Satisfying win – and just wait until Reds really click
IT is a fitting reflection of life at Nottingham Forest that, while a moment of individual brilliance from Andy Reid was the decisive moment in this game, it is the winger's toil and work rate that are keeping him in the team.
While Reid's spectacular, solo-strike was the moment that ultimately secured three points, the foundations for this win were rather more mundane.
Forest are still, you sense, not quite firing on all cylinders. But, while Darren Ferguson may have protested otherwise, this was a match they still unquestionably deserved to win.
Without being at their best, they were still far the better side.
The Reds may have assembled a squad packed full of prodigious attacking talent, but it is significant that the roots of this much-needed victory were hard work, organisation and, to cap it all off, no little patience.
And, while a host of spurned opportunities from the visitors preserved a sense of hope in a Peterborough side that was remarkably lacking in ambition for a side playing on home turf, Forest were rarely troubled prior to a final five minutes when the narrow margin of their lead inspired a few late nerves as their hosts finally committed men forward.
The consensus of opinion among the Forest ranks after the game – or from Reid and skipper Danny Collins at least – was that they have assembled a squad that should fear nobody in the Championship.
When you look at the names in the squad on paper, it is an argument that is easy to support. Reid is far from the only player at the club who is capable of such moments of brilliance.
But, in recent weeks, the only thing holding Forest back has been themselves, as they continue their efforts to mould a squad that includes 12 new signings into a team that is capable of reaching the heights they believe they can attain.
The events of the summer sparked a sense of hope and optimism that, thus far, is yet to be fulfilled. But that does not mean that all the optimism should have drained away.
Because, after ten matches, while Forest are still to fulfil their potential, the fact that they haven't is completely understandable, as they look to acclimatise to a new manager, a new approach and a set of new owners whose precise expectations remain unclear.
The message from the Al-Hasawi family when they arrived in the summer was that, while promotion was the goal, it was next season when they wanted to see a real push for the Premier League – and if it happened before that, they would be happy.
Whether the bar has been raised since they demonstrated such ambition in the transfer market over the last few months, remains to be seen.
But, in the meantime, it is not as if they have been cast adrift in the race for promotion, with Sean O'Driscoll's men trailing the play-off places by only three points and the top two by seven.
And there are more positives than negatives to be taken from the first few weeks of the campaign, which have seen this new look side show flashes of their potential.
Where fans are concerned, Forest will have earned themselves a degree of patience from the stands, purely through the style of football they are trying to produce.
And patience was certainly the key word at London Road as Posh, inspired by an outstanding performance from keeper Bobby Olejnik, held on amid long spells of Forest dominance.
The majority of the first half was played in the Peterborough half, with Lewis McGugan in particular finding himself with a raft of shooting opportunities.
Four times the midfielder let fly from the edge of the box, with varying degrees of accuracy.
One volley, hit crisply following a clever knock down from Simon Cox, flashed inches wide of the post, while another was well held by Olejnik. The keeper's best save of the first half came from Cox, however, after the striker had tried to bend the ball inside the far post, with the former Torquay man pushing away acrobatically, at full stretch.
After the break, Lee Camp had to produce a rare save of his own when, after Reid had given away possession in midfield, Michael Bostwick drove in a long range effort that he did well to parry – with the keeper having to save again when the same player connected with a header from the resulting corner.
But Reid made amends for his slip by carrying the ball half the length of the pitch and, with the Peterborough defence standing off, lashing a breath-taking shot across goal and high into the far corner of the net from the corner of the penalty area.
Olejnik made further saves to deny Sharp, substitute Jermaine Jenas and Cox again – before the keeper then charged upfield to add height to the United front line for a corner and a free kick, when it seemed the keeper might cap off an outstanding afternoon with a goal.
Fortunately for Forest, the keeper was not able to make them pay for their missed opportunities, as the Reds held on for a win that was more than merited.
The two week break from the action they now have will allow the likes of Henri Lansbury, Chris Cohen, Jenas and Sharp to build their match fitness – and Daniel Ayala to recover from a slight hamstring problem.
When they return, Forest face a visit from table-topping Cardiff City and a trip to promotion chasing Blackpool, which will both provide another test of their own Premier League aspirations.
To claim three points from either of those fixtures, Forest will have to improve again. But, if they can add a little more cutting edge to their recent defensive strength, then they are more than capable.
Because, while they may yet be firing on all cylinders, when things do fall into place for Forest, they will indeed be a match for anyone in this division.
That will come in time – and that is exactly what O'Driscoll and his new- look squad must be given.