Two steps forward, one step back, it's the Nottingham Forest way

The Bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent.
The Bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent.

If Carlsberg did football weeks for Nottingham Forest fans...

You have to go along way back to recall a better few days for those of a Red persuasion.

Forest's impressive away support of nearly 2,900 fans at Stoke.

Forest's impressive away support of nearly 2,900 fans at Stoke.

A 1-0 win over the arch rivals from down the A5-2 to win the Brian Clough Trophy. A late, late winner from Huddersfield to ensure the aforementioned rival's record as the worst team in Premier League history continues for at least another season. The unveiling of stunning plans to enhance the world-famous City Ground.

But this is Forest. And you know for every two steps forward, you can expect at least one back.

And so it proved following the short trip down the A50 to pre-season promotion favourites Stoke City.

It was Stoke who sat back against a workmanlike Forest team with plenty of energy, but Joe Lolley apart, very little creativity.

The hosts allowed the boys in gold plenty of possession, but then looked to hit on the break through the passing of Joe Allen, the pace of Tom Ince and the physical presence of Benik Afobe.

Several times in the first half, promising breaks broke down due to the lack of pace up front and from midfield. - Stoke's goal came from one such occasion after Jack Colback and Daryl Murphy were not quick enough to break clear. By the time Lolley crossed, Stoke had men back, cleared to Ince who fed Peter Etebo, and the number eight drove forward as Forest backed off before firing past Costel Pantilimon, whose effort to save it looked weak at best.

Forest's three in centre midfield enjoyed plenty of possession, but never looked creating anything as the game became a little niggly. Ryan Yates involved in a running battle with the influential Allen, before several players got stuck into Bojan, which ended with the diminutive Spaniard rolling around clutching his toe as Stoke waited to take a throw-in and their supporters bayed for a red card.

The ref apparently saw nothing, which was no surprise, as Roger East, the man in black, had already missed a number of fouls throughout the first half.

The second half started much the same, but the introduction of Carvalho, for captain Watson who had probably been Forest's best player up until that point, gave fresh impetus to the side as they switched from 4-1-4-1 to 4-2-3-1. More importantly it gave fresh impetus to the 2,895 travelling fans among the crowd of 26,736, who again did Forest proud as they made noise throughout.

Adlene Guedioura was then brought on for Yates, before Leo Bonatini replaced Jack Robinson who hsd been booked for dissent and was walking a tightrope for a second card in his running battle with Ince.

But Forest's good 15 minutes counted for nothing, as they were again hit on the break and the £10 million man Afobe held off Milosevic before firing past Pantilimon for a goal his performance deserved.

So, after the euphoria of the last few days, it was back to normality for Forest. Nothing we didn't expect, and they won't come up against strikers of Afobe's quality every week.

Roll on Hull...