Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Harding (Derbyshire, 80), Lansbury, Lascelles, Hobbs, Mackie, Jara, Cox, Majewski (Henderson, 45), Paterson (Reid, 45)
Scorers: Cox, 40, Henderson, 60
Bookings: Harding, Lansbury, Lascelles
Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Kelly, Guthrie, Williams, McCleary, Obita (Sharp, 80), Robson-Kanu (McAnuff, 69), Pogrebnyak (Blackman, 80)
Scorers: Pogrebnyak, 8, Gorkss, 13, Obita, 74
Bookings: Pogrebnyak, Gunter
Red Cards: Gunter
Before Friday night’s encounter, despite only taking two points from their last four home games, Forest had only lost three times at the City Ground in 2013. The Reading team which travelled to Nottingham had been without a win in their last four games, but they were confident from the outset and looked to a completely different side to that we have seen in recent games; one full of passion, desire and motivation.
Reading never let Forest settle early in the game, and they deservedly took the lead in the 8th minute after a clever corner from Danny Guthrie. It was only partly defended, which allowed ex-Forest player Garath McCleary to fire in a low cross which was met by Pavel Pogrebnyak to score his 5th goal of this Championship campaign. It took the Royals just five more minutes to double their lead. The second goal came from a corner again, only this time Guthrie’s cross found by the strong head of Kaspars Gorkss.
The Royals continued to press and dominate possession, and looked convincing when pushing forward. However, Forest managed to find a way back into the game through ex-Reading player Simon Cox five minutes before the break after he converted a cross which had been whipped in by Jamie Mackie.
Billy Davies made two substitutions at half time, and the addition of Darius Henderson and Andy Reid had a significant impact on the game. Forest looked the much livelier team, with the woodwork being struck, and Alex McCarthy making a couple of fine saves to deny Mackie and Cox. However, it was unsurprising when they found an equaliser in the 60th minute through a low shot from another ex-Royal Henderson after being set up by Cox.
Even though Forest continued to attack, Reading managed to break on the counterattack in the 74th minute, with Jordan Obita marking his first senior goal for Reading by firing home from 12 yards out after being found unmarked by McCleary.
Forest were controversially thrown a lifeline in the 81st minute when Chris Gunter unluckily received a second yellow card for a debateable foul on Reid after already receiving a very unjust first yellow card for some kind of descent. That was not the only questionable refereeing decision of the evening, but thankfully it did not spoil what was a truly exciting match.
Friday night was definitely one of those matches that you could walk away from feeling extremely proud to be a Royal. The result was a somewhat pleasant surprise, and hopefully we can now get some momentum back in the run up to the tricky Christmas period.