words: David Marples
Forest were good. Every single player was good.
Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that Barnsley were not very good – perhaps apart from, in flashes, Ollie McBurnie – and dwell on Forest being very good.
In some ways, it was a tale of two left backs: in the white corner, Daniel Pinillos – he of the last minute equaliser against Derby County last season. In the red corner, Juan Rafael Fuentes – making his debut for the home team. Both have strong attachments to Cordoba - currently in the Segunda División– and both have no doubt had substantially more enjoyable evenings in their careers.
Pinillos had a shocker: constantly turned this way then that by Matty Cash who deservedly won a Mn of the Match award to stick on his mantelpiece. Fuentes looked assured and composed both in defence and coming forward. Yet just before half-time, he and Barnsley full back - Dimitri Cavare - went into a full-blooded challenge and while Cavare got up and walked away, Fuentes remained prone on the turf. He was eventually carried off, requiring gas and air. Being turned inside out by Cash suddenly seemed a more attractive proposition to Pinillos than being stretchered off just 45 minutes into your debut.
By this stage, Forest were two goals to the good after a proper Bobby Dazzler from Lee Tomlin and a confidently taken goal by Ben Brereton. More than that, the home team looked comfortable and in control, as if they might bag a goal whenever Cash received the ball wide right and skipped past his Spanish opponent. Tomlin too was in impish mood – one of those evenings when pretty much everything he tried came off.
Periodically, the Tykes exerted the odd spell of pressure here and there but for the most part, the home defence looked like it could handle it and largely kept the occasional jabs at arms’ length. Even with Michael Mancienne deputising for the injured Tobias Figuerido and Stefanos Kapino between the sticks after a less than assured debut in the previous game against Cardiff City, Forest looked comfortable at the back and chalked up a very welcome clean sheet.
Wet Tuesday evenings by the Trent haven’t exactly been a barrel of laughs or a jug of joviality in recent times but this made for a most welcome change.
ISSUE EIGHT. DROPPING VERY SOON.