Full time at Oakwell
Barnsley 1 (Harewood 23)
Forest 4 (Halford 35, Cox 43, Cohen 45, Jenas 78)
The Reds were creators of their own downfall at Oakwell against Forest this afternoon and it could have been a totally different story had they built on their 23rd minute lead.
Four minutes in the Reds had a glorious opportunity from a set-piece after Dawson was upended on the edge of the box. Marlon Harewood blasted the ball sky high, however, as he searched for his first Reds goal.
Again Harewood had another attempt on goal but he snatched at it and thumped over from 20 yards. At the other end Chris Cohen struck straight at Alnwick after a slip from Stones at right-back.
Big Marlon was in the thick of it again as he burst forward down the right onto Cywka’s neat through-ball on 12 minutes but scuffed his shot wide.
Confusion in the Reds box almost allowed Forest in with quarter-of-an-hour gone after Foster and Perkins bumped into each other but, thankfully, Majewski fired wide. Moments later Simon Cox should have nodded his side into the lead with a free header that had Alnwick stranded but somehow he glanced wide from barely eight yards.
A splendid ball from Mellis sent Harewood racing in on goal on 23 minutes and the big forward made no mistake as he rounded of ‘keeper Camp and tapped home. As promised from Harewood yesterday in the press, he didn’t celebrate against his former club.
Harewood was bossing the match and his cross-come-shot was cleared off the line with Done lurking at the far stick just minutes after his opener. Confidence was high for the Reds’ number 16 and amongst the whole team.
Majewski cut in from the left to drill at goal but Alnwick got down well to his right to deny the midfielder.
Forest were level through what can only be described as an awful goal on 35 minutes. Halford cut in from the right and scuffed a shot through the legs of Wiseman and somehow past Alnwick. The defender probably couldn’t have hit his shot any tamer.
The visitors took the lead just before half time and it was another sloppy goal from the Reds’ point of view. Sharp’s shot was saved by Alnwick but the rebound fell straight into the path of Cox who tapped in.
When one minute of stoppage time was shown, Forest made it 3-1. Foster didn’t deal with a punt down the right and Sharp got in behind. His pullback eventually found Cohen 22 yards out and he smashed into the top corner.
Seven minutes into the second half, Etuhu and Kennedy replaced Cywka and Done for the Reds.
Forest were doing what all Sean O’Driscoll sides do well; keep the ball, and Barnsley were having to work hard to keep up. Another change for the Reds came on 56 minutes as Dagnall replaced Dawson.
Kennedy almost caught Camp out with a neat, low free-kick on 64 minutes but the Northern Irish international just go to his curling effort. Dagnall then bombed forward into the box and put in a decent cross for Harewood but Collins intercepted at the last minute.
Collins was booked for upending Dagnall when the striker was set to latch on to a Perkins through-ball and then the Reds almost found a lifeline when Etuhu pounced at the far stick but Camp denied him his first Barnsley goal from barely four yards out.
The wind was now in Barnsley’s sails but Forest were keen to take the sting out of the game by keeping the ball.
Forest then introduced one of their substitutes, Jermaine Jenas – with 21 England caps to his name. Sharp then pounced onto Dan Harding’s 50-yard ball but dragged wide from a fairly acute angle.
On 78 minutes it was game over and the Reds fans were streaming out of the ground. The defence will certainly not want to watch the DVD of this one again at the ball was given away and Jermaine Jenas was put through to dink the ball over Alnwick.
Camp took a Harewood header in his stride as the Reds searched for a way back in but it seemed their heads had dropped after the fourth goal.
Reds: Alnwick, Stones, Foster, Wiseman, Golbourne, Dawson (Dagnall 56), Perkins, Done (Kennedy 52), Cywka (Etuhu 52), Harewood, Mellis.
Subs: Steele, Hassell, McNulty, Rose.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Harding, Gillett, Collins, Cohen, Reid (Coppinger 82), Halford (Ward 75), Moloney, Cox, Sharp, Majewski (Jenas 70).
Subs: Darlow, McGugan, Greening, Blackstock.
Referee: Kevin Friend