Ramsey waits as Tudgay prospers

Nottingham Forest 3 Crystal Palace 0
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Aaron Ramsey's frustration at spending all but the last 16 minutes on the bench was of no consequence to Nottingham Forest, whose quality put them streets ahead of Crystal Palace even without the help of the rehabilitating Arsenal midfielder.

It meant that the young Welshman, awaiting his first competitive start since his encounter with Stoke's Ryan Shawcross in February left him with a broken leg, has been restricted to only 45 minutes of action in two appearances since joining Forest on loan three and a half weeks ago. He has not been helped by two other matches in which he might have played, falling victim to the weather.

Ramsey is due to rejoin Arsenal on 3 January but Forest manager Billy Davies suggested that an extension of the loan could be on the cards.

"I would love to extend it but that is in the hands of our transfer acquisitions committee," Davies said. "It has been frustrating that he has not played more so far but we have to be careful with the boy, especially with the surfaces we are having to play on, and the lack of training has made it difficult."

Yesterday's match was the first at the City Ground for five weeks and went ahead only because the snow that has ravaged many other parts of the country has largely missed the East Midlands so far.

The temperature was below zero and the surface slippery enough to embarrass those players without appropriate studs but Forest, who played a full-scale practice match in the stadium last Tuesday, looked much the more comfortable.

Their football was slicker and more assured and but for Julian Speroni in the Palace goal, the margin could have been more emphatic and the journey home even more challenging to the Palace fans who had come dressed in Santa Claus outfits.

It was another new face at Forest, the striker Marcus Tudgay, who took the chance to make the right impression, marking his debut with the second goal as Billy Davies's team made short work of sending George Burley's side back to London with a fifth consecutive away defeat.

The 27-year-old arrived at the City Ground from Sheffield Wednesday on the same day as Ramsey but is likely to make his move permanent after slipping down Alan Irvine's pecking order at Hillsborough.

As a former Derby player, Tudgay might have faced a bigger task than most in winning over his new audience but took a substantial step in that direction when he scored within seconds of the second half beginning.

Getting goalside of Palace centre-back Claude Davis after Guy Moussi's chip forward, Tudgay had the composure to choose to lob the ball as Speroni rushed out of his goal and his aim was true.

Already comfortable after Luke Chambers had headed home a Lewis McGugan corner in the first half, Forest were now able to play with freedom and probably should have scored more goals, Speroni defying Paul Anderson and Rob Earnshaw with fine saves.

As it was, the substitute Garath McCleary wrapped things up five minutes from time, shooting home from Nathan Tyson's cross after Earnshaw had profited from another Davis error. The third lifted Forest to eighth in the Championship, four points outside the top six and with games in hand on all above them.

Palace slipped into the bottom three and Burley had no excuses. "We never got going and gave away horrendous goals," he said. "We did not warrant any reward from the game."