Tag Archives: forest

Npower Championship round-up March 5

Bonkers! Championship goes crazy as promotion race hots up with a glut of late goals

By
Janine Self

PUBLISHED:

11:36 GMT, 6 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:13 GMT, 6 March 2013

So did the world stop for you on Tuesday night Answers on a postcard, addressed to Senor Jose Mourinho, c/o Real Madrid.

The Special One might be slightly surprised to learn that for many the earth continued to revolve around its axis, despite the global marketing pull of a duel with Manchester United.

While 74,759 paying customers crammed into Old Trafford, another 175,547 decided that the npower Championship was the only show in town.

Super Kev: Veteran striker Kevin Phillips netted an eight-minute hat-trick for Crystal Palace on Tuesday night

Super Kev: Veteran striker Kevin Phillips netted an eight-minute hat-trick for Crystal Palace on Tuesday night

The second tier of English football has been even more crazily unpredictable than usual this season and did not disappoint on Tuesday night.

How about Kevin Phillips, 39 years old, and scorer of an eight-minute hat-trick for Crystal Palace in the 4-2 win over Hull

The same Hull who thrashed Birmingham last weekend and who started the night in an automatic promotion place. Steve Bruce’s team are down to third while Palace lurk a point behind.

At fogbound Nottingham Forest, the pre-match chat was all about the second coming of Billy Davies. No mention of Sir Alex Ferguson or Cristiano Ronaldo at all.

Second coming: Forest are making a late charge for the play-offs under Billy Davies

Second coming: Forest are making a late charge for the play-offs under Billy Davies

The force appears to be with Davies. Ipswich had two players sent off and came within four minutes of holding out for a point only to concede to a deflected goal from Lewis McGugan.

Since returning as manager, Davies has drawn one and won the last four games. With that sort of momentum the play-offs are beckoning.

Late goals were the theme of the night at Leicester, Bolton and Huddersfield, too. Just down the road from Old Trafford, Chris Eagles continued Wanderers’ fine run with an added-time winner against Lancashire rivals Blackburn.

Rest assured that none of the 19,063 fans at the Reebok would have given United a passing thought – apart from hoping they would lose, of course.

Late show: Chris Eagles (right) scored an added-time winner for Bolton

Late show: Chris Eagles (right) scored an added-time winner for Bolton

Danny Ward came off the bench to score in stoppage time and give Mark Robins his first home win as Huddersfield manager at the expense of a Middlesbrough side, who are in freefall. Eight defeats in 11 games is doing nothing for Tony Mowbray’s mood.

The biggest attendance of the night was 22,660 at Leicester, who had Manchester United loanee Michael Keane to thank for yet another added-time goal – an equaliser against Leeds.

Some people will always remember Tuesday as the night Roy Keane burned whatever bridges he had left with Ferguson after backing the sending off of Nani.

Wolves fans will remember it as the night manager Dean Saunders won his first match after 10 attempts.

Rare win: Wolves picked up their first three points under Dean Saunders at Millwall

Rare win: Wolves picked up their first three points under Dean Saunders at Millwall

The 2-0 win at Millwall took Saunders’s team out of the bottom three and sets them up nicely for the next match, except it is at Forest.

Rant of the night came from Dave Jones, manager of Sheffield Wednesday, after a 2-1 defeat at Watford. Suggesting the referee was more suited to the Sunday League will not go down well at
the FA.

Howler of the night came from the same match. Watford goalkeeper Jonathan Bond scuffed a back pass from Marco Cassetti, which allowed Michail Antonio to run round him for a simple tap-in.

Comeback: Fernando Forestieri netted twice as Watford beat Sheffield Wednesday

Comeback: Fernando Forestieri netted twice as Watford beat Sheffield Wednesday

Brighton’s point at bottom club Bristol City came at the expense of a bad achilles injury to striker Craig Mackail-Smith, who is out for the rest of the season, which is a huge blow to their play-off hopes.

Last, but not least, even runaway leaders Cardiff are wobbling. Craig Noone popped up eight minutes from time with an equaliser against Derby, who were so short of bodies they could only name five substitutes.

Now that’s something you don’t see in the Champions League, either.

Aaron Ramsey: It"s taken three years to get over Ryan Shawcross tackle

Ramsey: It's taken me three years to get over THAT tackle by Shawcross

By
Rob Draper

PUBLISHED:

21:38 GMT, 16 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

03:41 GMT, 17 February 2013

It will soon be three years since Aaron Ramsey was on the receiving end of that tackle from Stoke's Ryan Shawcross, a challenge that broke his leg in a manner which caused onlookers to wince and look away in disgust.

Three long years as far as Ramsey is concerned.

Breaking point: Ramsey tumbles in agony after Shawcross's challenge

Breaking point: Ramsey tumbles in agony after Shawcross's challenge

The unwanted anniversary comes at the
end of this month and although Ramsey was back playing by November
2010, it would be fair to say the injury and the vehemence of the tackle
had a greater effect on the 23-year-old than a mere nine-month absence.

He was on course to be a worldclass
player, his trajectory well ahead of compatriot Gareth Bale, and he
looked to be a potential replacement for Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal.

His comeback season was largely
spent on loan at Nottingham Forest and Cardiff. Last term he recovered
his identity as an Arsenal player.

Only this season has he shown the form that saw him lauded so early in his career.

'It was a really tough thing to go through and I don't wish it upon anybody,' said Ramsey.

'The determination and the
professionalism that you need, all the hours you have to spend in the
gym, it's quite tough. But I've got through that. It's taken me a bit
longer than I would've liked, but I'm happy now where I am, and hoping
to improve and carry on this good form that I'm in.'

His confidence was fractured as well as his leg.

Confidence soaring: Aaron Ramsey's (left) back in form for Arsenal

Confidence soaring: Aaron Ramsey's (left) back in form for Arsenal

'Yes, that's a natural thing,' he
said. 'Confidence is a massive thing and if you're struggling with that
it does reflect in your performances. But I've got that back now. I'm
hungry to keep that shirt and I've proved that with the way I've been
playing of late.

'There has been a good progression
and hopefully I can get back to where I was. That injury did take it out
of me and hopefully that will only have been a minor hiccup when I look
back on my career.'

Bayern Munich in the Champions League will this week provide an acid test, particular after yesterday's exit from the FA Cup.

Ramsey has to establish himself as a guaranteed pick, though 16 starts this season represents progress.

'I'm getting stuck in a lot more,' he
said. 'I'm winning a lot more balls back and reading the game better
and moving the ball quicker, which suit's the way we play. I've had
positive feedback from the boss.'

But he is aware of Arsenal's
eightyear trophy drought – the Champions League represents their last
chance of silverware this season – and of lost opportunities in Europe's
premier competition.

A 4-0 defeat by AC Milan cost them last year despite winning the home leg 3-0.

Before that they could not hold a 2-1 home-leg lead over Barcelona.

He said: 'Hopefully, we can get into a strong position against Bayern in the home leg and we'll be more experienced.'

Alerx McLeish quits as Nottingham Forest boss after just 41 days

McLeish does a Clough and walks out on Nottingham Forest after just 41 days

PUBLISHED:

11:16 GMT, 5 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:34 GMT, 5 February 2013

Alex McLeish has left Nottingham Forest by mutual consent, the League Managers Association says.

The Scot was in charge of the Championship side for just 41 days and seven games, winning only one and losing four.

Gone: Alex McLeish has left Nottingham Forest manager

Gone: Alex McLeish has left Nottingham Forest manager

It is thought the reason behind McLeish's decision to leave Forest is interference from the club's Kuwaiti owners, the Al-Hasawi family, in team affairs.

McLeish, who replaced Sean O'Driscoll as manager on December 27, said via a statement on the club's official website, nottinghamforest.co.uk: 'I am extremely saddened to be leaving after such a short period.

'But even so, it has been a privilege to be manager of such a fantastic football club and I want to thank the players, staff and fans for their support and wish Nottingham Forest the best of fortunes ahead.

'Both parties entered into the relationship in good faith. However, there was a difference in the understanding of the development strategy of the football club and it was felt by both parties that we should part company.'

Forest chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi had denied claims that there was a bust-up with manager Alex McLeish following the club's lack of transfer activity on deadline day.

Reports circulated that McLeish, who did manage to secure the services of Kuwaiti goalkeeper Khaled Al-Rashidi, was unhappy after George Boyd's proposed move collapsed at the 11th hour over what Peterborough described as an 'inconclusive eye test'.

Chairman Fawaz Al-Hasawi said: 'I'm bitterly disappointed – as is Alex – that it has not worked out as we had hoped when he became our manager and I would like to put on record my thanks for his services to the Club and wish him every success in the future.'

McLeish's turbulent reign at the City Ground rekindled memories of Brian Clough's disastrous 44-day spell at Leeds United.

Clough was famously sacked by the Yorkshire club after falling out with the players and board but went on to lead Nottingham Forest to league and European Cup glory.

More to follow

Alex McLeish"s position at Nottingham forest under threat

EXCLUSIVE: McLeish's position at Forest under threat after bust-up with Kuwaiti owners

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

22:30 GMT, 30 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:54 GMT, 30 January 2013

Alex McLeish’s position at Nottingham Forest is unclear following a bust-up with the club’s new owners over transfer funds.

The former Scotland manager has had a row with the Kuwaiti owners of the east Midlands club after a tense five weeks since succeeding Sean O’Driscoll.

Matters have been bubbling under ever since O’Driscoll’s sacking with chief executive Mark Arthur, head of player recruitment Keith Burt and Forest ambassador Frank Clark all being asked to leave.

Plenty to ponder: Alex McLeish had a bust-up with Nottingham Forest's owners

Plenty to ponder: Alex McLeish had a bust-up with Nottingham Forest's owners

After 14 years of service to Forest, Arthur was handed a letter informing him of his cessation of duties and Burt found out he was being axed after his wife read out a similar missive from the club while he was hosting a scouts’ meeting.

Forest were taken over by the Al-Hasawi family last summer and McLeish was appointed in bizarre circumstances after O’Driscoll was sacked following a 4-2 triumph over Leeds United on Boxing Day, a victory which left Forest just one point from the play-offs.

McLeish was promised a significant kitty to use during the transfer window. However, the club’s technical advisor Dr Tariq Aljalahmah, has held a series of meetings this week with several key figures including McLeish and the remaining members of the club’s scouting team.

In the market: McLeish wants to add to his Forest squad

In the market: McLeish wants to add to his Forest squad

The Scot was told that the club was reticent to sanction any cash deals, with Forest preferring instead to do business in the loan market.

McLeish stood his ground, asking for the money that he believed he was getting after agreeing to take on the job late last month.

The matter had been left in abeyance but some progress looked to have been made last night as Forest mounted a bid to swipe Peterborough United’s George Boyd from under Crystal Palace’s noses.

Sean O"Driscoll named as new Bristol City manager

O'Driscoll replaces McInnes as Bristol City boss after snubbing Championship rivals Blackpool

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

10:17 GMT, 14 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:04 GMT, 14 January 2013

Sean O’Driscoll has been confirmed as manager of Bristol City after choosing them ahead of fellow Championship club Blackpool.

The former Nottingham Forest manager, who turned down Barnsley because he felt the job was not right for him, was ready to succeed Michael Appleton at Bloomfield Road.

But a late sales pitch from the Bristol City board has steered him towards Ashton Gate in a shock development that should be confirmed in the next day.

Checking in: Bristol City have named Sean O'Driscoll as head coach on a rolling 12 month contract

Checking in: Bristol City have named Sean O'Driscoll as head coach on a rolling 12 month contract

Derek McInnes was sacked in the wake of Saturday’s 4-0 home defeat by Leicester and City moved swiftly, after earmarking O’Driscoll but sensing he was about to accept Blackpool’s offer.

O’Driscoll, 55, harshly sacked by Forest earlier this season, was won over after being assured by Ashton Gate chiefs that he could do the job on his terms, even if the likely scenario of relegation to League One becomes a reality.

O'Driscoll said: 'Sometimes you have to go with your gut instinct. It just feels right.

'I think it needs a concerted effort from everyone (to stay up) and I'll get all the credit or blame, but everyone needs to be moving in the same direction.

'We need to hit the ground running and in this topsy-turvy Championship, anything is possible.

'If
we put a run together we can soon be in a different position in the
league. Everyone I have spoken to is confident we have the ability in
the squad to achieve that.

'I like the way the club is being developed. This has always been a well-run football club and that is never going to change.'

Looking down: Derek McInnes was sacked following a 4-0 defeat by Leicester

Looking down: Derek McInnes was sacked following a 4-0 defeat by Leicester

He continued: 'I know most of the players from playing against them or seeing them play so I have an opinion of the players as they will have an opinion of me.

'But what is most important in football is the character of the team and I don't know that. I have got to create a little bit of trust quickly.

'My message to the players will be “show me what you can do.” That doesn't always mean how many goals, how many times you can keep the ball up or how clever you can be. It is more the attitude you show when things don't go your way.

'This is a great opportunity for the players to show me when it hasn't gone their way that they are up for the fight. We've got to do it together.'

John Lansdown, the Robins' football managing director, added: 'Sean has got a really good record at clubs and a record of being there for the long term and we appointed Sean because we believe he has the ability to keep us up this season.

'We are looking forward to working with him for a long time.'

Sean O"Driscoll is the frontrunner for the Blackpool job

EXCLUSIVE: O'Driscoll the shock name for Blackpool job

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

21:31 GMT, 11 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:33 GMT, 11 January 2013

Sean O’Driscoll has emerged as a shock frontrunner for the Blackpool job and could be confirmed as Michael Appleton’s successor in the next 24 hours.

After agreeing a compensation package with Blackburn for the loss of Appleton, who watched his new team from the stands against Wolves at Molineux, Blackpool were expected to move for Bradford boss Phil Parkinson.

Heir apparent: Sean O'Driscoll is being lined up for the Blackpool job. He was sacked from Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day after beating Leeds 4-2

Heir apparent: Sean O'Driscoll is being lined up for the Blackpool job. He was sacked from Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day after beating Leeds 4-2

But Sportsmail understands they have turned their attention to former Nottingham Forest manager O’Driscoll and are close to striking an agreement to install him as their new manager.

After being controversially sacked by Forest, despite taking them to the fringes of the play-off places, O’Driscoll turned down an approach from Barnsley, after speaking to Oakwell officials but deciding the job was not for him.

Taking the reins at Blackpool is viewed as a different proposition, though, and he looks to be on the verge of a swift return to Championship management, with Parkinson waiting in the wings, should the deal hit a last-minute hitch.

Enlarge

Quick exit: Michael Appleton (pictured) has left to join Blackburn - he was only in charge at Bloomfield Road for just two months

Quick exit: Michael Appleton (pictured) has left to join Blackburn – he was only in charge at Bloomfield Road for just two months

Lincoln City push through loan for Newport"s Jake Thomson on Twitter

The first Twitter transfer Lincoln push through loan for Newport's Thomson in 140 characters

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

16:51 GMT, 2 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:52 GMT, 2 January 2013

Trinidad and Tobago Jake Thomson signed for Lincoln City on a month-long loan today from Newport County – but it took a bit of Twitter wrangling to push the move through.

The Welsh side announced on their official account at 1pm this afternoon that the deal had been completed, only for fellow Conference club Lincoln to immediately shoot back and deny it.

The Imps Twitter account replied: 'Can you therefore get the paperwork signed and sent to us so the move can be completed'

Twitter transfer! Lincoln took offence at Newport's claims that a loan deal for Jake Thomson had been completed

Twitter transfer! Lincoln took offence at Newport's claims that a loan deal for Jake Thomson had been completed

They later snapped back at another Twitter user who had simply told them to pick up the phone to complete negotiations, writing: 'Surely the unprofessional approach is announcing a loan move that hasn't even happened yet'

23-year-old Thomson did complete his move later in the day and is eligible to make his Lincoln debut at Ebbsfleet United on Saturday.

Loan deal: Trinidad and Tobago international Thomson in action for Cheltenham Town

Loan deal: Trinidad and Tobago international Thomson in action for Cheltenham Town

He joined Newport from Forest Green Rovers and has so far made 16 appearances this season.

Capped twice by the Caribbean nation, he has previously played for Southampton, Bournemouth, Torquay, Cheltenham and Exeter City.

Best goal of 2012: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Papiss Cisse, Neymar, who will win?

Who scored the best goal of 2012 Drogba, Neymar and Ibrahimovic are all in with a shout… here are Sportsmail's top 10

|

UPDATED:

14:40 GMT, 31 December 2012

Compiling a list of the greatest goals of the year is always tricky. It’s difficult to judge whether a magnificent dribble leading to a solo goal is better than a searing volley from 30 yards out.

But come the end of the year it’s time to decide which strikes make the cut and which must fall by the wayside. This collection has been chopped and changed a-plenty, but this is what we’re sticking with.

Only two of FIFA’s three Puskas award short-listed goals are present and correct – apologies and an honourable mention to Radamel Falcao.

We only have space for 10 goals on this list but if you believe other strikes deserve to be recognised then have your say in the comment section below.

Whose was the best 2012 saw some spectacular and brilliant goals and Sportsmail lists the top 10

Whose was the best 2012 saw some spectacular and brilliant goals and Sportsmail lists the top 10

10. Peter Crouch (STOKE v Man City)

People love to stick the boot in on Stoke because of their 'dour' brand of football. But they have offered some magic moments too during their time in the top flight.

Earlier this week we saw Cameron Jerome score an absolute rocket against Southampton. And in March Peter Crouch dealt Manchester City a setback in the title race.

We know now that it didn't stop them winning the Premier League, but at the time this wondergoal gave Man United the chance to open up a three point lead at the top.

Crouch nodded Asmir Begovich's long punt to Jermain Pennant who nodded it back and then the giant striker teed himself up and lashed in a stunning volley from an awkward angle past Joe Hart.

9. Simon Cox (NOTTINGHAM FOREST v Birmingham)

In the 1998 World Cup quarter-final clash between Holland and Argentina, Dennis Bergkamp scored a delightful goal, controlling a long pass expertly and finishing with aplomb.

Nottingham Forest and Ireland striker Simon Cox evoked that spirit against Birmingham in the Championship. Yes, the stage was smaller but the skill was no less admirable.

Cox took one touch to kill Lewis McGugan's long ball and then adjusted instantly to delicately flick it over the helpless Jack Butland.

8. Rodrigo Palacio (GENOA v Lazio)

Did he mean it That was the question everybody was asking when Rodrigo Palacio, now of Inter, scored this gem.

The Genoa striker's cute backflick from this corner floated over the surprised Lazio keeper and sank into the net.

Some say it was luck, others judgement. Sportsmail falls in the latter camp and will give the Argentina hitman the credit this effort deserves.

7. Gaston Mealla (NACIONAL POTOSI v The Strongest)

Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita made it famous at Wembley in 1995. But keeping the scorpion kick revival movement going in 2012 was Nacional Potosi striker Gaston Mealla. (See also THIS hilarious scorpion kick own goal for last year's effort).

During a Bolivian league match between his side and The Strongest, an under-hit dink forward was set to land behind the striker on the edge of the box. But Mealla cared not for his team-mate's mistake.

His stupendous athleticism salvaged the situation and helped create a bizarre and beautiful goal.

6. Neymar (SANTOS v Internacional)

Santos' much sought-after Brazilian demonstrated just why Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City all are willing to splash the cash on him with this bewitching solo goal against Internacional.

He picked the ball up in his own half surged at 100 miles-per-hour past, round and through anybody who stood in his way, before nudging the ball home.

Note – Hatem Ben Arfa's effort in the FA Cup against Blackburn was a contender for the list, but the Newcastle man just missed out to this. A tough call to make.

<br/>

5. Didier Drogba (Bayern Munich v CHELSEA)

Picture the scene. Chelsea are 1-0 down in the Allianz Arena and the stadium is bouncing. Bayern Munich are on the cusp of winning the Champions League trophy on their own turf.

With two minutes to go Juan Mata floats in a corner from the right. Everything seems to stand still as the ball drops in towards the near post. Everything that is, except Didier Drogba.

The Chelsea striker leaps for the ball and sends a venomous header in at the near post in front of the Blue corner of the stadium. To get so much power into the ball from such an awkward position makes this one of the finest headers of all time – before you even forgetting the circumstances.

An honourable mention goes to Ramires, Drogba's team-mate whose superbly weighted lob against Barcelona in the semi-final earned the Blues passage to Munich.

4. Philippe Mexes (AC MILAN v Anderlecht)

Philippe Mexes is supposed to be a defender. So how on earth did this happen

AC Milan were beating Anderlecht 1-0 in the Champions League when the centre-back doubled the lead with something a little bit special.

The Frenchman chested Riccardo Montolivio's ball away from goal and then flipped it accurately into the top corner with a precisely executed overhead-kick.

Milan's general manager Adriano Galliani waxed lyrical about the strike, and said: 'If Leo Messi had scored that, every news channel around the world would show it and he'd have been made a saint tonight!'

He's probably right.

3. Miroslav Stoch (FENERBAHCE v Genclerbirligi)

He's not the biggest name on the list, but he scored one of the finest goals.

Bringing to mind Zinedine Zidane's Champions League final volley and Paul Scholes' effort against Aston Villa, Fenerbahce winger Miroslav Stoch made Turkish league opponents Genclerbirligi pay.

Stoch stayed cool to pull the trigger on a 25-yard volley which swerved away from the goalkeeper and zipped in to the top corner.

This goal has been nominated for the FIFA Puskas award, along with Neymar's effort. At the Ballon d'Or ceremony on January 7 the winner will be revealed.

2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (SWEDEN v England)

This is certainly the most famous goal of 2012.

Yes, it's Zlatan Ibrahimovic's simply ridiculous propeller kick against England, which also happened to be his fourth goal of the game.

He defied gravity as he tossed his 6ft 4 frame into the sky with abandon, to caress the ball sweetly into the net.

There's an arguement to be made that Mexes' effort was trickier because he had a goalkeeper to beat – here Hart is in no-man's land – but this is from further out and far more awkward to hit.

The Swedish superstar had, until this friendly which his side won 4-2, previously been maligned by a fair few people on British soil, who thought he was over-rated and arrogant (OK, so the last part is still true).

This incredible goal was the cherry on the cake which he gleefully stuffed down the gaping mouths of his detractors.

1 Papiss Cisse (Chelsea v NEWCASTLE)

On a cold spring evening in May, Papiss Cisse warmed the cockles of Newcastle's travelling fans and delighted football fans the world over with this simply stupendous effort.

With one momentous swing of his right boot, he destroyed Chelsea's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League through a top four finish and secured himself a place in every 'Greatest Goals' DVD release between now and the end of time.

Every time you watch his outrageous volley, which spins past the thoroughly bewildered Petr Cech, it just gets better and better.

Perhaps the previously lethal Senegal striker decided he could never top this because it seems like he's stopped trying this season. You could forgive him, because this would be the highlight of anybody's career.

On the road: O"Driscoll is quickly forgotten as McLeish checks in

On the road: O'Driscoll is quickly forgotten as McLeish checks in

|

UPDATED:

22:34 GMT, 30 December 2012

The accusation levelled so often at Nottingham Forest this last decade and more is that the club have taken up residence in their past.

As they sang of the old mist rolling in from the Trent on Saturday, pre-match screening of goals from the likes of Martin O’Neill and John Robertson only lent weight to that impression. The City Ground can look worn on bleak days like this, not quite Ashton Gate, but not quite Old Trafford either.

And yet in another way Forest are thoroughly modern. Now foreign-owned, they are ambitious, fast-moving, scything down managers.

New man in the dugout: Alex McLeish is presented to the Nottingham Forest fans

New man in the dugout: Alex McLeish is presented to the Nottingham Forest fans

Ask Sean O’Driscoll. A week ago O’Driscoll was preparing Forest to defeat Leeds 4-2 on Boxing Day; on Saturday Alex McLeish was introduced as the 12th Forest manager since Pierre van Hooijdonk went on strike and they were last in the Premier League, in 1999.

McLeish waved, 23,000 applauded, for this was a more than cordial welcome, unrecognisable from the hostility that greeted McLeish at Aston Villa.

/12/30/article-2254988-16AF8AD4000005DC-311_468x329.jpg” width=”468″ height=”329″ alt=”Leveling up: Billy Sharp scores the equaliser for Forest” class=”blkBorder” />

Leveling up: Billy Sharp scores the equaliser for Forest

The club will have, in that tedious phrase, moved on. As soon as the football starts rolling this is what can happen, the present scurries by and demands attention.

On Saturday, as Crystal Palace swept the ball around having taken a ninth-minute lead through the lithe Glenn Murray, home thoughts turned not to whether the new manager was up to it but to whether the Forest players would get the ball back.

McLeish was in the directors’ box, having agreed that coach Rob Kelly would pick the team.

It was a good Championship game between two sides committed to passing the ball and Billy ‘Razor-sharp’ Sharp, as Ian Holloway called him, hit the post with a header on the half-hour.

Forgotten man: Sean O'Driscoll was sacked after Forest's win over Leeds

Forgotten man: Sean O'Driscoll was sacked after Forest's win over Leeds

In first-half injury time Forest’s Andy Reid, who outshone substituted Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, delivered a bullet of an equaliser.

That teed up an ebb-and-flow second half and Murray looked to have nicked it for the visitors nine minutes from time with an improvised header that again demonstrated what a striker the 29-year-old has become — a Rickie Lambert level of development.

Imagine what a late Palace winner would have done for McLeish. No manager needs to begin on the back foot, so when Reid’s persistence yielded one last chance, and Sharp took it, the City Ground roared and McLeish sighed with relief.

He was able to discuss the ‘brilliant reception’ he received and his new players’ ‘great character’, though he was irritated by a question about maintaining Forest’s traditional style.

Holloway was also irritated — by speculation about Zaha that the manager himself brought up.

Stop the speculation: Palace boss Ian Hollowat is annoyed with the talk linking Wifred Zaha with a move away from the club

Stop the speculation: Palace boss Ian Hollowat is annoyed with the talk linking Wifred Zaha with a move away from the club

‘We almost won a game without him, that would have been a shock to you lot, wouldn’t it’ Holloway said of Zaha in response to a question about Murray.

No-one mentioned Sean O’Driscoll. The Forest owners felt no need to offer an explanation for his departure in the match programme. The present was scurrying by.

So has just over half a season. That becomes the preoccupation: Forest are one place and three points off the play-offs, Palace are two places and four points off automatic promotion.

Thick and fast: tomorrow Palace host tumbling Wolves and Forest travel to managerless Blackburn Rovers.

Leaders Cardiff, meanwhile, are at Birmingham City.

Cardiff’s relentlessness — they have won eight of their last 10 games — is giving the others jitters. Holloway made the telling comment about squad strength and referred to Leicester’s new signing Chris Wood.

‘Look at Leicester, I think they’ve already secured two signings,’ Holloway said.

‘Their owners have got more money than other owners.’

How much Forest’s new owners possess will help dictate whether McLeish is regarded as a success or not.

Assessing that, though, is not straightforward.

‘Should I really talk about owners and their aspirations’ Holloway said. ‘Not really, not if you can win 4-2 and lose your job.

‘Even if you win these days, you don’t keep your job.’

McCarthy has last laugh

Winning return: Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy won at his old club Wolves

Winning return: Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy won at his old club Wolves

What Wolverhampton Wanderers didn’t need was Mick McCarthy.

That is the conclusion the Wolves board reached in February, when the team were 18th in the Premier League.

Wolves had won five games last season until that stage; they did not win one once McCarthy had gone.

They finished 20th and were relegated.

What Wolves’ new manager Stale Solbakken did not need on Saturday was McCarthy returning with his new club Ipswich Town and winning 2-0.

The result left Wolves 17th with three wins from their last 15 matches, and nine defeats. Ipswich are now one point behind.

Wolves are at Selhurst Park tomorrow. They are then at Luton Town in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.

Where will Solbakken be next Monday

Nottingham Forest 2 Crystal Palace 2: Injury-time equaliser spares Alex McLeish"s blushes

Nottingham Forest 2 Crystal Palace 2: Injury-time equaliser spares McLeish's blushes in first game in charge

PUBLISHED:

17:08 GMT, 29 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

17:37 GMT, 29 December 2012

Alex McLeish's first game in charge of Nottingham Forest ended in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

McLeish, appointed on Thursday after the Al Hasawi family dispensed of Sean O'Driscoll's services on Boxing Day just hours after the 4-2 home win over Leeds, received a good reception prior to kick-off at the City Ground.

Andy Reid scored Forest's first goal of the McLeish era, equalising in first-half injury time after Glenn Murray had put Palace in front in the ninth minute.

All square: McLeish's reign at Nottingham Forest started with a draw

All square: McLeish's reign at Nottingham Forest started with a draw

Saviour: Sharp rescued a point for Forest with a late strike

Saviour: Sharp rescued a point for Forest with a late strike

Last-ditch: Sharp's goal earned a 2-2 draw for Forest in McLeish's first game in charge

Last-ditch: Sharp's goal earned a 2-2 draw for Forest in McLeish's first game in charge

Match facts

Nottingham Forest goals: Andy Reid 45, Billy Sharp 90.

Crystal Palace goals: Glenn Murray 9, 81.

Att: 23,703

Click here for the latest Championship table, fixtures and results

It looked like there was to be no
fairytale beginning for the Scot when Murray struck again with nine
minutes remaining, but Billy Sharp grabbed an injury-time leveller.

McLeish would probably have named the same team that beat Leeds, but Alan Hutton's sickness bug brought an enforced change.

Dan Harding was restored to the starting line up, meaning Greg Halford moved to right-back with Harding playing at left-back.

Palace manager Ian Holloway also made one change as Andre Moritz was recalled in place of Owen Garvan, who dropped to the bench.

Dexter Blackstock headed an early chance wide for Forest before Murray opened the scoring.

Dean Moxey got to the byline, his low cross evaded everyone and Murray bundled the ball home at the far post.

Julian Speroni preserved Palace's lead in the 15th minute, sprawling to his right to tip Radoslaw Majewski's shot wide.

When Speroni was beaten by Sharp's diving header just before the half-hour mark, the post came to Palace's aid.

Forest were enjoying some good
pressure and finally got themselves level at the end of the first half
with a superb 25-yard shot from Reid that flew across Speroni and into
the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

Wilfried Zaha came close to putting
Palace back in front at the start of the second half but his shot fizzed
across goal and narrowly missed the far post.

At the other end, Speroni continued his good afternoon with another fine save to keep out Chris Cohen at the near post.

Solid start: Forest are still in the mix for a playoff place

Solid start: Forest are still in the mix for a playoff place

Thumbs up: McLeish's appointment was met with angry responses from some fans

Thumbs up: McLeish's appointment was met with angry responses from some fans

Tight: Sharp's late goal denied Palace all three points at the City Ground

Tight: Sharp's late goal denied Palace all three points at the City Ground

The Argentinian was at it again midway through the second half, this time pushing away Danny Collins' header.

Murray got his second goal of the game with a superb 81st-minute header.

Yannick Bolasie's far-post cross
looked to have evaded Murray, but the striker somehow generated enough
power to loop the ball back across goal, over goalkeeper Lee Camp and
into the back of the net.

It looked like giving Holloway's team
their first win in five npower Championship matches but there was time
for more late drama.

Speroni produced a superb save from
Blackstock's header to tip the ball onto the post, but Sharp was on hand
at close range and had the simplest of finishes to earn Forest a point.