Stoke City 2 Nottingham Forest 1

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 04 October 2003

Expectations are high at Nottingham Forest and after Stoke City's 3-0 loss at the hands of lowly Rotherham in midweek, Paul Hart would have been looking to take full advantage of City's indifferent form.

It didn't take long for Stoke to go ahead and after seven minutes promising youngster Kris Commons whipped in a corner from the right to find Wayne Thomas arriving at the back post, who headed low to confuse Darren Ward and collect his third of the season.

Marlon Harewood seemed to be Forest's most lively man but he met his match in Ed de Goey when he evaded the City defence ten yards from goal and spun round to crack a promising shot, as de Goey stood strong and palmed the ball away.

The Potters showed that their first was no fluke when just after half an hour Stoke broke forward resulting in captain Clive Clarke receiving the ball from the left and crossing for Carl Asaba, who was virtually unmarked and able to head home to the keeper's right.

Forest came out all guns blazing for the second half with Stoke sitting back under pressure for a good 20 minutes.

De Goey proved himself again when Mathieu Louis-Jean supplied striker Marlon Harewood with another headed chance, but the keeper stretched fully to touch the ball round his right post.

Stoke did manage to break the pressure and when they did they looked dangerous, but it was Gareth Williams who took a pop right at the death when he struck a 25-yard shot that crept into the bottom corner of the net.

Forest boss Paul Hart said: "We gifted them a couple of goals and to be honest that's the best we have played in a couple of weeks. On another day we could have had three or four."

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