FREED­MAN RUN­NING OUT OF TIME

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Alex Crook

DOUGIE Freed­man has warned Not­ting­ham For­est fans their re­ju­ve­nated side may not have enough games left to reach the play-offs.

Goals from Ben Os­born, Matty Fry­att and Gary Gard­ner gave the Scot his fifth win in six games since tak­ing charge at the City Ground, but Freed­man played down their chances of gate­crash­ing the top six.

In-form For­est are now ninth in the Cham­pi­onship, nine points away from a play-off place with 12 games re­main­ing.

And hard-to-please Freed­man praised the hard work his team have put in on the train­ing ground, but felt they could have been bet­ter at the Made­jski Sta­dium.

The for­mer Crys­tal Palace and Bolton manager said: “I can con­trol a lot of things, how we train and play, but I can’t con­trol the teams above us and they keep win­ning their games.

“All we can do is keep per­form­ing, but I can’t con­trol what they’re do­ing above us and I’m go­ing to run out of games.

“It’s hard work and or­gan­i­sa­tion on the train­ing ground that won us this game.

“I thought in the first 25 min­utes we con­trolled the game with our pass­ing.

“In the last 15 min­utes of the first half, we were by far the sec­ond best team.

“We had to de­fend for our lives, put our bod­ies on the line and keep the ball out the back of our net.”

Read­ing should have gone in at half-time ahead, with For­est old boy Simon Cox miss­ing two ex­cel­lent chances and Garath McCleary hav­ing a shot cleared off the line by Ja­maal Las­celles.

Pavel Po­greb­nyak could have bro­ken the dead­lock in the 48th minute, but he was only able to fire his shot into the side netting from Nathaniel Chalobah’s cross.

Af­ter giv­ing up the bet­ter chances to Read­ing, For­est took the lead in the 56th minute through Os­born, whose well-struck left­footed curl­ing ef­fort from 30 yards flew over goal­keeper Adam Fed­erici’s head and in to the top-right cor­ner.

Fry­att dou­bled For­est’s lead in the 70th minute as he re­ceived the ball from Michail An­to­nio and lashed home a left-footed shot from six yards.

And sub­sti­tute Gard­ner com­pleted the win ten min­utes from time, hav­ing been on the pitch for just three min­utes, drilling a shot from 35 yards in off the un­der­side of the cross­bar to add an ex­cla­ma­tion point on the re­sult.

Roy­als boss Steve Clarke felt his side were the bet­ter of the two in the first half, but in­sists they must start con­vert­ing their chances if they are to avoid the drop.

Clarke said: “I thought first half we were re­ally good, it was as well as we’ve played for a long time.We cre­ated two re­ally good chances to score didn’t take them and suf­fered for it in the sec­ond half.

“We have to try and build on the first-half per­for­mance and take the chances we cre­ate. We don’t cre­ate chances in a great num­ber so we have to make sure we’re more clin­i­cal.”

Cox has failed to find the net in his last ten ap­pear­ances for Read­ing, but Clarke is con­fi­dent his striker will soon re­dis­cover his early sea­son form.

Clarke con­tin­ued: “Some­times strik­ers are in form and some­times strik­ers are out of form. Simon looked danger­ous in the first half of the sea­son. He was a threat.

“When I came in he looked lively and scored a re­ally good goal here in one of my first games in charge.

“He’s a goal scorer and even­tu­ally he’ll start scor­ing again.

“If he’s feel­ing the pres­sure then he shouldn’t.

“He’s an ex­pe­ri­enced goal scorer who knows the goals will come.”

PIC­TURE: Me­dia Im­age

FOR­EST FRYER: Matthew Fry­att makes it 0-2. Inset: Ben Os­born cel­e­brates his open­ing goal

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