Date: 21 April 2007
With a pleasant session in the Vat and Fiddle before the game, and arguably an even more pleasant session in the Stratford Haven afterwards, our trip to Nottingham was, as always, a good day out. With other results around the country going our way (and, ironically, not going Forest’s way) we had the last laugh. One can therefore almost conveniently forget the 3-0 score line which was, after all, not very different from what you’d expect considering the teams’ respective league positions.
Most people after the game were repeating the inevitable cliché that the match turned on the sending-off. This conceals the fact that we played very well with ten men and had some of our best scoring chances after Young’s dismissal (through Vokes, Purches and McGoldrick - not to mention a Pitman shot that actually found the back of the net but was ruled offside). It also conveniently ignores the fact that the sending-off was deserved. Every Bournemouth fan took a sharp intake of breath as Young cut into the advancing Forest player at knee height. We knew what was coming, and could only reflect that Young - one of our most experienced players and with a long history of sendings-off - should have known better. The subsequent mutterings about “not the last man” or “the referee wouldn’t have done this if it had been the home team” were therefore irrelevant. So, off went Young; but at this point we were only 0-1 down. Vokes saw a couple of shots go over the bar - one either side of the sending-off - either of which could have made quite a difference to the end result.
Bournemouth had started brightly, despite two enforced changes to the previous week’s line-up. The unfit Anderton had been numerically replaced by Vokes - with McGoldrick moving back into midfield. (This resulted, effectively, in us having four strikers on the pitch and demonstrating that we were really willing to make a game of it.) The other substitution - Stewart for Moss - only occurred during the warm-up, but had no detrimental effect on the team. Stewart made a number of excellent saves, especially when one-on-one with a Forest attacker, and could not be blamed for the first two Forest goals.
The first of Kris Commons’ goals came about half an hour into the match, and was fired from such a distance that it left Stewart standing with a dazed expression that seemed to say, “Where did that come from?” Commons’ second goal early in the second period, while not quite as cleanly shot (it went in off the underside of the bar) was nonetheless from a similar distance to the first, and equally unstoppable. The third Forest goal later in the second half could arguably have been saved, had not Stewart and his defenders all surrounded the near post, enabling the Forest player to shoot towards the far post.
Inevitably both sets of fans were trying to keep an eye on results elsewhere. For us, trying to avoid relegation, the defeat of some of our nearest rivals eventually left us in a safer position than at the start of play. But for Forest, four points behind Bristol City chasing the second automatic promotion place, the latter’s win left them further adrift than ever.
The starting line-up (with my scores out of ten) was :
Purches (7), Young (6), Gowling (8), Cummings (7);
Hayter (8), Wilson (7), McGoldrick (8), Summerfield (6);
Vokes (7), Fletcher (6).