Tuesday felt like some kind of watershed moment in the life and times of Nottingham Forest. T
he Reds may have snatched and grabbed in the greatest sense of the word as they overcame a 1-0 thrashing to win 2-1 at Bournemouth to go top of the Championship, but it was far more than that.
You may remember, although, I couldn’t blame you if it has been erased from memory, but just four short months ago, Forest still reeling from the somewhat acrimonious departure of Billy Davies, were routed 4-1 to all but end their playoff dream and in truth, that result flattered Forest to the point where a six or seven goal defeat would have been more deserved for the Cherries.
In some ways, the first half at Dean Court resembled that April day. Forest outplayed, out thought, out battled and given the run around by a side well organised under Eddie Howe and still riding the crest of a wave following a fine first season back in the Championship.
However, there was one stark difference. Forest managed to get to the break with their goal in-tact enabling the manager Stuart Pearce to make two changes. Granted, fairly soon after those changes had been made, Bournemouth scored a scruffy, disappointing, if not utterly deserved goal to give them a lead nobody inside that tightly packed stadium could argue wasn’t warranted.
But this Forest side is different to those we’ve seen recently. It has desire, it has character, and it was an ingrained ability to stick at it no matter how poorly they may be playing.
All of the above are genuine hallmarks of their manager. Forest stuck at their task; they didn’t capitulate and lose four or five nil.
The players roared on by a vociferous travelling support, fought back to win the game 2-1 and see the game out with relative ease – well by Forest standards in any case.
It sent out a message to the players, fans and rest of the league that Pearce’s side can grind out a win at arguably one of the toughest places to visit when playing poorly and being outplayed for long parts. This was a changing of the guard.
Four points from two tricky looking away games inside four days represents a fine return for Pearce and his charges which also sees them sit proudly at the top of the league, albeit after just three games.
They will face another stern test Trentside on Saturday in the shape of Reading and history suggests the Reds will shoot themselves in the foot especially given the hard work of the last few days. But maybe, just maybe, Dean Court saw the dawning of a new era in the history of Nottingham Forest, in more ways than one.
More good news appears to be on the way as former Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner is set to be unveiled, after a long wait, as the new CEO at the City Ground.
Those three letters have been the darling of fans throughout the tenure of Mark Arthur and since his departure for West Yorkshire as they demanded an appointment. Faulkner seems a wise choice, working closely with Villa owner Randy Lerner to reshape Villa under Martin O’Neill, he oversaw huge changes at Villa Park and will be a welcome addition to Forest, bringing more stability to a club clearly going places under Stuart Pearce, a club that is almost unrecognisable compared to the one humbled beyond recognition in Bournemouth’s April sunshine.