Reid's brilliance reveals hard road for McCarthy

Nottingham Forest 2 Sunderland 0
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The Independent Football

You can see why Sunderland have not won a League match since last December or away from home for a year. When the chances came early on they were spurned and, fuelled by a brilliant show from Andy Reid, Forest offered a lesson in how to snap up opportunities and then control the match.

The signs of trouble for Sunderland came as early as the opening minute. Fed by Eoin Jess, Reid skipped past Stephen Wright and crossed for David Johnson to head into Mart Poom's hands. Twice in quick succession Johnson's pace earned corners and by the 11th minute Forest were taking their fifth corner kick.

But by then, Sunderland might have been two up. Michael Proctor's snap header almost sneaked past Darren Ward, and when Proctor again wriggled free inside the box Kevin Kyle crashed the pass onto an upright.

Forest sorely missed the suspended Michael Dawson in the centre of defence, with Des Walker distinctly creaky on the turn and John Thompson worryingly uncertain. One moment of Thompson hesitation was all Proctor needed to dart past him and lob just too high over the stranded Ward. Kevin Phillips, omitted because of his impending departure from the club, would surely have punished Forest in those early stages.

However, once Forest had gone in front with a gloriously executed goal Sunderland wilted in the extreme heat. Reid slid a perfectly measured ball through the visiting defence and Harewood strode on to it, rounded Poom and rejoiced in the first goal of the season. Next Poom punched away a Reid free-kick but still Sunderland might have levelled if Proctor had been sharper. When Walker misjudged the bounce and Thompson was slow to react, the Sunderland striker ran clear but scooped his effort weakly wide.

A heavy tackle on Johnson by Phil Babb left the Forest man in need of attention, offering both teams the chance to take a cricket-style drinks break, but the Sunderland captain learned nothing from his escape and was booked soon afterwards for bringing down Louis-Jean.

Forest had the ball in the net again from a Reid corner on the left with 36 minutes played but it was disallowed for a foul on Poom. But four minutes later Forest collected their second. This time the corner, Forest's 12th of the match, was on the right side. Reid swung it in and Louis-Jean met it at the near post with a glancing header. The added pain for Sunderland's large and vociferous following was that both goals had come at their end.

Forest repelled all Sunderland's second-half efforts, if not always comfortably or impressively, and the excellent Reid boosted home hopes of more goals with his perceptive passing and shooting.

The visitors' best second-half effort, an over-robust aerial challenge by the massive Kyle, produced merely pain for Ward, who was flattened by the attempt on his goal. It may be a hard season for Mick McCarthy's men.

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