Villa Away – Image Gallery

As the referee signalled the end of the game several players dropped to the floor and a loud booming cheer erupted from 2,600 Forest fans housed in one corner of Villa Park. We had witnessed what most of us will probably describe as the greatest match we have ever seen.

Winning matters but would we really have been happier if we had won that game 2-0 courtesy of those early goals? That is a game that will never leave my memory, I am privileged to have watched it unfold. One bonkers minute to the next. By the closing minutes I was trembling, a little in fear but also because I had pretty much lost control of myself.

It is to this team’s credit that I was adamant at 5-4 and with only ten men we could get something from the game. I am convinced that no other Forest team this millenium would have had the guts to come back from that – we were in control before the sending off and the goal immediately after followed by Villa taking the lead for the first time should have been curtains. But wonderfully it wasn’t.

As the home crowd celebrated certain victory and the away crowd got that familiar sinking feeling our boys on the pitch decided to add a final layer of nonsense to an incredible evening.

Lewis Grabban somehow found the tiniest of gaps to equalise and the Forest support burst into joyous, wild ectstacy. I’ve very rarely seen anything like it. Thinking about it now I may have even passed out for a split second. Next thing I am on the seat in front screaming with every ounce of breath in my lungs. Not really celebrating anymore, just screaming. The steward is politely asking me to get down. I look around and everyone else is screaming too.

The thing with football is that I walk into work or talk to my wife or any non-football fan and they don’t understand any of this. It was Wednesday night at Villa, the game was not of huge importance and that equaliser wouldn’t even make a dent in the important goals this football club has scored. But that is why football can occasionally be so incredible. And some of us do get what it means.

It can’t be explained, it can’t be defined. But evenings like this one should be cherished. Don’t worry that we let the lead slip, don’t worry that we shipped five. Just be thankful for it.