words: David Marples
In Lynn Barber’s 2009 coming of age drama, An Education, Jenny Mellor (Carey Mulligan) is a bright and prodigiously talented 16 year old who aspires to go to Oxford University. A chance meeting with David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard) – a charming older man with sophistication, urbane friends and wealth – leads to a developing relationship in which Jenny experiences a whole other world beyond her hitherto closeted 1960s net curtains suburban existence.
Fittingly, the University of Bolton Stadium bore witness to a footballing education as Forest conjured a 3-0 win for the first time since that interminable summer of 1991 when Bryan Adams was at number 1 for what seemed like the duration of an orbit of Halley’s Comet.
(Footnote: ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’ would have been a very different beast had any of Kate Bush, Annie Lennox or Lisa Stansfield taken up the song when offered to them.)
In the age old quandary regarding the precise extent to which one team played brilliantly while the other were woeful, Bolton manager Phil Parkinson summed it up best: "You can't say we played great, we've come up against a team right on top of their game.”
In the opening stages, Forest were like a cat toying with a mouse: holding it down, allowing release only to claw it back then throwing it around for fun before presenting it to its owners as a token of cleverness. Joe Lolley effectively dumped the carcass of a dead mouse onto its owners’ bed for approval when he clobbered Forest into the lead.
Lewis Grabban put Lolley in the clear while the entire right side of Bolton defence took an extended sabbatical on the Trans-Siberian Express. Lolley took the opportunity to indulge in a Phoenix from the Flames recreation of his goal at Middlesbrough.
If you desire to inject a spot of aesthetic beauty into your day, go to the park at lunchtime, take off your shoes and socks, stroll around barefoot in the grass and take a look at how the ball momentarily nestles beautifully in the net. If you have been feeling down, you will feel a whole lot better about things.
With the home fans howling opprobrium at their own team’s performance, the only concern in the away end was that the mouse would somehow escape and come back with its mates armed with a couple of outsized and highly volatile set pieces.
Naturally, Bolton enjoyed a spell of pressure when the game resumed after half-time but once this subsided, Forest promptly went up the pitch and held the errant mouse in its paws before slowly but very deliberately pinning it down to an old wooden floorboard with a sharpened and salient claw.
Despite the protestations, a penalty was awarded when Grabban latched onto a rebound before being hurtled into the top tier of the vertiginous away end by a defender’s leg. Grabban’s penalty was precisely aimed but lacking the power to circumvent Ben Alnwick’s gloved paw.
Nevermind. João Carvalho’s delightful ball to Grabban resulted in him converting perhaps the evening’s most difficult scoring opportunity with alacrity. The weight on the ball from the Portuguese hero was as perfectly judged as a bag of sand to be used in a daring Mission Impossible style heist in the Tower of London to steal the crown jewels.
This meant that Grabban has now missed a penalty then scored a penalty in the same game twice this season – having conjured the same trick against Blackburn Rovers; a neat trick and one in which he has the market cornered.
It could have been more as Forest poured forward like a fine red wine (or Cherryade, your choice), leaking through the Bolton rearguard and making a right old mess of the slightly off-white carpet. No amount of soda water, salt or scrubbing was going to prevent further leakage, especially when the centre-back pairing of David Wheater and Jack Hobbs were about as mobile as a couple of pylons.
The denouement of An Education is rather sad. Jenny finds out that David’s extravagant lifestyle is a sham, built on chicanery and long cons. Moreover, he is a married man. Forest’s education of Bolton was anything but a David Goldman style sleight of hand.
The final touches to Issue Ten are being applied - it will be with you very soon. Expect exclusive interviews with some 80s Forest legends and much more besides.