The following article appeared in the official matchday programme - Forest Review - on Saturday 22nd October for the game against Cardiff City
words: David Marples
Hildeberto Pereira’s goal against Birmingham here at the City Ground just over a week ago was a special moment for those lucky enough to witness it.
Ranking goals in terms of their quality seems like a futile exercise given the absolute lack of agreed criteria to do such a thing. Nonetheless, were there to be a Hall of Fame for special goals scored at the City Ground, this would certainly stroll in there, arms aloft and fists pumping. There may well have been more important ones down the years but in terms of sheer quality and breath-taking excitement, this one ticks the requisite boxes.
It isn’t the first goal to bemuse and delight the home crowd in equal measure and leave them scratching their heads and wondering how exactly he just did that. Lewis McGugan’s 35-yard free kick against Ipswich Town back in October 2010 was a special strike with dip, swerve and verve. Not content with scoring one, McGugan also played a beautiful ball to Simon Cox in September 2012 – also against Birmingham – for Cox to pull a peerless Dennis Bergkamp impersonation out of his hat to deftly control the ball and tap the ball into the goal all in one fluid movement.
Looking further back, you can take your pick from any one of Stan Collymore’s numerous goals from 1994-1996 – perhaps his efforts against Manchester United and Wimbledon being the strongest contenders – and of course, any piece on great goals scored at the City Ground should include, by law, Johnny Metgod’s thunderous strike against West Ham United in 1985. Deservedly so too.
But the sheer thrill of Pereira’s goal brought back memories of Michail Antonio in full flight.
The young Portuguese player entered the fray four minutes after Birmingham had pulled a goal back and were looking for an equalizer. One wonders whether his instructions included bombing forward on the break and surging upfield. Probably not.
With Forest under pressure in the 83rd minute, Pereira mops up a Blues attack in his own penalty area and then, just for good measure, nonchalantly lobs the ball over an incoming Jonathon Grounds. And he’s off.
He surges through the centre circle, channeling the spirit of Stuart Pearce and Viv Anderson in galloping from the full back area, with an added touch of Archie Gemmill (“He hasn’t seen him. HE HAS NOW!”)
Weirdly, he doesn’t seem to quite have the ball fully under control but this matters not. Space is now at a premium. He dinks the ball out to Ben Osborn 40 yards from goal. But he’s not done – he keeps running.
Osborn – on his 100th appearance for the Reds – has the nous to keep the momentum moving and after a touch forward, knocks the ball into the area for the onrushing Pereira to slot home 8 yards out. The ball resides in the Trent End a mere 15 seconds after Pereira’s first touch back in his own box approximately (and beautifully) and around 8 yards out from the goal he was defending.
A sensational goal from a thrilling player.
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