VLAD SAVES

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Lee Clarke

THEY MAY have kept the score down but Philippe Mon­tanier ad­mits his de­fence re­mains a worry as Not­ting­ham For­est failed to build on a first half full of prom­ise.

For­est saw their 100 per cent home record go up in flames af­ter a mas­ter­ful sec­ond-half dis­play from the Ca­naries, who moved into sec­ond in the Cham­pi­onship.

In two of their three other home games in the league this sea­son, Mon­tanier’s men eked out 4-3 wins – which goes some way to ex­plain­ing why their goals against col­umn stands at a jointsec­ond worst 17.

And Mon­tanier says it could have been ugly here if not for the ef­forts of goal­keeper Vladimir Sto­jkovic, who also saved a firsthalf penalty.

He said: “It is im­por­tant that we learn how to play a full game and not for just one half. We had a good re­ac­tion to the penalty and got the lead but we have to play un­til the end.

“Our sec­ond-half per­for­mance was dis­ap­point­ing and it wasn’t good enough to earn us any­thing against a side like Nor­wich City, who were re­cently in the Premier League.

“It’s not al­ways a good sign when your goal­keeper makes a lot of saves but you have to make them when they are needed.

“It is now im­por­tant that, as a team, we learn to pro­tect him a lit­tle more of­ten than we did.”

In the other camp, Ca­naries boss Alex Neil lav­ished praise upon Gra­ham Dor­rans who set­tled the game with a su­perb 20-yard strike.

He said: “I thought he was out­stand­ing. There are very few mid­field­ers in this league that can get you mov­ing for­wards by play­ing be­tween the lines and also break up play suf­fi­ciently when we have to de­fend.”

It was the vis­i­tors who raced out of the blocks quicker in the first half, with Wes Hoola­han and Jonny How­son test­ing Sto­jkovic.

For­est soon got into their stride though and Hilde­berto Pereira was a con­stant threat. His cush­ioned ball to Mustapha Carayol saw the ex-Mid­dles­brough man slot an invit­ing cross into the path of Apos­to­los Vel­lios, who was inches away from a goal.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

HOW ABOUT THAT? Jonny How­son cel­e­brates scor­ing Nor­wich’s first goal and, inset, his strike

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