Anyway. The morning of the match arrived, and 7.30am found me in Tesco, buying supplies for the day’s events. Shortly after 8.00, I caught a bus to Colchester train station, and there got a train to Nottingham. I chose to go via London, but it turns out it would have been the best part of £10 cheaper to go across country and avoid London. I decided against this route, as I was unwilling to experiment and make myself late. In the end, I experimented on my way home, which was both successful and unsuccessful. More on that later.
I got through London pretty quickly, and then had to wait over half an hour for my train from St. Pancras to Nottingham. I got on, and, quite by chance, sat in seat no. 8 (my lucky number for those of you who fail to see the significance of this). I was beginning to get the feeling that this was going to be a good day. Just under two hours later I disembarked from the train in the delightful surrounds of Nottingham station. A brief walk down the side of the main road later and I was shouldering my way through the throng in Casa, a pub/bar just across Trent Bridge from the City Ground, and meeting up with Alan and Scott, Forest fans I have the pleasure of knowing through the LTLF forum.
The day got even better, as Liverpool were harshly beaten 1-0 live on Sky before our very eyes by Manchester United, a team I intensely dislike. However, my dislike for the whinging, self-pitying oiks of Liverpool outweighs my dislike for ManUre, and the result made it even less likely that Chelsea (“You love to hate us!™”) will win the Premiership this season. I think this means that the results was the lesser of a handful of evils.
Having shared a pint with the others, after the final whistle in the Man United – Liverpool match, Alan and I made our way to the ground. I bought the obligatory programme (or ‘matchday magazine’ as they seem to be called now), and made my way to my seat. I had a pretty good view, though given the neck ache I had by the end of the game, I think I will try and get a seat closer to the halfway like next time! I ended up sitting in front of one of the most annoying fans I have ever heard. It was a woman (though I do not wish to imply that this was a contributory factor in her being annoying), and she insisted on making sarcastic criticisms all the time, as if she was a highly experienced footballer herself. I could have shot her by the end of the match, the sneering, patronising bitch.
The match itself was highly enjoyable. Forest took the lead within five minutes, James Perch setting Junior Agogo up, and he lobbed the throughball over the keeper and into the back of the net. (At this point, I got an encouraging text from Emma – “Come on you Reds!!!” – who I may well be slowly converting into a Forest fan!) Unfortunately, the next major event in the match was Forest midfielder Sammy Clingan breaking his ankle less than ten minutes into the game. He was stretchered off to a standing ovation, and replaced by teenager, and youth academy graduate Lewis McGugan. Within six minutes, Forest were 2-0 up, and it was the newly introduced McGugan scoring his first goal for the club with a great volley from the edge of the area after a corner was only partly cleared. Two minutes later, the rampant Forest were 3-0 up, with another strong run and cross from James Perch ending with Grant Holt sidefooting the ball over the line from within the six-yard box. After half an hour, the game was as good as over. With Huddersfield showing little in the way of attacking threat, and Forest dominating proceedings, it was no surprise when Perch added a fourth goal after Kris Commons had wriggled free on the left byline and whipped in a low cross. The scoreline stayed the same until the break, and when the teams emerged for the second half, it was much the same. There was a brief moment of worry shortly after the start of the second half when Julian Bennett and Andy Holdsworth had a scuffle when Holdsworth seemed to hold Bennett down after the two of them had fallen over following a challenge for the ball, and Bennett reacted badly. He escaped with only a booking, and Holdsworth somehow got away scot-free. However, all worries were assuaged when, on the hour mark, Junior Agogo got his second goal, controlling a long ball, playing a quick one-two with Grant Holt, and rounding the goalkeeper with a neat stepover before rolling the ball into the empty net. Only minutes before that, Kris Commons had rattled the crossbar with a right-footed effort from fully twenty-five yards, and he went close again after Agogo’s second, curling a free-kick inches over the bar with Huddersfield goalkeeper Matt Glennon rooted to the spot. With the game as good as over, Colin Calderwood took the opportunity to allow some of the substitutes a chance to gain some experience, bringing recent signing Luke Chambers on for John Curtis at right back, and Robert Hughes on for James Perch. Chambers looked solid in his thirty minute cameo, winning several headers, and getting forward a couple of times. Hughes was quieter, but looked comfortable in midfield and got forward on a couple of occasions, clearly looking to match Lewis McGugan and score his first goal for the club. Seven minutes before the end, Huddersfield grabbed a consolation, after a break down the right led to a defensive mix-up, and Robert Hughes’ header landed at the feet of Matthew Young, whose volley looped over Paul Smith and into the top corner. When the final whistle went, the team were given a standing ovation, and the fans streamed out of the stadium.
At this point, I decided it was time for me to start making my way home, and strode back to Nottingham train station, where I caught a train to Ely (this is the experiment I mentioned earlier, not that you’d forgotten something so interesting of course…). Arriving at Ely shortly after ten past seven, I thought it would only be a brief time before I caught a connecting train back to Colchester. However, it turns out that on a Saturday, trains to Colchester only run every two hours, and I had an hour and a quarter to wait. I bought myself a hot chocolate and a muffin, and sat down to wait. Thank God for my mp3 player! The time passed relatively quickly with the help of food and Explosions In The Sky, and the train even turned up ten minutes early, so I was off the cold platform, and into the nice warm carriage earlier than expected. (As I may have said before, this was a good day, and the only thing that didn’t go perfectly was the delay at Ely.) I got back to Colchester at quarter to ten, and caught a bus just after ten. Then it was a short walk back home, and a great day had come to an end.
My next trip to see Forest has a lot to live up to!