CITY 2 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 2
League Division 1
1st January 1972
City Lee(44 pen), Davies(59)
Forest Richardson(41), Martin(48)
Ref Bob Raby
City Corrigan, Book, Donachie, Doyle, Booth, Oakes, Summerbee, Bell, Davies, Lee, Towers – sub Hill(unused)
Forest Barron, Fraser, Gemmell, Chapman, Hindley, Richardson, Lyons, Jackson, Martin, Cormack, Storey-Moore
Francis Lee scores his 11th pen of the season
Wyn Davies grabs the second for the Blues
FROM THE PRESS BOX
Manchester City’s disturbing fallibility in tripping up against the lesser lights of the First Division could well cost them the championship. It is a glaring inconsistency that has already seen three of the teams occupying the last six places snatch five points from one of the title favourites.
Nottingham Forest, a side once more struggling desperately for survival, came to Maine Road to lift their game and earn a point in a 2-2 draw that was a repeat of the result on their own ground in September.
No-one could deny fighting Forest their reward in a see-saw match where they were twice ahead. What can be questioned however, is City’s inability to put away the sort of team who should be beaten both home and away if the championship is to be won. Here was another example of City roaring off at express speed with a 20 minute burst of pulsating non-stop aggression. When the break for which they had strived did not come, the pressure was eased and we had the classic case of the outplayed side sneaking back to grab the lead.
The by now inevitable penalty put City on terms at the stroke of half-time, but despite the battering that was handed to Forest in a second half full of endeavour but little guile, the vital break for the winner would just not come City’s way. Yet the manner and ease in which they scored their second equaliser should have been a clue how to beat The Forest wall that was thrown up in front of gallant goalkeeper Jim Barron. Some skillful play, all too rarely seen in this off-key City performance saw Francis Lee squeeze behind the Nottingham defence before clipping the ball back to Wyn Davies who could hardly fail to have scored.
Rarely, if ever again, did City attempt the ploy that could have given them the extra point to have further reduced the margin of the leaders, and keep them in second place ahead of Leeds, who are now runners up on goal average.
It was disturbing too, to see Colin Bell struggling to stamp his authority in midfield. By his own demanding high standards this was a poor display by a player on whom City rely so much and the outcome was a tilting of the balance in a vital area.
Mike Summerbee had a rare old scrap with Tommy Gemmill, the former Celtic full-back, who has brought defensive stability to the Forest rearguard and it was left to Lee to shoulder the attacking load. Wyn Davies has now come under increasing pressure from defences keenly aware of City’s far post tactics and rarely was the Welsh international able to utilise his aerial menace.
Forest scored twice, but they were rarely dangerous in front of goal and for their second they had to thank referee Bob Raby who slightly deflected a Neil Martin shot that Tony Book later confirmed he had covered.
Book again did well with Willie Donachie also impressive in a back four where Tommy Booth and Alan Oakes once more hardly put a foot wrong.
Peter Gardner writing in the Manchester Evening News 3rd January 1972