Weale's howler revives Forest play-off hopes

Nottingham Forest 3 Leicester City 2
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The Independent Football

Such was the poor form of both these East Midland rivals going into this match, the tension that eddied around the stands here before kick-off could only have been born of hope rather than expectation.

That the match was of questionable quality however, mattered little to the Nottingham Forest supporters, who saw their captain Paul McKenna score the winning goal with a shot which will haunt the dreams of City goalkeeper Chris Weale for years to come.

The consequence, City manager Sven Goran Eriksson conceded, is that Leicester's chances of making the Championship play-offs have now all but evaporated. "I'm afraid that could be it," said the Swede. "We played rather good football and showed our character by coming back twice, but the match finished as it has too many times for us this season. We are already starting to think about next season. It's not good enough what we have done." Asked if he will be in charge next season, Eriksson replied: "If it is up to me, yes."

It was almost 15 minutes before either side got a shot away, Lewis McGugan volleying a couple of feet over the bar, but the Forest midfielder was more accurate when shortly afterwards he picked up the ball on the right touchline, and with his left foot, pinged a lovely diagonal cross on to the head of Marcus Tudgay. The striker placed his header with equal precision to beat the dive of Weale.

The equaliser was not long coming. A volleyed cross across the Forest six-yard line goal was cleared by Guy Moussi, but only as far as Matt Oakley. From around 20 yards, the City midfielder hit his shot cleanly, but Forest goalkeeper Lee Camp got a strong hand to the ball and will have been disappointed he did not deflect it wide.

The second half was another slow burner, but just as Forest manager Billy Davies was about to substitute Robert Earnshaw, the Welsh forward was in the right place to turn in the rebound from a McGugan shot.

Remarkably, Leicester levelled even more quickly when Darius Vassell was quickest to react to a loose ball in the penalty area, but just when it looked like the sides had produced a result to please only their play-off rivals, Weale unaccountably allowed McKenna's weak effort to squeeze under his body.

"Recently we haven't had much luck but we got a break with the goalkeeping error," the Forest manager, Billy Davies, acknowledged.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2); Camp; Moloney, Morgan, Chambers, Gunter; McGugan (McGoldrick, 86) Moussi, McKenna, Cohen; Tudgay (Boyd, 75) , Earnshaw (Findley, 80). Substitutes not used Darlow (gk), Bennett, Majewski, McCleary.

Leicester City (4-3-2-1): Weale; Naughton, Vitor, Bruma, Mee; Oakley (Abe, 50), King, Wellens; Gallagher, Kamara (Howard, 76); Yakubu (Vassell, 58). Substitutes not used Ricardo, Dyer, Berner, Moreno

Referee M Clattenburg (Co Durham).