Forest see double red in Karanka hangover
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