Match Details: 03/05/2008
Nottingham Forest 3-2 Yeovil Town
Coca Cola League One
Yeovil Goals: Jaime Peters (20), Andy Kirk (75)
Yeovil Line-Up: 1. Steve Mildenhall, 4. Terry Skiverton, 6. Terrell Forbes, 8. Anthony Barry, 10. Marcus Stewart, 16. Jaime Peters, 20. Marc Bircham, 27. Lee Peltier, 28. Nathan Smith, 32. Marvin Williams, 33. Aidan Downes
Subs: 3. Nathan Jones, 5. Scott Guyett, 9. Lloyd Owusu, 12. Matthew Rose, 24. Andy Kirk,
Substitutes Used: Andy Kirk for Marvin Williams (67 mins), Matthew Rose for Anthony Barry (78 mins), Nathan Jones for Aidan Downes (84 mins)
Bookings: Marvin Williams (Dissent, 30)
Yeovil Town lost their final match of the 2007-08 season, but they made sure they played their part in a thrilling end-to-end contest against Nottingham Forest. Forest were able to make up for their woes from 12 months previously when the Glovers dumped them out of the League One Play-Offs - this time they were the ones celebrating on the final whistle when a 3-2 victory guaranteed them automatic promotion - albeit with the Glovers having caused a few jangled nerves in the sell-out crowd.
It's ironic that just as the season ends, that the injury list has cleared up and that manager Russell Slade has actually had the luxury of being able to field a settled side. For the third match running the same starting line-up was chosen, and once again the bench was formed from the same players. There's little doubt that ability to put out the same eleven has coincided with some improved performances, even if the opening half hour at the City Ground was to produce a mixture of refereeing ineptness, kamikaze defending and the odd deflection and ricochet that was able to put Forest in the driving seat at 3-1 up after just half an hour.
The Forest opener came with Marvin Williams lying on the deck, after he appeared to be the victim of a foul challenge from James Perch, who was able to take advantage of the additional space on the deck to square the ball to Julian Bennett, whose shot appeared to take a deflection into the corner of the net to put Forest 1-0 up and to induce a huge roar of relief from the City Ground.
The Forest fans were put into dreamland six minutes later as the Glovers sought to gift them a goal. Booting the ball out of defence as far as you can is often not pretty but it is sometimes the only way to go. Lee Peltier's crossfield pass to Terry Skiverton was short and suicidal, and when it bounced off the Yeovil captain's shins, Kris Commons took advantage of the charitable donation and clinically fired home to set the City Ground rocking.
That delight in the home ends lasted barely 60 seconds though, with the Glovers reminding Forest that they know a thing about City Ground comebacks. Almost straight from the kick-off, Marcus Stewart fashioned a low diagonal throughball that carved the Forest defence in two and put Jaime Peters in behind the Forest defence. He finished his shot cooly by striking a left-footed shot into the far corner to bring the scores back to 2-1.
The game was flowing from end-to-end, with the Glovers showing little fear or worries, but Forest determined to keep on the front foot. The home side's two goal advantage was restored just before the half hour mark with another point of controversy from referee Fred Graham. Terry Skiverton's header out of defence looked to be a perfect demonstration of a central defender winning a header, but presumably Graham felt Skivo had gone through his Forest marker to reach the ball and awarded a free kick. Up stepped Lewis McGugan, one of Forest's young rising stars, and he curled the ball over the wall to make it 3-1, and with Doncaster Rovers mucking things up against Cheltenham Town, to restore the volume at the City Ground.
The second half saw Forest play somewhat deeper, presumably with the goal of protecting what they had, rather than risk Yeovil catching them on the break. Perhaps a risky tactic given what happened to Forest the last time they did that against Yeovil, but initially at least it seemed to be working, with the pace of the game slowing down, and the play getting crowded out in midfield.
However, the introduction of substitutes gave the Glovers fresh legs and ideas, and when Jaime Peters played a quick short corner to Marc Bircham, the midfielder planted a cross straight onto the head of one of those new faces - Andy Kirk - who glanced the ball into the back of the net with 15 minutes to go. With news coming through of a Doncaster equaliser and Forest's lead a slender 3-2, the City Ground was completely silenced. Totally. Tense? Nervous? For once it was nice to be a Glovers fan and not particularly care - the same could not be said for the now nail-biting Forest players, as the Glovers hunted for the equaliser and left holes at the back, restoring the game back to its end-to-end state.
The Forest fans light at the end of the tunnel came not at the City Ground, but from Whaddon Road, where Cheltenham retook the lead against Doncaster, provoking a sea of celebration from the home parts of the ground. With the pressure somewhat lifted, the Forest players relaxed somewhat, even if they weren't quite over the finish line. Perhaps respectful of the Glovers intent, the home side ran the ball into the corner flag during injury time rather than take a long corner, and that prevented Yeovil from launching any last minute drama.
The final whistle saw a mass pitch invasion at the City Ground that sadly prevented all bar a couple of Yeovil players from being able to reach the travelling Yeovil army in the far corner of the ground. Forest were guaranteed automatic promotion when news came in from Whaddon Road that Cheltenham Town had held onto their lead again Doncaster Rovers. Instead the Glovers fans stayed and applauded their Forest counterparts in a far more sporting show of respect than the Leeds fans were able to offer on the previous weekend.
For the Glovers, the season may have ended in defeat, but this was a spirited entertaining match that once again showed some promising signs from some of the newer players within the Glovers ranks suggesting that if the right contract signings can be made over the summer, next season could be a bright and lively one.
Final Score: Nottingham Forest 3 Yeovil Town 2.
Scorers: Julian Bennett (12 mins, 1-0), Kris Commons (18 mins, 2-0), Jaime Peters (20 mins, 2-1), Lewis McGugan (28 mins, 3-1), Andy Kirk (75 mins, 3-2).
1. Paul Smith
2. Kelvin Wilson 4. Luke Chambers 5. Wes Morgan 29. Julian Bennett
7. James Perch 17. Lewis McGugan 15. Chris Cohen 8. Kris Commons
18. Brett Ormerod 9. Nathan Tyson
Subs: 6. Ian Breckin (72 mins for Luke Chambers) 12. Garath McCleary 14. Arron Davies (86 mins for Brett Ormerod) 23. Junior Agogo (65 mins for James Perch) 26. Matt Thornhill
Yeovil Town: (4-4-1-1)
1. Steve Mildenhall
27. Lee Peltier 4. Terry Skiverton 6. Terrell Forbes 28. Nathan Smith
32. Marvin Williams 8. Anthony Barry 20. Marc Bircham 33. Aidan Downes
16. Jaime Peters
10. Marcus Stewart
Subs: 3. Nathan Jones (84 mins for Aidan Downes) 5. Scott Guyett 9. Lloyd Owusu 12. Matty Rose (78 mins for Anthony Barry) 24. Andy Kirk (67 mins for Marvin Williams)
Forest Bookings: Lewis McGugan (90 mins, timewasting).
Yeovil Bookings: Marvin Williams (30 mins, dissent).
Referee: Fred Graham (Essex). Assistants: Andrew Newbold (Leicestershire) and Guy Stretton (Leicestershire). Fourth Official: Pat Miller (Bedfordshire).
Attendance: 28,520 (including 591 Yeovil fans)