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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Turls' Favourite Game

As a festive treat, the lads take a look back through misty eyes and rose-tinted glasses as they discuss the favourite game they've been to involving their side.

To begin with, Turls talks about his favourite game watching Nottingham Forest.

Nationwide Division One
Nottingham Forest 2-2 Leicester City
Johnson (76), Lester (90) - Deane (23), Dickov (41)
Saturday October 26, 2002, City Ground, (Att: 29,497)

It's an indication of the state of your team when your favourite game ends with you snatching a draw at home to your rivals - but this was the year that should have been.

Paul Hart had become manager of the club and was in charge of a group of players he had moulded as youth team coach - Michael Dawson, Andy Reid, Gareth Williams. Add in the experience of Des Walker and the international guile of Jim Brennan and you had a team that looked like it could achieve something.

I travelled to the game with my father - a Leicester fan, a friend from school - a Leicester fan and his father - another Leicester fan. Both camps were in a confident mood.

Leicester would eventually go on to finish second behind Portsmouth, and Forest lost in the play-offs to cheating Sheffield United.

The game was a cracker and the atmosphere was electric but it was the Leicester fans who were cheering after Brian Deane and Paul Dickov gave the visitors a two goal lead at the break.

To be fair, they probably deserved to go in front but sloppy defending allowed Dickov to score. Everyone in the Trent End was shouting at the Forest players to mark Dickov from the corner - he was just idly leaning on the far post!

The crowd was growing restless. Our home form had been pretty decent and was keeping us in the hunt for promotion so it was disappointing to see us 2-0 down to our promotion rivals.

Straight from the whistle, City were trying to waste as much time as possible. Deane was staying on the ground and feigning injury, Dickov was discreetly kicking the ball away and as the game entered the final 15 minutes, the City fans were in full voice.

However, David Johnson stepped up to give the Forest faithful a beacon of hope. City sat back and sat back inviting pressure from the players in Red but no matter how much Harewood, Johnson, Lester and co. attacked, they couldn't break down the stubborn and resilient defence of Leicester.

As the 90th minute came and went, Forest fans were feeling deflated and the Foxes faithful were bouncing around in the Bridgeford End.

Then, out of nowhere - a cross into the box. Johson leaps like a salmon to get there - but misses it! The City keeper comes to collect it in the air and then all I remember is Jack Lester throwing himself at the ball, outjumping everyone, and nodding the ball into the net.

Silence, and then the entire stadium erupts into a state of euphoria! Fans dancing in the aisles! Players humping on the floor!

The truth is, although I was happy with the point, the thing that made the day special wasn't the last-minute winner, it wasn't the atmosphere.

No, the thing I remember most from that day is listening to my friend's dad moan about how lucky Forest were and how they were cheated for the whole journey home. You never forget that.

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