Kenny Burns: Nottingham Forest deserve bragging rights as Derby are forced to hold on
IT WAS a point against Derby, but it felt almost like a winning draw. It was more than just a solitary point for Nottingham Forest.
And the way the Rams were time-wasting towards the end, in front of their home Pride Park crowd, showed how well the Reds played.
For me, Alex McLeish's side deserved the bragging rights at the weekend and after three straight defeat to their rivals I think the players and fans will be happy with what they witnessed.
Jamie Ward's leveller cancelled out Chris Cohen's first-half strike but, all in all, it was a solid performance and one that can now be built on in the coming weeks.
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I must be honest, Derby have a great home record and I feared the Reds might be overrun in the middle of the park, that the Rams' engine room would win the battle and therefore the match.
But McLeish is adding a bit of steel to his side, a bit of bite and that is showing. And one player for me who has a great chance of finally stamping his authority on the team is Henri Lansbury.
The £1m buy from Arsenal had not featured much since his summer move under old boss Sean O'Driscoll, yet he has won promotion from the Championship while on loan at Norwich and West Ham in the past.
At Pride Park, I thought he played well and, with games under his belt, there is a real chance for him to push on.
The lad has a bit of class about him, can get stuck in and get up and down the pitch. He will only get better and better. I still feel there is a need for a Paul McKenna figurehead in the middle of the park, someone to play the Simon Gillett role but while being a real leader out on the pitch.
But Lansbury can be like a new addition for the Reds now and that can only be a good thing for the club as McLeish looks to build a promotion push.
Yes, Cohen got a bit lucky with his goal after completely missing his first attempt but when it fell invitingly for a second stab at it, he produced a cool finish to get Forest the lead.
You have to give him huge credit for that and I know Gillett got robbed of the ball for Derby's equaliser, but I don't want to dwell too much on it because, overall, it was a solid performance from Forest.
In the end, there was only one team that was going to win it and I feel Simon Cox is starting to look sharp again up top.
Afterwards McLeish told how the owners have made it clear how much they wanted the win so it shows how passionate they are getting, realising how big a rivalry it is between the two clubs.
And I know they have been quick to pull the trigger with a few sackings last week, like chief executive Mark Arthur, but it also shows they are not afraid to get things done.
McLeish is not afraid to speak his mind. He is animated on the touchline and the Scot is not one to be crossed. But that is not a bad thing to have in the dressing room, somebody prepared to bark orders because the players will not want to cross the line. They will do what they are told, no questions asked.
With that steel, it will help develop that winning attitude, or that mentality not to lose a game, at whatever cost.
With that, and the obvious backing in the transfer market from the owners when it comes to new signings as well, I really feel Forest can now move up the table, close the gap on the play-offs and then cement their place in the top six.
The weekend was more than a draw, more than a point. The performance proved Forest are heading in the right direction under McLeish.