FREEDMAN RUNNING OUT OF TIME
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.”
FOREST FRYER: Matthew Fryatt makes it 0-2. Inset: Ben Osborn celebrates his opening goal