Ryan Semple scuffed his shot wide on the rebound.

Farrell was then denied by Gerrard, centre-half Sagi Burton saw a looping header tipped away and substitute Andy Clarke scuffed wide from six yards.

Forest looked set to collapse and with 10 minutes to go Megson and substitute striker David Johnson had a slanging match. Five minutes later Johnson was introduced in place of 57th-minute substitute Adam Nowland, who ignored Megson as he stormed off down the tunnel.

"The best side lost and none of us can believe that we are not going to be in the draw for the fifth round of the cup - I'm totally gutted," said Peterborough's dejected manager Barry Fry. "My lads just deserved so much more than they got. We came here and outplayed them."