Norwich City vs Nottingham Forest is a fixture rich in history. Goals after 15 seconds, Robert Green being duped, Clough shouting at the City Stand and marching his team down Lower Clarence Road. Here's David 'Spud' Thornhill to guide you through the ages.
Nottingham Forest travel to Carrow Road tomorrow hoping to avoid us doing the double over them for the first time since (according to Sky Sports) football began; 1992/93.
Norwich v Forest has a rich history and if you discount all their domestic and European trophies, the two sides have been traditionally well matched, with the men from Nottingham leading 27-25 in victories, accruing 99 goals against us in the process including their fastest ever goal, a Jack Lester strike after 15 seconds in March 2000.
The teams first met on 9th January 1915 when Southern League Norwich shocked their Second Division opponents Forest, dumping them out of the FA Cup with a 4-1 win at the City Ground.
It would be almost 20 years to the day until the sides would first meet in the league, coming on Christmas Day 1934. The Canaries lost 5-2 at the City Ground before travelling back to Norfolk to face each other again on Boxing Day at The Nest. The sides completed an entertaining Christmas programme drawing 3-3.
Four years later and with the onset of Britain declaring war on fascism, the two clubs met with both needing points to avoid relegation, with Norwich needing an unlikely 4-0 victory to stay up. City only managed a 1-0 win and went down.
Forest survived in the Second Division for another (albeit war interrupted) decade, before joining us in Division Three South. This time the clubs would meet with both vying for the one promotion spot back to Division Two. Again Forest won that battle, going on to claim promotion and the title by six points. It was an encouraging season for the Canaries though, who after losing 4-2 at the City Ground in August 1950, went 23 games undefeated. A club record.
The clubs would again spend some time apart through the ‘50s and ‘60s bar a FA Cup tie in 1965 when First Division Forest knocked out Second Division Norwich 1-0.
Frequent liaisons resumed in October 1974 at the City Ground. City midfielder Mel Machin, who would go on to become a coach at the club, scored 4 goals in 123 appearances for Norwich. Remarkably 3 of them came in one half here. Norwich were 1-0 down at the break, before Machin’s sudden discovery of the goal rescued the game for City and sealed a comeback win. The result helped City go on to win promotion back to the top flight, with Forest joining us two years later with Brian Clough at the helm.
Famously, Forest’s first season back in the top flight saw them claim the Division One title. On their way to winning the league, Forest played their part in a Carrow Road classic in February 1978. The Tricky Trees raced into a 3-0 lead with only half hour on the clock, but Norwich fought back to claim a 3-3 draw.
In December 1982, Nottingham Forest won 1-0 following a goal from Steve Hodge after only 22 seconds. It was the second quickest goal ever scored by an away team at Carrow Road.
Brian Clough was less than amused with City’s raucous City Standers when Nottingham Forest headed to Carrow Road on Boxing Day 1986. Forest took the lead through Stuart Pearce, before goals from Ian Crook and Robert Rosario goals gave City a 2-1 win. After Rosario's winning goal, the City fans sitting directly behind the away dug out celebrated the goal by hitting the roof. Ole Big ‘Ead was not amused and politely told the locals this was unacceptable behaviour before the police arrived to restore order.
Clough would be centre of attention again three years later when in August 1989, responding to a disappointing opening day draw with Villa and insisting the team bus park on Lower Clarence Road, forcing his players to walk to the ground. As a young Canary at the time, I remember waiting outside the Barclay terrace for the gates to open, wide-eyed as Clough led his team of superstars to the ground, with no security. It didn't have the desired effect and the game ended 1-1.
Maybe the effect of walking over the railway bridge was delayed, as the following season Forest thumped us 6-2 at Carrow Road and 5-0 at The City Ground. As if that wasn’t bad enough, in between those meetings Forest knocked Norwich out of the FA Cup at the quarter final stage at Carrow Road with a Roy Keane goal. Keane celebrated his strike with a forward roll which prompted a famous Clough quote; “If he (Keane) wants to act like that he might as well join the circus”.
March 2000 saw Jack Lester score his record breaking goal, giving Forest the lead after just 15 seconds. Big Iwan replied for City, tying the game up at 1-1.
Robert Green will have less than fond memories of the City Ground after a televised howler in August 2003. Having comfortably caught a cross, Green looked up to see (almost) everyone disappearing upfield to prepare for the anticipated long clearance. Forest striker David Johnson (who made matters worse by being a former Ipswich hero) was brilliantly sly however and hid behind the innocently unaware Green. Before anyone could say “He's behind you”, Green dropped the ball at his feet, ready to launch it. Before he could react Johnson nipped in front of him, stole the ball away and rolled it into an empty net. The clever scoundrel. Forest ended up winning 2-0.
The return fixture on Boxing Day four months later was a more enjoyable occasion for City who had gone top of Division One at Portman Road just 5 days earlier. Before kick off Delia paraded the newly permanently signed former Forest star Darren Huckerby, after his successful loan spell. Matthais Svennson scored on his home debut to clinch a 1-0 win and keep the good times rolling.
Finally Jonny Howson has the chance to claim an illustrious spot in Canary history on Saturday, where if he scores he'll be the leading City goalscorer against Forest. Currently he is one of 8 players who've scored 3 against them. Incentive indeed.