‘Nervous’ Forest flunk it again
STUART Pearce admitted a timid first-half performance left his Nottingham Forest side with too much to do as they took only a point against injury-hit Charlton Athletic at the City Ground, despite a dominant display after the break.
Bob Peeters’ Addicks quickly capitalised on Forest’s nervy start, with Callum Harriott giving them the lead in the tenth minute with a low shot from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Charlton could have gone in at half-time with a two-goal lead after Harriott broke down the right to centre for Igor Vetokele in the 34th minute, only for the Angolan forward to see his header well saved by Karl Darlow.
Pearce’s men rarely troubled understudy Nick Pope in the Charlton goal, and looked blunt in the absence of suspended top goalscorer, the dangerous Britt Assombalonga, with his deputy Matty Fryatt struggling to get into the game.
But Pearce’s half-time changes saw Forest come back to take a point, with Robert Tesche coming on in place of Henri Lansbury and firing home a fine equaliser from 20 yards just before the hour.
“It was an awful first half performance, there’s no doubt about that,” Pearce admitted.
“I think there’s a little bit of nervousness in the camp for whatever reason.
“There’s that little bit of devilment during the week in some of the things they show me in training, but in some ways that is irrelevant. They have to show me on match days.That’s when the big men step up.
“Second half we came out and we were a total contrast as a team. I thought we got on the front foot, we dominated the game, and as I sit here I’m thinking I’ve lost two points.
“If we’d have played that way from the outset, we would have won the game, maybe comfortably.”
Forest dominated after halftime with Charlton struggling for possession.
But despite Tesche’s equaliser, it was the visitors who had the best chance to win the match, with Harriott thwarted by Darlow when Vetokele played him through on goal three minutes after the German midfielder had drawn Forest level.
Peeters, meanwhile, admitted that Charlton had to be happy to take a point from the City Ground.
However, the Belgian manager also felt that the Addicks could have travelled back to London with all three had they made more of their clear chances on the counter.
“I think if we score that goal with Vetokele in the first half, it would have been a different game,” Peeters said.
“As long as it stays 1-0, especially with a very lively home crowd, you know they’re going to apply a lot of pressure.
“But we didn’t give away a lot of chances. I don’t think their goal was a chance, but it was a top, top finish from 20 yards, and you can only say ‘well done’ when they score a goal like that.
“Then we got a chance again, with Callum one-on-one with the goalkeeper. If he puts that away, it’s 2-1 and I think the game is finished.
“But again, when you come away at Nottingham Forest and play a very good team with a very good home reputation, overall maybe you need to be happy with a point.”
LETTING LOOSE: Callum Harriott fires Charlton Athletic into the lead at the City Ground
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