May 24, 2022

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Sheff Utd 1 Nottingham Forest 2: Late Berge header gives Blades lifeline after Colback and Johnson strikes

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A Premier League return after over two decade away is tantalisingly close and if they make it to the final, they will be red hot favourites to finish the job, too. Instead all they had was a one-goal lead at the break – and that courtesy of a Sheffield slip, as well.

Alamy

Jack Colback fires Forest into the lead[/caption]

Reuters

Brennan Johnson wheels away after making it 2-0[/caption] Then Johnson dragged another strike a foot or so wide – this time after his quick feet carved the shooting chance – as Forest threatened to cut loose. And again the home side were left with only themselves to blame, because Egan had all the time in the world to pick a pass downfield, rather than wanting way too long at the back. All in front of his dad, former Forest striker, David as well, who looked on as proud as punch from the stands. Read More on The Sun

But really this was a day for Johnson, Forest and Steve Cooper, the manager who has inspired them from relegation zone in September to the fringes of the top flight in May.
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Even then keeper Wes Foderingham worked wonders in denying Philip Zinckernagel’s initial point blank effort. That was enough for substitute Joe Lolley, who shot in and nicked it away, before charging into the box. The Blades would have been caught light in the middle in any case – yet when Osborn lost his footing as he raced back, they were left without a soul. Whether Forest live to regret those missed chances we shall see, but put it this way.

Game over today. Tie all but over too, so we thought. Until Berge’s header deep in stoppage time gave the Blades a lifeline. Unlike most of those around it, it must be said, as the Blades were left staring at yet another play-off hangover. This is their ninth attempt to win promotion in this end-of-season shoot-out and they have yet to taste success. Clearly one over the eight means yet another hangover. Read how the match unfolded with our blog… The Blades would have levelled if John Egan’s header had been a foot to either side, yet striker Surridge of all people was on the line to nod it away. Read More in Football Yet while young Brennan Johnson clearly has a way to go before he reaches the heights of some of those stars from the golden days, he is definitely going the right way about it. Although if Forest do mess it up at the City Ground they will forever rue the ones which got away in a first half when they could have run riot.

Full marks to John Fleck for scooting back and throwing himself to block his drive… but if his efforts merited more good luck, they got none.
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FREE BETS AND SIGN UP DEALS – BEST NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS For instead the ball cannoned back across the box and Johnson showed the cool, clinical finish of a man ten years older to sidefoot into the top corner. The Blades were certainly rocking, yet while a second goal may have been the knockout punch, it took until 20 minutes from time to arrive. Johnson, still just over a week short of his 21st birthday, struck the killer second goal which took his side oh so close to the Championship play-off final. And then John Egan was guilty of dithering and paid the ultiumate price when Johnson delivered a clinical side footed finish. They’d still have snapped your hand off to be in this position when Cooper arrived. Yet he didn’t have a hope when the rebound fell to Colback a couple of yards out, who really couldn’t miss.

PA

Sander Berge celebrates his late effort[/caption] Joe Worrall’s clever ball into space had sent Surridge haring away, and he deserves credit for not only reaching, but controlling his hooked cross. If that was a chance fluffed, it couldn’t hold a candle to the point blank header Ryan Yates somehow put wide for Forest when James Garner’s cross found him unmarked six yards out. In fact if you asked any fan right now and the chances are the young Welshman would get as big a vote as any of them, after his season in the sun reached a new level here. First Ben Osborn ended up on his backside as he chased back when Forest broke, and could only look on in agony as Jack Colback struck the first. Not that they will complain at a one-goal lead on their own patch. Although two slips from Sheffield United defenders did play a key part in both goals. THEY have always loved their goalscoring heroes at Forest…and in the likes of Trevor Francis, Garry Birtles and Stan Collymore there have been a few. With Johnson and Sam Surridge such a sharp-shooting attacking double act, no wonder and in truth Forest could have ended with hatful.. But you really sensed it could be a day of regrets when Foderingham pulled off a fine double save to first deny Surridge and, even more impressively, Johnson. If it hadn’t been Sander Berge’s last second header, in truth the whole tie would be over already. And if the return leg on Tuesday is anything like this, we are in for a treat.