Now that the dust has settled on a predictably frantic and tempestuous affair at the City Ground, we can kick back and move on to the busy week ahead now that this behemoth of a derby is over and done with for a while. Even at the best of times, this fixture seems to sap the energy from both teams and fans alike in the build-up, exacerbated on this occasion with its falling after an international break and coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the passing of Brian Clough.
As we transported our tightly knotted stomachs away from the ground, the overriding feeling was one of frustration. After all, taking the lead at such a time in this tightly contested affair should have triggered the ‘game management’ switch and to concede such a scrappy goal is particularly irritating, especially since clear-cut opportunities were at a premium for both sides for so long.
But in truth, Derby County were worthy of their point, a view espoused by Pearce himself: "Derby will probably come away from this happier than we are but I think, over the 90 minutes, a draw was a fair result." He bemoaned a, "lack of quality from both sides" but felt that in games of such tight margins, going ahead is vitally important. Having done so, "I was hoping we would go on to secure the three points."
In many ways, it was always going to be ever thus: keenly contested, generally lacking in quality, an abundance of yellow cards, an obligatory red, the odd controversial decision to cause angst for both sets of fans and a seemingly serious injury. Chris Cohen must be wondering how much bad luck one man can endure, having successfully fought back twice from injury, the first being sustained against Derby on this patch in 2011, only to be once again seen leaving the pitch receiving lengthy treatment on his knee. Rams defender Shaun Barker, who suffered a serious injury of his own against Forest back in early 2012, might be advised to give this fixture a wide berth once he’s fit again.
Nonetheless, a point is not to be dismissed as worthless. To lose Cohen and Andy Reid in the first half yet come so close to taking all three points could be considered something of an achievement and speaks volumes for the team organisation and quality of Robert Tesche and Ben Osborn, who filled some pretty big boots admirably. Mancienne continues to look every inch the player that we dared to dream he might be and as for the boy Assombalonga, if he carries on like this, he risks even more comparisons with Stan Collymore in his pomp.
But, at the risk of getting on a high horse (strides atop a very high horse), the pitch invasion by three dunderheads (two Forest, one Derby) was a tad disappointing to say the least and on reflection, a sad betrayal of the memory of Brian Clough. The pitch, as every Forest fan knows, was Brian’s office and front room, not a place for us fans. We all recall how he expressed his contempt for invading fans when we remember that League Cup tie right here against QPR.
No pitch invasions, please. Not ever. Certainly not on this day.
For all the noise that surrounds this fixture, it was a game in which we performed below par and came very close to winning. For all the ceremony and hype, we can all expel a sigh of relief that it’s done and dusted. The wheels are still fixed firmly to this bandwagon and the pins can remain safely tempered with a cork.
Losing Cohen hurts like hell but if we have anything, we have strength in depth. It looks like we may well need it with a flurry of games over the next three weeks.