Match Report: Billy Davies needs time to stoke Forest fires

Nottingham Forest 1 Bolton Wanderers 1: Returning manager thwarted by namesake as Bolton put the brakes on winning second start

the city ground

Until the 77th minute, it was shaping up as a fairly agreeable homecoming for Billy Davies, back at Nottingham Forest for his second spell in charge with "unfinished business" as his new mantra. Unfortunately for him, Forest failed to finish this particular piece of business. Ahead through Andy Reid after dominating the first hour, they conceded an equaliser to the Bolton substitute, who happens to be also called Davies, Craig.

It was all a bit of an anti-climax, given the Scot's big-screen rallying call just before kick-off promising a reprise of the two play-off runs that defined his previous tenure, if not now then soon. Then again, Forest have begun to look like a mid-table team since the unexpected sacking of Sean O'Driscoll after a Boxing Day romp against Leeds prefaced a run of one win in eight, so perhaps three points would have been papering over the cracks.

Bolton, unambitious until they were chasing the game, did not manage a shot until the 57th minute, by which time Forest must have had eight or nine. Yet there was an uneasiness in the crowd despite the home team largely dominating.

Perhaps with good reason. The return of the combustible Glaswegian has coincided with seismic upheaval at the City Ground. In a swathe of executive sackings that claimed its latest victims last week, the chief executive, the finance, recruitment, performance and academy directors, the operations manager and the head of communications have all been moved on in the space of a month, along with former player, manager and chairman Frank Clark, who was relieved of his duties as club ambassador. No wonder Forest fans feel unsettled.

Interestingly, the departure on Wednesday of finance director, John Pelling, removed the last component of the transfer acquisitions panel with whom Billy Davies used to be regularly at odds. The others were Mark Arthur, the deposed chief executive, David Pleat, who ended his professional association with Forest in 2011, and Nigel Doughty, the former Forest owner whose death just over a year ago paved the way for the current owners, the Al Hasawi family, to take control. There was input, too, from Keith Burt, who cleared his desk as head of recruitment last month.

Questions about the structure of the club were off-limits when Davies faced his first post-match press conference, although the new manager did not miss the opportunity to aim some implied criticism at his predecessor, Alex McLeish, claiming that Forest's fitness levels were not where he would like them. McLeish, somewhat ironically, left the club after a row over transfers.

What Davies did say was that, in his view, Forest deserved to mark his return with a win. "We had 23 shots to their five and paid for one mistake by a young player who was caught in possession, leading to their goal," he said. "Bolton would surely accept that they got away with murder in taking a point."

Forest were in charge, certainly, until Reid volleyed them in front with a fine strike from just outside the box. Adam Bogdan had had a busy afternoon, keeping out shots by Reid, Raddy Majewski and Simon Cox. But once in front, Forest lost some composure. After the error by Henri Lansbury to which Davies had referred, the Bolton substitutes, David Ngog and Craig Davies, combined to level the scores and had Marcos Alonso's sending-off 10 minutes from time not upset the numbers, the shift in momentum might just have gone a stage further and spoiled Billy's day altogether.

Nottingham Forest (4-1-3-2): Darlow; Jara, Halford, Ward, Cohen; Guedioura; Lansbury (McGugan, 80), Reid, Majewski; Sharp (Blackstock, 67), Cox (Henderson, 83).

Bolton (4-2-3-1): Bogdan; Mears, Knight, Dawson, Alonso; Pratley, Spearing; De Ridder (Eagles, 57), M Davies, Chung-Yong Lee (C Davies, 65); K Davies (Ngog, 72).

Referee Keith Stroud.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent