Lee way brings victory
Nottingham Forest 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0
Wednesday 27 December 1995
Nottingham Forest 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0
Having won compliments in defeat at Newcastle on Saturday, Forest rediscovered, at last, how to win a match when Sheffield Wednesday succumbed at the City Ground yesterday. Jason Lee's sixth-minute goal divided themselves and David Pleat's resurgent side, bringing Forest their first victory in the Premiership since beating Wimbledon 4-1 at home on 6 November.
Since then, Forest have tended to draw rather than lose - four times in six games, in fact, before yesterday - but the loss of points has significantly undermined their prospects of securing another European qualification through the league table, especially with one place fewer available to English teams. And this, much as their continuing presence in the Uefa Cup is to be admired, remains the more likely route to another crack next year.
The clutch of goals against Wimbledon was a rare event, the one occasion in 12 matches when they have scored more than once, bringing renewed exposure to the lack in Forest's otherwise sound make-up of a consistent, high- quality goalscorer. Frank Clark, their manager, will have hoped by now to have laid the ghost of Stan Collymore but the truth is that the absence of the maverick's gifts among those who would succeed him haunts Forest still.
Just as well that Clark, while yet to solve this problem, has maintained the fabric of his side. Yesterday's points owed much to defensive organisation, limiting Wednesday's ability to make use of the larger share of possession. Clark complained that "too many free headers" were offered to the visiting forwards but this seemed a little over-critical. In Kevin Cooper and Steve Chettle, he possesses a couple of centre-backs to bear comparison with any pairing in the Premiership and there are few more impressive defensive midfielders than Chris Bart-Williams.
Against his former club, the 22-year-old, born in Sierra Leone but a Londoner by upbringing, was outstanding both in positional play and distribution. He never looks to be moving easily but this is deceptive. His anticipation is excellent, his tackles well-timed and his possession of the ball rarely wasted. Yesterday, he was as often seen disrupting a Wednesday movement as setting one in motion for his own side.
Bart-Williams cost Clark pounds 2.5m last summer, as did Kevin Campbell, the Arsenal cast-off. On the evidence so far, the two have little else in common. Campbell, slow in movement and thought yesterday, has played little because of back trouble and presumably lacks sharpness but it is hard to see him improving a great deal, not enough to be another Collymore, at any rate.
Jason Lee, who simply does not have the pedigree to go far at this level, was never expected to be one and would not be in the side now had Campbell or Andrea Silenzi, the pounds 1.8m Italian, been fit enough for long enough to make an impression.
In the event though it was Lee, with his seventh goal of the season, who did enough to keep Forest in touch with the Premiership leaders, rising at the far post to connect successfully with Ian Woan's zippy, inswinging corner.
Thereafter, Forest spent more time defending than going forward and rarely looked like adding a second goal although Campbell hit a post in the second half - at just the moment, as it happened, when his number was being raised on the touchline and Bryan Roy, recovered from knee surgery, was trotting on to replace him.
For Wednesday, Marc Degryse was denied late in the first half by a brilliant Mark Crossley save and Chris Waddle hit the woodwork with a typically clever shot-from-nothing eight minutes from time. There was a promising full debut, too, from the Yugoslav striker, Darko Kovacevic, of whom there should be goals to come, and from his fellow Red Star Belgrade export, the left-back Dejan Stefanovic.
Goal: Lee (5) 1-0.
Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Gemmill, Bart-Williams, Woan; Campbell (Roy, 75), Lee. Substitutes not used: McGregor, Haland.
Sheffield Wednesday (5-3-2): Pressman; Nolan, Atherton, Nicol, Walker, Briscoe (Stefanovic, 30); Degryse, Waddle, Whittingham; Kovacevic, Hirst (Bright, 75). Substitute not used: Hyde.
Referee: G Ashby (Worcester).
Man of the match: Bart-Williams.
Attendance: 27, 810.
Latest in Sport
Eden Hazard exclusive interview: All is rosy in the garden of Eden
Arsenal vs Monaco: Theo Walcott 'involved in spat' with fans after Champions League defeat
Paul Scholes: Jose Mourinho's attempt to influence football's decision-makers is not working. In fact, it may have backfired
It's time to stop the 'small club' jibes after Chelsea signed £200m Yokohama deal
After record-breaking £5.136bn Premier League TV deal, why are Everton the only British club to win in Europe?
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...