Scunthorpe United v Nottingham Forest

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Football League Championship

Scunthorpe United1(1)Nottingham Forest0(0)

Dagnall 19

Scunthorpe United :
Lillis, Gordon, Nelson, Nolan (A.Wright 72), Reid, Togwell, Hughes, J.Wright, Duffy (Raynes 68), Dagnall (Grant 79), Miller.
Subs not used:
Slocombe, Collins, Ibrahaim, Godden.

Nottingham Forest :
Camp, Konchesky, Chambers, Morgan, Gunter, McGugan (McGoldrick 66), Cohen, McKenna, Earnshaw (McCleary 79), Tyson (Adebola 66), Tudgay.
Subs not used:
Smith, Maloney, Lynch, Anderson.


by Nottingham Evening Post at Glanford Park

ON an evening when two sides had very different motivations for needing three points, promotion-chasing Nottingham Forest saw their unbeaten run brought to an end by struggling Scunthorpe.

A solitary strike from Chris Dagnall was enough to secure only a second home win of the season for Ian Baraclough's Iron, as Forest saw the chance to take back second place slip from their grasp.

Despite dominating for long periods, the visitors could not come to terms with a playing surface that made their normal brand of passing football next to impossible.

And it was former Notts County player Baraclough who saw his team claim a vital success, as they look to ensure they do not exit the Championship at the opposite end.

Everything prior to kick-off pointed to a Forest win, with the visitors arriving on the back of a ten-match unbeaten run and Scunthorpe having lost 11 of their previous 13 outings, leading to a steady slide down the table.

Billy Davies' side had rather more lofty ambitions, knowing that victory would lift them back into the automatic promotion places.

But, once the game kicked-off, it became clear that the rutted playing surface would prove to be something of an influence, with the opening ten minutes a disjointed, stuttering affair.

Of the Scunthorpe starting XI, only Dagnall, the striker recalled to the side because on loan Forest man Joe Garner was not allowed to play against his own team, had even found the net for the Iron this season.

And evidence of why was provided in the fifth minute as skipper Sam Togwell, when presented with the chance to test Lee Camp from distance, scuffed a low shot well wide of the target.

Dagnall offered a reminder of his threat when he flicked a header narrowly over the bar.

But it was Forest, who had edged possession without creating a real opening, who then spurned two golden opportunities in the space of a minute.

When a clever flick from Marcus Tudgay from a Lewis McGugan free-kick was only half cleared, Nathan Tyson had the goal at his mercy from 12 yards but slotted his shot a foot wide of the upright.

Robert Earnshaw was then guilty of missing the target with a header, with the striker left holding his head in his hands after failing to connect properly with the ball from close range.

And they proved to be significant moments of profligacy as the home side took the lead with their next foray into the Forest half.

Mark Duffy did well to pick out the angled run of Lee Miller, who made full use of the space he found himself in on the right, to fire the ball across goal towards the far post, where Dagnall was arriving to bundle home his seventh goal of the campaign in the 19th minute as Chris Gunter challenged.

A stunned Forest could have conceded an immediate second, if not for the alertness of Camp, who plunged low to his right at full stretch to pounce on a strike from Josh Wright.

Forest steadily fought their way back into the game but, again, without putting the Scunthorpe goal under pressure.

Tyson lengthened his stride to power down the left flank to the byline but, while his cross pin-balled around in the box, it did not fall to the feet of a Forest player.

When Forest probed down the same flank again, this time through Cohen, a pass was squeezed through to Earnshaw, who saw his bending strike deflected for a corner.

The Reds were building a spell of pressure. But, when the ball broke to the normally deadly McGugan on the edge of the box, he lifted his shot high into the stand.

McGugan's touch was rather better when he swivelled on the left to deliver a cross into the centre for Earnshaw to plant a firm header that Josh Lillis clutched gratefully to his chest.

But the half-time whistle was to blow with Forest behind, as they struggled to find a cutting edge where it mattered.

Within two minutes of the restart, Forest were looking more dangerous, with McGugan launching himself into a mazy run that saw him skip two challenges before fizzing the ball across the face of goal.

Cohen, advancing from the centre of midfield, forced Lillis to scamper across goal with a driven shot.

And, when a flurry of passes helped Forest switch the ball from left to right, McGugan swept another wild effort into the visiting supporters behind the goal.

At this stage, dominant Forest had mustered eight attempts on goal, which was twice the number of their hosts.

When the Reds' ninth effort came, it perfectly summed up their evening as McKenna sent a dipping volley wide.

And Scunthorpe continued to look more dangerous from their limited openings, with Dagnall sending another header looping close, clearing the woodwork over the angle of post and bar with Camp seemingly beaten.

Michael Nelson then produced an outstanding challenge to deny Forest when it seemed Earnshaw had broken clear down the centre.

Lillis made the best save of the match so far as Tudgay connected crisply with a half-volley that stung the keeper's hands.

With 66 minutes gone, Forest made a double change, with two strikers, in the form of Dele Adebola and David McGoldrick, brought on for McGugan and Tyson.

It left the visitors with a hugely attacking outlook, as they began to mimic the more direct approach favoured by the home side.

There was no little craft involved when Forest came their closest yet to an equaliser, with McKenna feeding Gunter on the overlap and the full-back looping a cross to the far post where Adebola rose to plant a header that, perhaps with the aid of a slight touch from Lillis, bounced back off the bar.

Forest flung on another forward player off the bench, with Garath McCleary replacing the tiring Earnshaw.

Their cause was not helped when referee Mick Russell stopped play when Forest were on the attack, to pull the ball back for a free-kick on the edge of their own box, with more time wasted as the match official lectured Gunter, Chambers and McKenna for complaining too much.

A flowing move saw Cohen lope into the box on the overlap but his shot was a tired effort which narrowly cleared the bar.

Despite a late tide of pressure in which even Camp joined the Forest attack, they were not able to make the breakthrough as Scunthorpe held on.