By Chris Wright
Yes, it may have ended goalless, but last night’s first play-off semi-final first leg between Nott’m Forest and Swansea at the City Ground was actually a fairly decent ding-dong of a game.
Despite being reduced to ten men after just 2 minutes, the Swans had the first-half sewn up – leaving stilted Forest looking like the side with the numerical disadvantage for long periods and going close on a number of occasions.
However, it was a different story after the interval as, presumably following a Billy Davies slanging at half-time, Forest seemed to buck up and actively dominate their Welsh opponents – though, admittedly, without ever really looking like they were going to score from open play.
So, ‘the usual’ then.
Robert Earnshaw did have the ball in the net at one stage, but the Cardiff boyo was a good few yards offside as per and, though Forest really should have landed a penalty during the latter stages of the second-half, the stage now seems set for Swansea to roll us – the perennial play-off bottlers – over at their place on Monday.
The two teams shake hands before kick-off. Note the award-winning carpet of a pitch
Swansea players crowd around referee Mike Dean after having Neil Taylor sent off in the second minute for almost bringing Lewis McGugan’s dreams of fatherhood to an abrupt conclusion
High feet or low bonce? Swansea’s Ashley Williams and Kris Boyd compete for the ball
Paul Anderson shields the ball from the lively Fabio Borini
Dorus de Vries comes to collect a loose ball
Luke Chambers clears his lines as Angel Rangel closes in
The diminutive Nathan Dyer does his best to hold Chris Gunther at bay
Ashley Williams beats Paul Anderson to the ball
Dorus de Vries makes a comfortable save
Lewis McGugan and Leon Britton battle for an aerial ball
Scott Sinclair and Chris Cohen tussle for the ball
Robert Earnshaw turns to celebrate after nodding home, only to see the goal chalked off for offside
Chris Cohen appeals for a penalty after the ball clearly struck Alan Tate’s flapping arm
Dorus de Vries does just enough to ensure Luke Chambers fails to get his header on target
Decked out in a variety of costumes and with obligatory inflatable dragon and sheep in tow, the Swansea fans chant in the stands
Photos courtesy of the PA.