Roy runs free for Forest

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The Independent Online
By Stan Hey

Southampton 3

Le Tissier 10 pen, 69 pen, 81

Nottingham Forest 4

Cooper 8, Woan 36, Roy 42, 79

Attendance: 15,164

AFTER all the frenzy over the summer's transfer binge, it was two of last season's stars who dominated this match, with Matthew Le Tissier outscoring Bryan Roy by three goals to two, but still finishing on the losing side. Le Tissier's hat-trick was constructed from two penalties and a free-kick - all from fouls on himself - which said something about the solitary nature of Southampton's challenge to a slick Forest side.

In fairness Southampton never lost their spirit of defiance - and they will need that throughout this season - but they never took control of the game thanks to Forest's fluent passing and movement off the ball.

With the Italian signing Andrea Silenzi ruled out by injury, and Chris Bart-Williams not even on the substitute's bench, Forest were much as they were last season, with Kevin Campbell slotting into the gap left by Stan Collymore's departure. Campbell's selfless running and physical threat gave ample space for Roy, and their relationship looks full of goal potential.

But it was a defender who struck first for Forest, their centre-half Colin Cooper thundering home a 35-yard free-kick. Southampton replied immediately, although it needed Le Tissier's dramatic fall under Steve Chettle's challenge to win the penalty.

Despite the 90-degree heat, both teams attacked at pace throughout the first half and Southampton might well have taken the lead, before Ian Woan's opportunist strike gave Forest the edge. Then, just before half- time, Campbell shrugged off Kenneth Monkou's challenge and unselfishly set up Roy, via Woan's flick, for Forest's third.

However, the determination that Southampton summoned to survive relegation was soon in evidence. Cooper needed a stretch to clear Monkou's header from a corner and Richard Hall's flashed another header just wide. Forest should have finished the game off just after the hour when Steve Stone ran in on Woan's cross but managed to head wide from five yards out.

The miss inspired Southampton - Le Tissier's run into the box was ended by Lars Bohinen's sprawling challenge and resulting penalty set up a frantic last 20 minutes. Forest chose attack as the best form of defence and they were rewarded as Campbell's flick sent in Woan and Roy, looking a fraction offside, turned home the cross. Southampton's last act of defiance inevitably came from Le Tissier who powered home a 25-yard drive to get them close, but not close enough.