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Cutting Forest down to size

24 November 2015

Three recent wins against the Tricky Trees

Our meetings with Saturday’s hosts Nottingham Forest have varied wildly between mundane and the spectacular down the years.

The first ever meetings between the sides probably pronounce this fact as well as any other.  Drawn against each other in the 1902/03 FA Cup, a goalless draw at the City Ground forced a replay five days later at Elm Park, in which the visitors came out 6-3 winners in a goal-laden game.

We have had some more memorable wins against Forest in recent times – here is a recap of the last three times that we’ve secured wins at the expense of the East Midlands club…

Nottingham Forest 2-3 Reading
Friday 29th November 2013

The Royals got off to a flyer at against their hosts early in the 2013/14 season – the game was only eight minutes old when Pavel Pogrebnyak turned in Garath McCleary’s cross from close range, and five minutes after that Danny Guthrie swung in a corner for Kaspars Gorkss to meet with a diving header and double the score.  But some familiar faces gave Forest a lifeline, as Jamie Mackie squared for Simon Cox to slide in and reduce the deficit.

And after the break, Cox was provider as Forest levelled on the hour – he laid in Darius Henderson to fire in.  But there was another couple of twists left – as the hosts continued to push to try and complete the turnaround, Jordan Obita struck with power for what turned out to be the winner for Reading.  Chris Gunter’s dismissal for picking up two yellows against his old club ultimately didn’t cost any points.

Reading 1-0 Nottingham Forest
Tuesday 17th April 2012

Less of goal-studded affair this time, this one was no less important.  In the hunt to secure promotion going into the final three games, the evening fixture looked like it might peter out into a goalless draw.  Reading, going into the game on the back of five straight wins in the league, were being frustrated by a Forest rearguard which was being well-marshalled by Chris Gunter and his colleagues.

However the news filtered through that West Ham – who had kicked off against Bristol City at 7.45pm – had been held to a 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate.  And no sooner was the news reverberating around Madejski Stadium that a win would secure promotion, than Mikele Leigertwood snaffled up a rebound after Ian Harte’s free-kick wasn’t cleared.  Forest were keen to keep the Royals’ champagne on ice for the moment, but Marcus Tudgay had a header cleared off the line by Alex Pearce before being denied on the follow-up by Adam Federici.  And with the final whistle came exuberance of promotion to the top tier.

Nottingham Forest 3-4 Reading
Saturday 9th April 2011

On a day of Championship football which saw 49 goals scored across 12 games – only Portsmouth and Preston’s 1-1 draw had less than three goals – the pick of the bunch was a topsy-turvy encounter at the City Ground against a Forest side which included current Royals Garath McCleary and Chris Gunter.

In trademark fashion, a pinpoint-accurate free-kick from Ian Harte gave the Royals the advantage.  However Kris Boyd accepted the invitation to fire level from 12 yards when Lewis McGugan was tripped in the box by Mikele Leigertwood.  After the break, a clinical finish from Rob Earnshaw put Forest ahead for the first time – a home win would have brought the Reds onto the same points tally as Reading in the race for promotion.

Jem Karacan got Reading back on level terms from Harte’s corner, heading in from the edge of the area, and Jimmy Kebe mopped up when Zurab Khizanishvili’s shot was blocked to turn the match on its head again.  Two minutes from time, Hal Robson-Kanu tripped Gunter in the Royals box to allow McGugan to fire the sides level once again from the spot – and then Luke Chambers inadvertently turned into his net in stoppage time as the Royals pinched the points.  There was still drama to come, as Chambers handled in the area and goalie Lee Camp saved Shane Long’s penalty shot, but it ended 4-3 in Reading’s favour.

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