For­est see dou­ble red in Karanka hang­over

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! - By ROB BAR­LOW By Tony Sten­son

SI­MON IRE­LAND felt Not­ting­ham For­est tried too hard to put the de­par­ture of Ai­tor Karanka be­hind them.

A tur­bu­lent 24 hours at the City Ground ended with For­est de­feated – and Daniel Fox and Ten­dayi Darikwa see­ing red.

Victory was the first for the Roy­als since early Novem­ber but For­est care­taker-boss Ire­land felt his side were too wound up.

He said: “It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble for the last 24 hours not to have had an ef­fect on the play­ers.

“They didn’t want it to, they’ve been fan­tas­tic. They’ve tried to put it be­hind them the best they can.

“At times you al­most got an overex­u­ber­ance – they tried to al­most do things that they wouldn’t nor­mally do just to put things be­hind them.

“I’d like to take this op­por­tu­nity to apol­o­gise to the sup­port­ers, they don’t want to see a For­est side go down to nine men.”

Read­ing took the lead af­ter

23 min­utes. Mo Bar­row found space down the right to find John Swift in the penalty area and he con­nected first time to fire his shot past keeper Cos­tel Pan­til­imon.

For­est found their task get­ting even harder af­ter the hour mark when skip­per Fox was dis­missed af­ter be­ing shown a sec­ond yel­low card.

And the vis­i­tors went down to nine men af­ter Darikwa lunged into Danny Loader.

The day ended even more wretch­edly for For­est when Jack Robin­son put an

87th-minute Andy Yi­adom cross into his own net.

Victory ended a run of 10 win­less games for Read­ing and boss Jose Gomes wants more of the same.

He said: “It was a very im­por­tant three points. We need to catch with both hands the things we did.

“The in­tel­li­gent way we started play­ing this match, the way we pressed, the way we re­cov­ered the ball.

“We played more beau­ti­ful foot­ball against Manch­ester United last week than to­day.

“We must be clin­i­cal at the right mo­ment and in the fu­ture we must play like that.

“If you have 70 per cent of pos­ses­sion and you don’t shoot, you don’t score.”

WAT­FORD duly paid trib­ute to the man who turned them from a hum­ble to a house­hold name.

Two years to the day for­mer man­ager, leg­end, club builder and dream-maker Gra­ham Tay­lor died they showed the type of spirit he once in­stilled.

No one more so than Craig Cath­cart, whose own goal put Palace ahead and who then headed Wat­ford’s equaliser at a time when they were un­der the cosh.

Wat­ford boss Javi Gra­cia said: “He is a fighter and no won­der he has played so many min­utes for this club. I trust him be­cause he al­ways shows a high level of com­mit­ment.

“This is prob­a­bly one of the most sat­is­fy­ing wins of my ca­reer. We have al­ways given ex­tra, par­tic­uarly away from home and our men­tal­ity is al­ways to do our best.”

Palace boss Roy Hodg­son said: “If you want to win games you have to take your chances. We didn’t.

“This is tough to take, tougher when you’ve been in front and for long pe­ri­ods been the best side.

“I did not know Gra­ham well but he would have been proud of Wat­ford to­day. He was a foot­ball icon and is greatly missed.”

Wat­ford hit the same post in suc­ces­sive sec­onds within the first three min­utes. Ger­ard Deulofeu drilled in a de­cent ef­fort from 15 yards and Roberto Pereyra hit his fol­low-up at vir­tu­ally the same spot.

Palace took the lead in the 38th minute. It was easy to lose count of the num­ber of play­ers try­ing to hack away Luka Milivo­je­vic’s corner.

The farce was even­tu­ally com­plete as Ab­doulaye Doucoure at­tempted to clear, only for the ball to smack into Cath­cart and cross the line.

There was more drama when Palace keeper Vi­cente Guaita went off in­jured min­utes be­fore half-time and was re­placed by Wayne Hen­nessey, caught up in al­le­ga­tions of mak­ing a Nazi salute when out on a team-bond­ing din­ner, a pic­ture of which was posted on In­sta­gram by Ger­man team-mate Max Meyer, an in­ci­dent the FA is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

Palace had a chance to in­crease their lead in the 55th minute but Ben Fos­ter flung him­self wide to deny Wilf Zaha.

Wat­ford equalised in the 67th minute when Jose Hole­bas swung over a long, rak­ing corner and Cath­cart headed in.

Then Tom Clev­er­ley de­cided it. He came on for Ken Sema, who had pre­vi­ously re­placed Will Hughes, to vol­ley home in the 74th minute af­ter Hole­bas’s long throw bob­bled around the Palace box.

LEV­ELLER: Wat­ford’s Craig Cath­cart can­cels out his ear­lier own goal

ROYAL SALUTE: John Swift

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