The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Tim Ever­shed

NOT­TING­HAM FOR­EST boss Dougie Freedman says the fans’ pa­tience was re­warded af­ter over­turn­ing an early deficit to register a first win of the sea­son – leav­ing Rother­ham prop­ping up the Cham­pi­onship ta­ble.

The home side strug­gled early on con­ced­ing to old boy Danny Collins be­fore lev­el­ling deep in first-half stop­page time through new boy Matt Mills.

Then Michail An­to­nio slammed the ball home from close range for the cru­cial goal as he took ad­van­tage of the con­fu­sion in the visi­tors’ goal.

Rother­ham keeper Kelle Roos hes­i­tated and al­lowed Chris Burke’s cross to re­bound off the bar to An­to­nio.

Freedman said: “I’m re­ally pleased for the fans, they stuck with us.

“Af­ter a good start once we had a set­back but we played a style of play I like to adopt.

“We kept on pass­ing the ball, we kept on prob­ing even­tu­ally the out­come was the right re­sult.

“There were two good things about the per­for­mance.

“Firstly the crowd stuck with us when we were build­ing up pa­tiently they un­der­stood what we were try­ing to do.

“Se­condly the play­ers per­formed at cru­cial times on the pitch.

“The at­ti­tude of the play­ers re­spond­ing to a set­back and the qual­ity we showed was great.

“There are go­ing to be risks in the way we play but there are re­wards there too.”

The scores were level at the break af­ter For­est cen­tre-half Mills, who fol­lowed Freedman to the City Ground from Bolton in the sum­mer, equalised with the fi­nal act of the first half.

The de­fender stayed up front when United failed to clear a cor­ner and got his re­ward as he rose head and shoul­ders above the de­fence to head home from Jamie Ward’s cross.

The goal came deep into first-half stop­page time, much to the cha­grin of the com­bustible Millers boss Steve Evans.

Evans and his as­sis­tant Paul Raynor had spent much of the match hec­tor­ing both the match of­fi­cials and op­po­si­tion – Raynor even go­ing so far as to phys­i­cally block Ward as the For­est at­tacker tried to re­trieve the ball for a quick throw-in.

Even Rother­ham’s early dom­i­nance, dur­ing which they took the lead, was not enough to ap­pease the man­age­rial duo. Aside from Ward’s first-minute ef­fort, which Rother­ham keeper Roos dealt with at the sec­ond at­tempt, the visi­tors started much the bet­ter.

And they took the lead af­ter 13 min­utes when For­est al­lowed Collins the free­dom of the six-yard box.The cen­tre-half pow­er­ing a header home from Joe Newell’s cor­ner.

For­est grad­u­ally be­gan to get a grip on the match and thought they had equalised when Tyler Walker turned in Burke’s pass only to be flagged off­side. An­to­nio then tested Roos when he let fly from dis­tance as the Millers hung on.

The visi­tors had a good shout for a penalty turned down af­ter the restart when Jor­dan Bow­ery’s shot ap­peared to strike Eric Lichaj’s hand on the line and Evans was not crit­i­cal of his side.

“Our per­for­mance was ex­cel­lent all over the pitch lots of energy and the play­ers giv­ing some out­stand­ing per­for­mances. We were harshly let down by the of­fi­cials but we can’t give that as a rea­son,” he said.

“They’ve taken two chances and per­haps we could’ve de­fended bet­ter on the sec­ond goal.

“The first goal came from a cor­ner af­ter they knocked it out of play and the as­sis­tant ref­eree 90 yards away gives it.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing when you put so much into an af­ter­noon to be let down like that but if we play like that most weeks we’ll win a lot of points in the Cham­pi­onship, that’s for sure.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

SIDE-FOOT: Not­ting­ham For­est's Michail An­to­nio scores



IO Nottm


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