Hall of Shame #25: Nottingham Forest 7-1 Swindon Town
After being thumped by Macclesfield Town at the weekend I thought I’d cheer you all up with our long awaited 25th entry into the Swindon Town Hall of Shame… a total demolition job by Nottingham Forest and a hammering that fortunately hasn’t been equalled since. Writes Ron Smith.
This trip to the City Ground in February 2006 will haunt me forever. The 7-1 scoreline in favour of Nottingham Forest was bad enough for any Town fan in attendance at the City Ground that cold winter afternoon, however it was my decision to watch this unfolding debacle from the Trent End which truly rubbed salt into the weeping wounds.
After a pathetic start to the campaign set Town adrift at the foot of League One, results from November had slowly started to improve under Iffy Onoura. With Jamie Cureton finding his scoring boots, Swindon soon had vertigo after rising to 16th in the table a week prior to this trip to the East Midlands.
Our opponents rightfully never let you forget that they had “Headed into Europe and Won the Cup Twice”, yet Forest were back in the third tier for the first time since the 1950/51 season and had been struggling under the hated Gary Megson. A 0-3 defeat at Oldham Athletic on the 15th February signalled Megson’s departure, so Forest turned to the temporary management of Assistant manager Frank Barlow and coach Ian McParland – who later appeared at Swindon under Paul Hart’s ill-fated spell. With both sides seemingly on a par in mid-table, this meeting appeared to provide Town with the opportunity to register a first ever victory at the City Ground in 11 attempts.
Never being one to turn down the offer of a Forest supporting friend with a spare season ticket, I opted to take my seat alongside several thousand in the Trent End. It was a magnificent vantage point in the front row of the upper tier, slap bang in the centre, which I thought would be a great position to watch Town and the 1,188 strong travelling supporters tucked away in the Bridgford End Lower Tier celebrating a first win at the ground…
I regretted the hospitality as early as the third minute as Forest ran riot. A beleaguered Swindon never recovered from a long range shot striking the crossbar only for Town’s defence to show no enthusiasm in clearing the ball, allowing Nicky Southall to half-volley the opener into the top corner past Rhys Evans.
A true mark of any pathetic performance is how many goals that an opposition defender scores. In this case Wes Morgan – who presently has a strike rate of a goal every 27 matches – scored twice and another one for Ian Breckin was thrown in for good measure. Headed goals from Morgan and Breckin from corners fired Forest 3-0 up at half-time, with the Town backline of Andy Nicholas, Sean O’Hanlon, Jerel Ifil and Jack Smith looking desperate having been pulled apart.
The rout continued quickly from the re-start. Nicky Southall bagged two more in the 51′ and 55′ minutes to provide what turned out to be his final hat trick in professional football. His second of the game was simple enough tap-in as he waltzed into the six-yard box unchallenged. His third and Forest’s fifth followed Nathan Tyson’s bursting run down the left flank to unselfishly pick out Southall, again without a Town player in several yards, to strike at goal.
With Forest leading by five goals to nothing, by this point it was clear Town had thrown-in the towel, however there were 35 minutes to go and Forest were unstoppable by Iffy Onoura’s hapless side. After Morgan scored his second from another corner, Jerel Ifil received his marching orders for Swindon when he desperately lunged at Tyson for putting the mockers on him throughout the game.
Strangely the sending-off ruined the goalscoring fun for Forest as Town made the next mark when journeyman striker Trevor Benjamin netted a consolation for Town. I initially tried hard not to celebrate the only bright spot in the game, but eventually joined in with the patronising cheering with the Forest support. I even joined in with the Mexican wave…
In the end the hosts had to wait until 90 minutes for Jack Lester to finish off the rout as his deflected effort looped into the net to complete a memorable afternoon’s football for all but one in the Trent End…
Nottingham Forest used this victory as a springboard, picking up 28 from 39 points in the temporary duo’s 13 games in charge, to narrowly miss out on the play-offs.
Meanwhile Swindon secured ten points from their remaining 11 games to slump to a finish well into the relegation zone, finishing four points adrift of safety, but it really could’ve been greater. For those Town fans at the City Ground that day we all knew that the 2005/06 season would end with relegation…
408 matches later, 7 years and 260 days and Swindon Town have yet to be hit for seven or lose by a six goal margin…
There was an odd atmosphere in the away end that day, Benjamin’s goal was celebrated like a winner at Wembley and if I recall correctly many took a perverse enjoyment seeing Forest put their sixth and seventh goals away. I actually look back on that away day – and many others that season – with a degree of fondness.
This was the fixture on which I built my stag weekend. I had 15 to 20 friends in the ground that day, most of whom were there to see their first (and last) Swindon game. It was completely surreal.
The day went from bad to worse afterwards as we headed to a city centre pub that was showing the Scotland vs England Six Nations rugby that evening. England were clear favourites, and my wife is Scottish. You can guess the rest.
Good to see former Town defender Jerel Ifil – who was sent off in this match – confirm on Twitter that this game deserves to be in the Hall of Shame!
Apart from the result that was one of the best away games I attended. The Town fans were quality and when we scored were singing to Forest you’re not singing anymore just brilliant.
The ups and downs of following Swindon
I also, weirdly, enjoyed that day. The Towns fans chorus of ‘By Far The Greatest Team’ as the seventh goal went in took footballing self satire to levels not seen since the stock ‘So are we’ response to ‘Going Down, Going Down’ chants in the premiership year.
After the game, several Forest fans stopped us to say we, as supporters, had been excellent, one even remarked “you don’t deserve that side, you were excellent, they were shite”.
I didn’t disagree then and I don’t now.
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Well I guess the Scunthorpe game now needs its induction….