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Match Report


Posted Tue 22 Sep 09 at 22:37 PM

Report: Forest 0 Rovers 1

BENNI McCarthy grabbed his first goal of the season to send Rovers through to the last sixteen of the Carling Cup, but it was defender Phil Jones who'll take the plaudits on the evening at the City Ground.

It was a tough encounter for the much-changed Rovers side and they struggled early on against a lively Forest attack.

But the home side's profligacy in front of goal, allied with some exceptional defending from 17-year-old Jones, saw Rovers keep the home side at bay in the opening exchanges.

Benni McCarthy grabbed what proved to be the only goal of the game, a 37th minute free-kick from the left by the South African was delivered into that corridor of uncertancy and it crept in at the back post.

Rob Earnshaw almost levelled immediately but he saw his dipping free-kick strike the corner of post and bar.

The second half saw Forest again come out with renewed enthusiasm, but again they were kept away by some strong and resolute defending.

Forest were however given a lifeline 20 minutes from time when Steven Reid was harshly adjudged to have handled in the box.

Dexter Blackstock stepped up to take the spot-kick but Jason Brown dived brilliantly to his left to make the save.

Both sides had chances in the closing stages, including a horrendous miss from Robert Earnshaw from a yard out, but Rovers held on to claim clean sheet and safe passage through to the next round.

Watch the match highlights on Rovers Player

As expected Sam Allardyce made wholesale changes from the side that started in the loss to Everton just 48 hours earlier.

Former Real Madrid man Michel Salgado was the only player to retain his place in the starting line-up as the Rovers boss made ten changes.

There was a senior debut for 17-year-old defender Phil Jones, he lined up alongside the returning Ryan Nelsen at the heart of the Rovers defence.

A first start since January saw Brett Emerton fill the right flank, whilst Jason Brown,Martin Olsson,Steven Nzonzi,Steven Reid,Junior Hoilett,Nikola Kalinić and Benni McCarthy were given the chance to impress.

But it was the home side who did all the pressing in the opening stages of the game. Just six minutes in a Chris Cohen free-kick found former Rover Joe Garner rising at the back post. However instead of heading goalwards he chose to head across into the six-yard box where the ball bounced off striker Dexter Blackstock and straight into the arms of Jason Brown.

Billy Davies' side continued to take the game to their Premier League opponents. Another long ball forward from Cohen arrived at the feet of defender Wes Morgan, but he hurried his shot and fired wide.

Defender Phil Jones showed little sign of nerves on his debut, up against the lively strike pairing of Robert Earnshaw and Dexter Blackstock, the 17-year-old put in a display that belied his tender years.

At the midway point of the half Forest were again left cursing their luck, Joel Lynch's centre from the left was flicked goalwards by Nathan Tyson but the ball flashed past the post.

Up until that point Rovers had shown little as an attacking force, but from then on until the half-time whistle they dominated the game.

Croatian Nikola Kalinić headed narrowly wide from Junior Hoilett's cut back, whilst Forest 'keeper Paul Smith flapped at a Brett Emerton corner kick as Rovers upped the pressure.

The deadlock was eventually broken on 37 minutes. When after Martin Olsson had been brought down by Garner Rovers were awarded a free-kick ten yards from the left corner of the area.

It was Benni McCarthy who took the free-kick and took the honours as his peach of a ball flew past a static defence and goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net for his first goal of the season.

The home side almost levelled before the break but Robert Earnshaw was unfortunate to see his dipping free-kick strike the top of the post after Jason Brown had been beaten.

Both sides resisted the temptation to make changes at the break, as the home side were quick out of the blocks with early attacks.

But Rovers, and in particular, Phil Jones, were outstanding at the back. The young defender certainly looking the part alongside the experienced heads of Ryan Nelsen and Michel Salgado.

Benni McCarthy spurned a chance to double the lead on 55 minutes when great play by a lively Hoilett and Salgado down the right saw the ball played to Steven Reid who sent over a dangerous cross but the South African headed wide when well placed.

Whilst Nikola Kalinic went close from another Rovers attack, but his low drive flashed narrowly wide.

Forest were given a lifeline with twenty minutes to go when Steven Reid was adjudged to have handled in the area when the ball looked to strike the top mof the midfielder's shoulder.

Up stepped Dexter Blackstock to take the kick but Jason Brown made a superb save, diving to his left to push the ball away.

Kalinic went close with an overhead kick as the as the match entered the final stage, but on the stroke of the ninety Forest were denied a goal by their own player./

A corner from the right was headed powerfully goalwards by Dele Adebola which Robert Earnshaw somehow managed to hook over the bar despite being stood a yard out.

After that shock there were five additional minutes played but Rovers comfortably saw out time to claim a place in Saturday's draw.

FOREST: Smith, Morgan, Wilson, Earnshaw, Tyson, Garner (sub Anderson 83 mins), Cohen, Gunter, McKenna (c) (sub McGugan 83 mins), Blackstock (sub Adebola 74 mins), Lynch.

Subs not used: Camp (GK), Chambers, McGoldrick, Moussi.

ROVERS: Brown, Salgado (sub Jacobsen 61 mins), Jones, Nelsen (c), Olsson; Emerton, Reid (sub Andrews 75 mins), Nzonzi, Hoilett; Kalinić, McCarthy.

Subs not used: Fielding (GK), Doran, van Heerden, Gunning, Chimbonda.

Booked: Reid, Salgado (Rovers)

Attendance: 11,553

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