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Forest 1-2 Brighton

Another defeat but a little bit of hope was restored with a second half performance that saw the handbrake well and truly released.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Forest went into this game in 20th place in the Championship table and nine points from the dreaded perforated line.

Forest came out of this game in exactly the same position, having lost again. Yet the second half performance offered a glimpse of hope that they are not quite planning to go moseying off to the beach just yet.

After news reports claimed that the owner and chairman - Fawaz al-Hasawi - liked to be involved in team selection, it was quite clear who was behind the line-up for this game: the deployment of a gaggle of like-minded midfielders behind a non-striker in the shape of Jamie Ward appeared to have Pep Guardiola's imprint all over it. The announcement of the team raised eyebrows higher than a quizzical-looking Carlo Ancelotti on Mastermind having been asked a question on crop rotation in the fourteenth century in feudal Europe.

This was a risky strategy and although Henri Lansbury supported Ward at every available opportunity, the whole thing looked like a bowl of Rice Krispies dropped on a tiled kitchen floor.

Just like in the opening game of the season, Eric Lichaj struggled a little with Kazenga LuaLua and his challenge led to the set piece which resulted in Lewis Dunk nodding in to give the visitors the lead.

Despite some promising moments, it wasn't really happening from a Forest perspective. Predominantly left-footed Ben Osborn laboured on the right wing and as if to compound matters, Ward hobbled off clutching his hamstring. On lumbered Dexter Blackstock. And we hadn't even reached half-time. It was all panning out pretty much as most feared with Forest sleepwalking towards another home defeat with the only hope of scoring a goal stemming from the vain hope of some horrific lapse in defending from the visitors.

Fortunately, the second half performance was different. From a free kick eerily similar to Brighton's from which Dunk nodded in, Blackstock did pretty much the same. If he's good for anything, he's very good for a far post header: it's his forte.

From then on, we had it all: players running forwards on the break with pace and energy. Full backs hurtling forward and taking on opposition full backs. On occasions, Forest had as many as four players making forward runs in an effort to forge a chance on goal. This was unprecedented. If there was a game plan, it's as if the players had an impromptu meeting huddled in the toilet at half time and thought 'Sod it. Let's go out and have a go.' However this came about, it was a whole lot more fun.

Such unbound enthusiasm for attacking was reminiscent of a team that had caught a whiff of a Pringle and then before they knew it, they were jumping around with handfuls of crushed Pringles, gorging themselves with gay abandon, proclaiming the aforementioned potato-based snack to be the greatest thing ever since their first taste of Hooch in the local park. They couldn't get enough and were clearly enjoying themselves.

As were the crowd. The fairly low attendance, swollen by a kids-for-a quid offer - which only seems to inspire a performance of Munchean wailing in recent years - were responding in kind by by getting fully behind the team. All it took was a bit of bottle, energy and running forwards to get the home crowd onboard once again.

But then, football is football and Steve Sidwell grabbed a winner as the game strode into added time.

A strange thing happened then. After a stunned silence, there was no mass tipping of plastic seats. There was no booing and general angry shouting in the direction of the home dugout. Not this time. In fact, there was a small smatter of applause, as if to say, 'unlucky, lads'.

It wasn't much but it spoke volumes regarding the crowd's attitude toward the second half performance. The attacking intent was noted and appreciated. As long as the team were seen to be giving it a right old go, this was enough. For now.

Forest still lost - again - and any glory to be had from this discarded wet wipe of a season disappeared into the depths of the trash a long time ago. Nonetheless, it made a lovely change from being stunned into dazed submission by a zombie team. It offered a glimmer of hope that Neil Warnock's resurgent Rotherham might not grind them into a fine dust and nonchalantly throw them over their shoulder come Saturday.

A football fan wishes for the moon and stars but as long as they see attacking intent, a desire to win and a bit of heart, they'll accept the thrill of the view from a tall building. For now, that'll do, Forest. That'll do.