Referee grants Forster's wish

NICKY Forster's Christmas wishes came true earlier than expected as the Blues' striker fired home the winner at Sheffield Wednesday in controversial circumstances.

By Derek Davis

NICKY Forster's Christmas wishes came true earlier than expected as the Blues' striker fired home the winner at Sheffield Wednesday in controversial circumstances.

Forster had helped Darren Currie compile a light-hearted Christmas present list for his team-mates on the eve of their game at Hillsborough and the striker had asked for Santa to abandon the offside rule.

Father Christmas came in the guise of one of referee Iain Williamson's assistants, who kept his flag down when Jason De Vos looked to be in an offside position to take Gavin Williams' through ball, before slipping it across for Forster to score an 88th-minute winner. Forster gratefully accepted the gift and netted his third goal of the season.

He said: “We had joked that not having the offside rule would be a perfect Christmas present and it looks as if that might have been the case.

“No matter, it was an important goal for me and for the team.”

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In a game where chances were sparse for the Blues, Forster admitted it was not a great game but was happy to see the Blues keep their first clean sheet, another present on Currie's gift-list in his Green 'Un column.

Forster said: “It was scrappy game, the surface was not particularly good and we had to withstand some pressure.

“The defence did extremely well and we have kept a clean sheet, which was also on the list. Wednesday had a few chances, and sometimes you have to reply on your keeper, and Lewis Price made a couple of good saves.”

“We would be more than happy to keep grinding those sort of wins out. From our point of view, 1-0 is better than 3-2 because the more you are letting in goals the more you have to try and score yourself and goals have been hard for us to come by.”

The win keeps a reasonable buffer between the Blues and the relegation zone, which Wednesday have dropped into, and Forster warned it was vital Town kept their distance.

The former Reading striker admitted Town were slipping in the wrong direction before arresting the slide and needed to win going into a hectic festive period.

He said: “We cannot be complacent about where we are. We are half-way through the season but we have not clicked yet. We keep saying it, but we are not far away from being a decent side and one that can push up the table. Nevertheless, we have to keep our eye on the other end of the table.

“Our results recently have meant we have been going down the wrong way, so we had to bear that in mind. It was important to

“Other teams around us also won, so we can not sit back and ignore what is going on below us. We have to climb away from here and get into mid-table first and then push for the top six.

“It is good going into the Christmas period on the back of a win. We have drawn too many games so if we can keep getting 1-0's that will suit us.”

Strikers thrive on goals, and Forster admitted he was concerned about not finding the net for six weeks, but feels he is finding top form again after recovering from a knee injury. He said: “I have struggled a bit since I came back from injury but I have worked hard on and off the training pitch and in the last two or three games I feel as if I have been getting back to my sharpest.

“I have not had much service, or many chances, so when that vital one came my way I was delighted to take it.”

The winner was his first away goal for Town and he was pleased to do it for the 700 or so hardy Blues' fans who braved freezing conditions, and a dire game, to stay to the end and cheer their heroes.

Forster added: “It was good to score away from home but, for that, I would also like to thank the travelling fans.

“They were magnificent to come all this way in the freezing cold and with us under pressure for so long. I was just pleased in the end that we could give them something to cheer about.”

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