On my way to the City Ground I felt like this would be a great game and it definitely turned out that way. These two sides are both involved in the Championship relegation battle and again this was a six-pointer for both sides.
Forest wanted to bounce back from a poor loss to relegation candidates Doncaster, whereas Millwall wanted to push on and get some real form going after their 3-0 win against Peterborough.
Forest again lined up with a 4-4-2 position but changes were made with Danny Higginbotham coming back into the side after a recent injury. Marcus Tudgay came back into the squad for Robbie Findley and Andy Reid started over Scott Wootton, with Chris Gunter moving back to his more familiar position of right back.
Forest started the game well going forward with Gareth McCleary getting involved as well as Reid. The hosts had an early chance to get the ball into the box with a Reid free kick but it was cleared easily by Millwall.
Millwall’s first shot was a poor one which went out for a throw-in much to delight of the Forest fans who couldn’t stop laughing. Minutes later the Forest fans’ laughs nearly turned to tears when James Henry hit the post from the edge of the box, the ball then hit Camp and was cleared much to the relief of Northern Ireland’s number one. Millwall were showing more threat going forwards and were unlucky not to open the scoring when Andy Keogh skied it from 8 yards out.
The first real shot for Forest was a header from Dexter Blackstock, after Guedioura knocked a quality ball into the box Blackstock headed just wide. Forest were showing more flair going forward and McCleary had a shot which hit Reid and went just wide, much to the relief of Forde who was in no-mans land.
The in-form winger McCleary then opened the scoring with a close range header after a cracking ball in from Reid.
The first yellow card was for Millwall after a poor challenge by Henry on Chris Gunter. 6 minutes later Reid, who had been involved a lot throughout the game, had another opportunity to get the ball into the box after Abdou conceded a silly foul. The ball was played into the box and cleared towards the back post and to everyone’s surprise Higginbotham smashed it into the bottom corner on the volley as if he was a striker, with a quality finish.
Soon after the goal Millwall had a penalty appeal turned down after McCleary brushed the Millwall winger. Millwall continued to put Forest under pressure and Henry had a great shot on the volley tipped against the cross bar by Lee Camp. The half-time whistle came and the cheers were very loud, I can’t remember them being that loud since the Billy Davies era.
Millwall made a statement of intent when they brought Josh Wright on for Liam Trotter, Wright had recently wowed Lions fans with a magnificent strike against Burnley. Millwall started well and had a Hameur Bouazza free-kick saved by Camp early on.
Forest again were going well forward and Gunter put in a great ball which was narrowly missed by Blackstock. The atmosphere was one of the best I had heard for a very long time, but when Darius Henderson, who had only been on for 4 minutes, headed in a rebound from a good shot.
I could feel the nervousness brewing around the ground, but Millwall didn’t crack on and risk conceding another goal by applying more pressure and not much happened for a prolonged period much to the delight of the Forest fans.
But soon enough Forest killed off the game with the first real shot for a good 15 minutes. Reid smashed the ball in from 30 yards on his left foot right into the top corner, for the best goal I have seen at the City Ground since McGugan’s amazing free kick. After Forest got their third Millwall started going forward well and had a good header which just went over the bar but the third goal really killed the game off.
A great victory for The Reds, which was only our fifth home victory all season. My man of the match was the ‘Irish Messi’ Andy Reid, who was spectacular and showed why he should start games more frequently. Also I felt Higginbotham was brilliant, he was composed at the back and seemed to put confidence into Chambers and of course you can’t forget his volley!
Forest: Camp, Gunter, Higginbotham, Chambers, Cunningham, McCleary, Moussi, Guedioura, Reid (Lynch, 90+3), Blackstock (Miller 90+4), Tudgay (Wootton 90). Unused subs: Smith, McGugan.
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Robinson, Trotter (Wright 46), Bouazza, Barron (Smith 78), Henry, Ward, Keogh, Abdou, Kane (Henderson 60). Unused subs: Allsop, Feeney.