Nottingham Forest 2-1 Derby County (EFL Championship) 22.01.22
There’s always something special about the great East Midlands ‘derby day’ 100 league matches old today and no Brian Clough Trophy match should ever go without incident and on this super Saturday on a sunny January this marvellous match up between two form sides with two very different perceptions on what they need to achieve this season, lived up, once again, as it usually does, to its spectacular billing.
Forest were without the injured Joe Worrall as Ryan Yates dropped into the back three for this lunch time kick-off Trentside but the Reds brought back Max Lowe from injury a huge bonus to the home teams starting eleven.
Derby in good form themselves started brightly going close through Tom Lawrence who blasted wide, one-on-one with Samba, after just fifteen minutes and the Rams dominated possession in the early exchanges which caused Reds Head Coach Steve Cooper into a tweak to his formation, Yates moving back into his preferred midfield position which gave Forest a stronghold over a side that usually likes to dominate possession.
Lewis Grabban was perhaps lucky only to receive a yellow card for a high foot challenge on a derby player whilst Brice Samba took a bang to his head which needed attention with a large bandage wrapped around the goalkeeper’s skull for the games remainder, this after Ryan Yates struck a shot from the edge of the box well saved by Ryan Allsop with both sides content with a first half stalemate in a tense, tight and feisty derby game.
The second half however soon kicked into goal scoring life with early advantage Forest. A free kick played into the box on 48 minutes fell to Lewis Grabban after McKenna flicked down to Davis with the ball falling to Cook, bouncing to the Reds top goalscorer six yards out, who took one touch before blasting home in front of the Trent End to send the red roar into the blue skies of West Bridgford.
Derby had their own chance to get back into the match but Scott McKenna blocked Tom Lawrence’s effort which looked destined for the corner of the net, the Reds with their own, the best of which a long range strike by Garner, but late on Brennan Johnson terrific all afternoon, started a move on 84 which ended with him racing into the box un-marked with Philip Zinckernagel pulling back to the Nottingham born youngster who slid home to make it 2-0 and almost game, set and match.
You could hear the roar as far as Edwalton, as Forest looked to be taking all three points at a canter with time to spare but a rush of blood by the previously cool cucumbered Steve Cook gave the Rams a lifeline on 87, diving in to foul Lawrence who picked himself up to slot home the penalty and draw Derby to within one.
That gave the game an extra edge as tensions boiled as time ticked down, Brice Samba carded for holding onto the ball which sparked off handbags, in injury time Rams substitute Ravel Morrison lunging in studs open to be sent off by the Referee, more handbags were thrown before the final whistle went and amidst the cheers of Forest fans celebrating, the scuffles continued, as they always do on Derby day win lose or draw.
After the match, Wayne Rooney criticised the Referees decisions but held his hands up that the better team won, Forest now two points below the playoffs but the bigger satisfaction for Reds fans tonight, hammering another nail into the Derby coffin, the Rams still eight from safety and with even bigger concerns from saving themselves from Administration, should Derby go down or out of business, or even if Forest go up, it could be a while now until we see another Brian Clough Trophy match in the league. But with that in mind, at least be assured Lewis Grabban who paraded the silverware post game to the City Ground faithful after the win, won’t be dropping the lid to the trophy again, anytime too soon. 1,062 days and counting the cup has been locked safely in the City Ground Trophy Cabinet. The 111th match between Forest and Derby now reads 38 Rams wins, 30 draws and 43 wins for Forest.
Nottingham Forest: Samba, Spence, Yates, Cook, McKenna, Lowe, Garner, Colback, Johnson, Davis (Zinckernagel 68), Grabban (Taylor 84).
Derby County: Allsop, Byrne, Stearman, Davies, Buchanan, Bird, Thompson (Sibley 78), Knight, Ebosele (Morrison 60), Lawrence, Kazim-Richards (Plange 60).
Venue: City Ground (29,256)
*Main image @NFFC Lewis Grabban keeps his rich vein of scoring up with another goal in 2022.