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A delicious meal during a worrying illness

Perhaps the glorious win over Derby won't mean anything beyond that, but does it have to? Not for now, certainly...

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The ideal scenario, as we all know, would have been for Forest to beat Derby with a Jamie Ward goal, punched into the net in the fifth minute of injury-time when only four were signalled. But, failing that, one that went in off Richard Keogh's 'undercarriage' will do quite nicely.

Derbies can be pretty unpleasant affairs. Before the joy of last season, trips to Pride Park (or whatever that ground with the Starbucks in it is called these days) were horrible, tedious games played out in poisonous atmospheres, the nadir coming in 2012, not long after Nigel Doughty's death when Derby chants of 'Where's your chairman gone?' were countered with 'Let him die' from the away end as Shaun Barker lay prone on the turf.

But on the other hand, they can be rather joyous. The healing power of wins like this, can be tremendous. Before Friday night Forest hadn't won since the middle of September, while the lot from up the road were stylishly sashaying towards the top of the table in the manner of a team with £20-odd million spent on it should. A look at their bench was vaguely terrifying, with multiple man of the match Tom Ince, one-time £24million player Darren Bent, Alex Pearce, Jacob Butterfield and Craig Bryson in reserve. Forest started with a bloke Derby released on a free, a Jamie Ward they had no need for, on the left wing.

Even if you don't quite buy into the parochialism of hating Derby, the sort of underdog, staunch, hugely encouraging victory is probably worth more than the thrashings that the two teams have traded in recent times.

Will it mean a change in fortunes, provide confidence for an improvement in results, secure Dougie Freedman's job and a climb up the table? Who knows. It didn't last season, and Ben Osborn putting the ball in the Derby net was followed a few days later by a shambolic performance at Fulham in which Forest were three down inside half an hour.

But at the moment it doesn't matter. For these few days we can enjoy the win, bask in that warm feeling of contentment that comes with beating that lot. It might well be papering over the cracks, but what marvellous paper it is. Thinking too far beyond that is for objectivity, not for fans. Of course we shouldn't forget the deeper problems at the club, of which there are many and they're slowly destroying it, but this at least provides a distraction, at least. Like a delicious meal during a worrying illness.

Being a fan is about joyous moments; that's why, despite its ultimate failure, Stuart Pearce's tenure was worthwhile because of that moment when he emerged before his first game, and of course the win at Derby. That game provides a neat illustration of how illogical all this business is; sensible people would recognise that a last-minute winner, scored by a youth academy product from Derby, with a beleaguered club hero in the dugout could hardly be topped, so in theory we should never go to another East Midlands derby again in our lives. But we ignore that and go again, because it might happen again.

Of course, this wasn't as good as that, but Freedman at least has given us something. If we lose the next five games and he's binned before Christmas, he'll always have a wonderful, ground-out win against Derby. It's also some form of vindication for him; for all the complaints and the admittedly shonky results, for the most part Forest actually haven't been playing that badly recently, barring a few notable exceptions. While he's not exactly been convincing, it's tough to think who else could have done better under a transfer embargo, with his best player sold in August, his only centre-forward to speak of out until January, and two of his most influential midfielders out for an indeterminate period of time.

So let's enjoy this for now. We'll think about tomorrow, tomorrow. Thanks Dougie.