It took a while for this to sink in. 5 nil, bloody hell. What an amazing experience it was &, although we were clearly due a few goals, it was a pretty unexpected one too. What had happened didn’t really sink in until the distraught, drunken Forest fan, clutching a can of Stella, sat down near me on the train back to London & started congratulating us on our performance.. Another new experience this season.
To be honest, it was probably the most amazing experience I’ve had as a Rams fan since the play off final in 2007. Before that? Well, the game against Plymouth that made us Second Division Champions in 1987, perhaps? All I know is it made me feel like a kid again, like I was experiencing those great days as a teenager in the Eighties on the Popside. This is going to live long in the memory, make no mistake.
There were two sensible but ultimately decisive changes to the starting line up. Bamford in for the injured Dawkins. He was to have his best game for us & made some crucial contributions. The other change was to have more significance, in my view. Eustace was suspended for two games & unless we changed our formation completely, we needed someone the play in the “Eustace role”. The problem was that the two previous attempts to fill that role with Hughes & certainly Hendrick, had failed miserably. Time for George Thorne to step in. Sitting in front of the back four, knocking the ball around simply but effectively & a big physical presence, not least in terms of his height, he had a great debut. A neo-Eustace, for sure. Perhaps even more Eust than the Eust.
I wasn’t that bothered about who was in the Forest team to be honest, although I was glad that Reid wasn’t playing. I did think they would give us a fight though. I couldn’t have been more wrong. They did have a few good spells until we scored the second. The Paterson lad looked a bit tricky. That was it. They were pathetic. Moussi & Jara were arguing with each other after 25 minutes, which probably demonstrates what team spirit Silly has instilled in the side.
Anyway. The goals. I couldn’t quite comprehend that Bryso had scored the first after five minutes. Maybe it’s because I can’t remember the last time we scored in the first half at home. He seemed to be the only player moving in the Forest area but bundled it past the static, monolithic Forest defence with ease. The newly consolidated South Stand exploded.
After that followed some Forest pressure but, while they certainly had a bit of possession, it was all a bit inconsequential. Time for us, after 35 mins, to score a crucial goal, this time majestically swept in by that man Bryson again after some skilful interplay by Bamford & Martin. Again, the Forest defence were standing around seemingly dumbstruck.
The third followed a few minutes later, courtesy of a fantastic, cool finish from Hendrick, after being slotted through by an exquisite Bamford pass. We’ve not seen a goal like that for a while, Jeff had an unbelievable amount of space to run into. Forest were all over the shop.
The fourth was a thing of beauty. The Forest defenders retreated in front of Johnny Russell on the edge of their area, so he decided to have a pop. I may have been the other side of the stadium but I had a great view of this thunderbastard flying into the back of the net. Russell deserved that. I think I celebrated that goal rather too vigorously for someone of my age. Never mind. Like most Rams fans at this stage, I was in dreamland.
The fifth goal rounded things off nicely for us, after Bamford fell a tad dramatically over the onrushing Darlow. A hat trick for Bryso, a successful penalty after we’d missed our last three attempts & some reassurance that Martin is not the only player who can go down like a sack of spuds in the pursuit of a penalty.
That was it really, we dominated the last 20 minutes, Forest were in “absolute ruins” (tips hat to Graham Richards) & it was time to focus on abusing the little chap in the red pullover, whenever he appeared on the touchline to aggressively jab his finger at one of his players. Bless him.
The final whistle blew, to a roar of rapturous approval from the Rams faithful, and there it was. Abject humiliation for Forest, redemption for us & time for me to dash off to the station to find somewhere selling a decent pint before heading back to Watford.
This could be a watershed moment for us. The goalless run has been put to bed in emphatic style & we need to keep this momentum going now, as we try & secure our position in the play offs.
Come on you Rams!