As Old Uncle Boff might have said, that was proper, grown-up football. One nil is a proper, grown up score. You can keep your "goal fests" - they speak only of indiscipline, weak spirits and complacency. Give me a game so tight it could strangle a rat, then stab the rat to death with a bodkin. Perfect.
Actually, the perfect game, up to the stabbing of the rat, had seemed more like the usual frustrating affair from Forest, and from Norridge, to be fair. An early chance for Norridge, after Darikwa gave away a free kick, was thumped into the defensive wall.
Dowell shot over the bar, Murphy tried his luck with a drive well saved by Gunn, Norridge's Watkins completely muffed a chance when put clean through, Murphy laid the ball back to Dowell, whose placed shot was batted behind, Murphy wastefully headed over a good cross, Watkins tried again, Murphy tried again, and the referee blew his whistle for the end of the first half, a task he accomplished with a degree of good sense lacking in his overall performance. I don't know who came out on top in the first half - the two sides seemed well matched, and neither made the most of their limited opportunities. In hindsight, however, Forest's defensive effort was reassuringly solid. It was a professional display. A grown up display. We even had dreams of a nil nil draw, something not seen at a Forest game since the flood.
In the second half, things might have slipped away. The dangerous Hoolahan fired one over, Smith had to make a sterling save from Oliveira's free kick, Darikwa had to go off because (a) he was a bit of a liability, or (b) he had been injured after a sneaky foul from Oliveira, or (c) both, to be replaced by Mills, Mancienne fell really badly and probably died before carrying on bravely at full back, and Forest's attacking threat had faded badly.
So on came Carayol for McKay, who had been marked out of things by a very good Norridge defence. And suddenly the game became perfect. He announced his intentions by firing in a powerful shot straight at Gunn, proceeded to scare the bejeesus out of the Norridge defence, and finished by delivering the cross which Murphy prodded in at the near post. The game became perfect because of that one precious goal, but also because Forest managed the game so professionally afterwards, refusing to back off and sit deep, but continuing to press and limit Norridge's opportunities.
Really grown up stuff it was, literally, because the side, especially the defence, seems to be growing up both as individuals and as a unit.
Bear in mind that Norridge's away form has been remarkable this season. In September/October, they have claimed away victories at Sheff Utd, Brentford, Miserablebugger, Reading and Ipswich. They are certainly no pushovers away from home. So give Forest credit - they knew it was going to be tough, they knew they would have to be patient, they knew they would have to defend grittily ... and they did. Well done lads, well done Mister Warburton Warburton, on a proper grown up win.