O’Driscoll has Forest playing the Clough way
Bolton Wanderers 2 Nottingham Forest 2
The Reebok Stadium
Saturday 25 August 2012
When, after the long rule of Brian Clough ended in tears, Forest's fans produced T-shirts that predicted they were only “on loan” to the First Division, as the Championship was then called, they were correct.
Whether, after a vastly entertaining night, Bolton can say the same must be debatable. Four points from their opening three matches does not represent the sort of flying start Usain Bolt would recognise.
Forest, who had not won at Bolton since Clough was manager, continued an unbeaten start to the season that has taken them, however briefly and irrelevantly, into the automatic promotion places.
The appointment of Sean O'Driscoll has revived one great Forest tradition; the art of the counter-attack. In December 1994, after they beat Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford, Alex Ferguson noted: "The manager may have changed but Forest haven't; they still suck you in and hit you on the break."
This is the way O'Driscoll's teams have always played and until they took the lead they performed beautifully. Then, just as their fans began singing about being top of the league, which for 24 minutes they were, Forest seized up. Then, once they had fallen behind, another beautiful move saw Simon Cox feed Andy Reid, who clipped his shot in off the post.
The opening goal was even better. With a quarter of an hour gone Dexter Blackstock touched the ball inside to Lewis McGugan, who from almost 30 yards sent it crashing in off the underside of the crossbar.
Bolton's tactics centred on driving the ball up towards Kevin Davies and seeing what transpired. It was to bring increasingly large rewards. A few minutes before the interval, Davies headed Sam Ricketts' cross against the post and Chris Eagles rammed home the rebound.
Thereafter, it seemed there would be only one winner. Those expectations appeared to be fulfilled when Greg Halford lost possession in his own area and Kevin Davies, who had hustled him off the ball, squared it for Marvin Sordell to score.
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): Bogdan; Mears, Mills, Knight, Ricketts; Lee, Andrews, M Davies, Eagles; Sordell (Afobe, 67), K Davies. Substitutes not used: Lonergan (g), Alonso, Ream, Petrov, Wylde, Vela. Booked: K.Davies.
Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Camp; Harding, Collins, Halford, Moloney; Gillett, Guedioura (Hutchinson, 81), McGugan (Greening, 90), Reid; Blackstock, Cox. Substitutes not used: Evtimov (g), Lascelles, McGoldrick, Derbyshire, Majewski. Referee: D Whitestone (Northamptonshire).
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