Match report: Nottingham Forest 2 Birmingham City 2
FOR a man who insists he is not superstitious, Simon Cox certainly does admit to having a few interesting foibles; a collection of unique influences.
But, regardless of whether it was the colour of their shirts or the name of the stadium that helped to persuade him to move to the City Ground, Nottingham Forest will forgive him anything, as long as he keeps finding the back of the net in the spectacular fashion that is fast becoming his trademark.
Cox has already provided two of the best goals to have graced the banks of the river Trent in recent years, as well as netting in equally spectacular fashion at Huddersfield, during his short Forest career.
And the 25-year-old admits he already feels at home at the club, less than two months after signing from West Brom.
****Best Deals**** Van Insurance for 17-24 Yr Old Drivers - Contact Insure365 on 01782 898188 for a quotation, Free Legal Protection Included Valued at £25.00!
Terms: 1 Voucher Per Customer
Contact: 01782 898188
Valid until: Tuesday, June 25 2013
"In football, a lot of players are superstitious. They do think about colours of shirts, names of grounds and the numbers they wear," he said.
"I looked at that when I came here, at a few things that might seem silly. When I went to Swindon, they had just been taken over – obviously Forest have just been taken over. Swindon play in red and Forest do as well.
"The City Ground and the County Ground are both similar names – those sort of things were an influence in my mind.
"I had a really good, really happy time at Swindon. Even without the goals. It was a family club, it was a good place to be. This felt, to me, like going back there.
"That is why I chose to come here. It was not superstition as much as things just feeling right. It felt right. I am honestly not that superstitious. This just felt right to me. It had a good feel about it.
"There are so many similarities to when I was there – and it was a major factor in me coming here."
The one major similarity, from Forest's point of view, is that Cox is scoring goals, just as he did at Swindon and West Brom.
And his strike on Saturday afternoon, as well as being significant in the space of 90 minutes, is likely to linger on far longer in the memory.
After Lewis McGugan had arched a deep cross into the box, Cox controlled with his first touch before lifting the ball over the advancing Jack Butland and into the back of the net with his second, all without the ball touching the ground.
For Forest, it was the start of a dramatic comeback, on what had threatened to be an afternoon of frustration.
And, while a moment of individual brilliance from Cox was the spark for their revival, the foundations were another display of character and team spirit, as well as some important decisions made from the technical area.
Birmingham made the journey across the Midlands with a clear game plan – and it was one they carried out with ruthless efficiency.
With two midfielders sat in front of the back four and an impressive work-rate and level of organisation, Birmingham stifled Forest's passing game.
The home side were never allowed to find their rhythm.
McGugan had come close with a precision free kick that Butland did well to push over and Dexter Blackstock had failed to connect properly with a half chance in front of goal.
But, otherwise, Forest endured a frustrating first half. The theme was maintained after the break, with Forest's impetus normally lost in the final third, once they hit the solid wall of Birmingham's rearguard.
Marlon King was at the centre of both goals, as Birmingham struck twice in the space of two minutes to claim a significant foothold in the game.
Sam Hutchinson produced an outstanding block to thwart the striker as he drove a shot from the edge of the box, but the ball found its way to Hayden Mullins, who lifted a powerful shot high into the back of the net.
Birmingham then introduced Nathan Redmond to the fray and his first touch saw him find King on the edge of the box, where the controversial former Forest man demonstrated the composure to guide a simple, but deadly-accurate shot inside the post.
Cox's moment of genius not only lifted the roof off the City Ground, but also lifted Forest's confidence and, when fellow substitute Dan Harding angled a shot across the face of goal and, via a slight deflection, inside the far post, it was no more than Forest had deserved.
Last season, Forest crumbled after Birmingham had taken the lead here, leading to a painful defeat on a now infamous night in the club's history, with manager Steve McClaren and chairman Nigel Doughty both stepping down from their roles.
Much has changed in less than a year since then, not least the fact that Forest now have the luxury of bringing players like Cox off the bench.
A player of the quality of Chris Cohen, who has been the first name on the team sheet in the past, can now not even force his way onto the bench, such is Forest's strength in depth.
But it was their strength of character that stood out on Saturday afternoon, as O'Driscoll's Forest side simply refused to be beaten.
Afterwards, the manager said it felt like two points dropped at home. But, given the circumstances, it was also a point gained.
And it could still have been all three for Forest, had Billy Sharp had a little more luck with a late header.
Either way, the Reds extended their unbeaten start to the campaign, ahead of a long trip to Crystal Palace tomorrow and you sense the manner of their fightback will only have enhanced the sense of self-belief in the squad.
Whether they are superstitious or not, Cox is not the only player who seems to be enjoying life at Nottingham Forest right now.