The following article appeared in the official matchday programme - Forest Review - on Saturday 5th November for the game against QPR
Words: David Marples
And so it goes on. Another fruitless away day at Reading yielded yet another two-goal concession and deep unrest in the away end.
Apart from last season’s 3-0 walloping and a 1-0 Lewis McGugan inspired win in 2009, Reading has generally been an unhappy place to visit as a Forest fan. Since 1997, the Reds have visited Berkshire on 12 occasions and left with that winning feeling only twice. Incidentally, the game in 1997 took place at the much-missed Elm Park and featured that miss from Steve Stone in a 3-3 thriller.
If we’re talking unhappy away grounds (and we surely are), then Walsall’s Bescot Stadium must take a bow. The last flicker of a smile next to the M5 came in 2000 when a goal from Dougie Freedman (remember him?) helped us to a 2-0 win. Since then, five straight defeats and no win in 12 matches against the Saddlers, with only four measly draws, are all we have to whisper quietly about.
Gillingham’s Priestfield feels like a worse place than it actually is. Some truly horrifying trips down there overshadow a Jack Lester hat trick in 2000, a Darren Huckerby inspired 4-1 win in 2003 and even that rarest of things, a Spencer Weir-Daley goal in a 3-1 victory in 2005. In concession, no one in his or her right mind relishes a trip to that rickety old temporary uncovered stand in Kent.
Worse than Gilligham? Oldham Athletic. Where to start with quite possibly the coldest away end in the football league? Just typing the words ‘Boundary Park’ brings convulsions of horror and hypothermia in equal measure to this writer. Since 1975, Forest have had the displeasure of playing there on nine occasions. The club has failed to chalk up a win in any of these games. Perhaps the highlight is a tedious 0-0 draw on Boxing Day in 2007 on a day that was so cold that penguins in the Greater Manchester area are said to have gathered around the fire sporting hats and specially made flipper gloves. A 5-0 reverse in 2007, a 3-0 hammering in 2006 and a farcical 5-3 defeat in 1992 are infamous games forever seared into the consciousness of any Forest fan unfortunate enough to have been there.
A trip to Portman Road is looming and despite some memorable wins there, a joyful hop, skip and jump to the car/train/coach after the game is becoming an increasingly rare phenomenon. A 6-0 shellacking in 2005 still smarts a little.
For supporters of an older vintage, a visit to Anfield to see Forest come away with a win is approaching something akin to bucket-list dreams. Time and space doesn’t permit how bad our record at Anfield is but suffice to say, it’s bad – really bad.
Of course, however grim our record at Anfield is, it pales in comparison to today’s visitors’ record here at the City Ground. Infamously, QPR have yet to chalk up a win Trentside. With Philippe Montanier’s men yet to win on the road, it is increasingly urgent that Forest pick up points at home.
*If you are reading this at full time and an enormous duck has been smashed to pieces with shards scattered all over the City Ground, I can only apologise for mentioning this whole thing in the first place.
here to edit.
You can subscribe to Forest Review and receive your copy on the day of the game. Click here for further details.