Wood Rescues Forest Again

Nottingham Forest 1-1 Crystal Palace (Premier League) 30.03.24

Forest seal draw with second half Wood wonder goal.

A sunny day at the City Ground didn’t quite showcase a shining Forest side, but despite a poor first half, managed to pull off a draw thanks to a superb Chris Wood header looped over Dean Henderson.

The First Half:

It started well, actually. Forest getting forward on a few occasions, particularly with Ola Aina & Callum Hudson-Odoi, but not close enough. It seemed as though the emphasis was on getting into a 1v1 situation with Dean Henderson, the former Forest keeper, when I feel more bravery could’ve been shown, especially on the edge of the box. For a goalkeeper who struggled with outside-the-box shots last season especially, It perplexed me as to why Forest didn’t at least try to shoot more at him, and be more confident. Palace overloaded the box, put multiple men on one man as a press, but often left the edge of the box exposed as a result. I say go for it – why not?

Palace would be the side to open the scoring though, and in fashion they did. Gibbs-White’s attempt to win the ball on half way fails, and sure enough, Palace build outside the box. Soon, Lerma forwards a ball to Eze in the box who sideways flicks it to Mateta on the run, who finishes it excellently. Sels had no chance, but Forest made it too easy. 1-0 Palace.

Another huge chance would come for Palace, almost a certain goal as Eze gets into a close chance with only Sels to beat, but the Belgian keeper stays stretched, and saves Forest. A superb save, and thankfully, the half ended with Forest only chasing the Eagles by a goal. It could’ve easily been two.

Overall, a poor, scrappy, half from Nottingham Forest. Palace didn’t want the ball, and gave Forest chances to dominate, but as it has been for most of this season, the Reds just cannot be the dominant side – too wasteful. Sangaré failed to get himself involved, often shying away from space, creating his side issues building up and countering Palace’s high press. Improvement needed.

The Second Half:

A strong statement to start the first half: Sangaré replaced by Anthony Elanga, with Gibbs-White dropping into deeper areas in midfield alongside Ryan Yates. Much needed change in personnel, I felt.

Forest started slightly unconvincingly, but would soon find the pace. Callum Hudson-Odoi’s work rate and attitude was superb. Was evident – at least from my perspective – what todays game meant to him, and glimpses of the star that was once touted for a big European move started to show perhaps for the first time since leaving Chelsea. He played with bravery, not as though he feared injuries. A refreshing, and wonderful sight.

Palace came close with an effort despite the Reds’ hard work though, as Eze’s right-footed effort in the box whistles past the far post. Nervy moments, but Eze, simply incredible. Best player on the pitch I felt.

Hudson-Odoi was a Premier League Joe Lolley with the way he cut inside and shot, coming close on one occasion – Henderson forced to parry it away. But it wouldn’t be long before Forest got some luck. Reyna slides a ball to Gibbs-White, who with true elegance, crosses it to Chris Wood. With the back of his head, he dinks it over the hands of Dean Henderson rather spectacularly, putting Forest back ‘in it’ – I, like thousands of other spectators, lunged out of my chair. A remarkable effort that worked out – I couldn’t quite believe what I had just seen. Five seasons with ten or more goals, in fashion.

Eze came close once more – players bundling into the box, Schlupp’s ball finds the English Forward, but once more Sels saves the day. If it weren’t for him, I fear Glasner’s side would’ve left victorious, by 3-4 goals. He was immense.

A better second half celebrated with an equaliser – three points was always the aim, but in Forest’s position, every point is taken. Other results went their way today, but a huge game against Fulham awaits – improvement still needed.

Forest 1, Crystal Palace 1.

*Article provided by Jamie Martin (Head Nottingham Forest Correspondent).

*Main image @NFFC Chris Wood’s header ensures Forest earn a draw.

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