REID ALL ABOUT IT
Forest go top as Andy proves handy
INSIDE: WARNOCK: Deeney shows gulf in class
WESTLEY: Contracts not there to break
DUNLAVY: Oscar is aiming high at Brighton
THREE games. Nine points. Five goals scored. None conceded, and millions in the bank. The lean years are definitely over for Nottingham Forest.
This was a performance that will send a shudder through the Championship, so complete was the destruction of muchfancied Bolton.
And those clinging to the hope that money doesn’t equal success may need a new straw to clutch at after a silk-smooth home debut for £2.5m centreback Kelvin Wilson and a first goal in 25 games for £1m striker Jamie Mackie.
Two more from Andy Reid and Henri Lansbury sent Forest top of the Championship and according to Dougie Freeman, another couple of players will be enough to keep them there.
“I think Forest are probably two players away from being a top-two side,” said the beaten Bolton boss.“Billy’s got a great team and with the crowd here things often go their way. Jamie Mackie’s a fantastic player, Andy Reid has great quality. Not many teams will get a result here.”
Davies concurred, though not with the numbers.“I would say three,” he said. “If we can get another three players in then, barring injury and suspension, we should challenge at the top end.
“I’m looking middle to front. We’ve got good competition at the back, excellent competition in goal. Dorus Di Vries is a very good goalkeeper and he isn’t even getting a game. But in the midfield area and up front, I think we could be stronger.
“But let’s not kid ourselves. There’s still 73, 76 points to get if we want to win promotion.This was a big test against a big club with a huge wage bill and I’m delighted with the result. But there’s a lot of work to be done.”
In the future, yes. But today, Forest’s best work took all of two minutes. Though their bodies were on the pitch, Bolton brains were still in the dressing room when Mackie gave Forest the lead.
The striker seared between a snoozing Alex Baptiste and Zat Knight to collect Raddy Majewski’s immaculate through ball, then whipped a crisp finish beyond Adam Bogdan into the far corner.
It was an effort that reflected two years in the Premier League and showed just why Forest were happy to hand QPR £1m for the former Plymouth man.
“He is what he is,” added Davies. “The fans take to him because he earns every penny he gets. His work-rate is second to none. His attitude is second to none. He’s a great player in the dressing room and it’s nice to have him.”
Of course, £1m is small change to the Kuwaiti-backed Trentsiders these days. Yet for all their riches, it was the old hands who really shone.
Majewski was unplayable in a free role, pulling back for Andy Reid to make it two before makeshift striker Greg Halford – who has played in almost every position for Forest – capped a hugely impressive display by crossing for Henri Lansbury to head home.
In between, Bolton’s Darren Pratley collected a second yellow for striking Chris Cohen with a stray arm, effectively ending the Trotters’ afternoon.
The visitors did briefly spark into life with a 20-minute period in the first half when Craig Davies nodded wide and David Wheater hit the bar with a header, albeit from an offside position.
But the stark fact is that Karl Darlow in the Forest goal didn’t dirty his gloves until the 80th minute.
“Right from the off, we tried to slow the game down a little bit,” said Freedman, who was missing striker David N’Gog and midfielder Chris Eagles through injury.
“But looking back, I think that gave Nottingham Forest a lot of confidence in the first 15 minutes. That is something we’ve got to look at.
“We tried to make a little change but at 2-0 down with ten men, it’s always going to be difficult.
“But they didn’t give in, they didn’t chuck it. It’s not going to make any headlines but it makes me feel a lot better about my players.”
TWO OF THE BEST: Forest’s Andy Reid, right, celebrates with fellow scorer Jamie Mackie during the 3-0 win over Bolton
KARL DARLOW Nearly punished for second-half flap but didn’t have a save to make
8 Beat men, surged forward and crossed accurately. The right-back had a blinder
7 Stroll in the park for former Hull man. Never turned, got his head to everything
8 Marshalled Davies like a cat with a mouse. Imperious on City Ground return
7 Never gave dangerman Lee an inch of space. Assured display from the skipper
6 Over-elaboration riled the crowd. Lost the ball too often, let frustration show
7 Quietly effective before bursting forward to net a bullet header. Got stuck in
7 Fine finish and quality on ball. Lucky not to see red for nasty challenge on Medo
8 Ball for Mackie destroyed Bolton defence, set up second too. Fantastic
7 Unlucky to hit the post with a difficult chance, set up Lansbury with beautifully
JAMIE MACKIE Lovely finish and too much pace for Baptiste. Bust a gut for his side
SUBSTITUTES DERBYSHIRE 6; FOR MACKIE (76) MILLER 6; FOR HALFORD (81) ABDOUN N/A; FOR LANSBURY (85) NOT USED: HARDING, COLLINS, PATERSON, DE VRIES
6 Did everything right but beaten by two super finishes. Distribution erratic
6 Partly at fault for the opener, his bursts up the right created a string of openings
6 Allowed Mackie inside him for the first. Generally sound and held line well
7 Generally got the better of Mackie in the air. Solid, blameless for the goals
6 Best player in the first half with combative display but tired after the break
6 Charged around but never able to halt the red shirts swarming through midfield
6 Booked for thunderous early tackle and never looked the same
5 Spent the first half falling over, then got a second yellow for a daft challenge
5 Bustled out of it by Forest. Barely had a touch of note wide on the right
5 Found space but often wasteful on the ball. Set-pieces caused problems
5 Got absolutely nothing out of Wilson. Headed only decent chance wide of goal
SUBSTITUTES BECKFORD 5; FOR DAVIES (57) ODELUSI 5; FOR HALL (57) NOT USED: LONERGAN, MORITZ, REAM, MEARS, EAVES
LEAN ON ME: Bolton’s Alex Baptiste and Forest’s Greg Halford
REID MY FACE: Nottingham Forest’s Andy Reid celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates. Right: Forest’s Jamie Mackie celebrates scoring their first goal with Reid