Forest punish Black Cats
By Mark Kendall & Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The crisis ridden Black Cats were determined to get their campaign off to a good start and they dominated early proceedings - but they could not convert their chances and were punished by Forest.
Young striking duo Kevin Kyle and Michael Proctor combined very well to produce a host of chances for each other in the opening throws - but neither could take any, with Kyle hitting the post and Proctor missing a guilt edged chance when well placed just 15 yards out.
Forest remained cool, despite the early pressure, and Sunderland made a huge error when giving midfield star Andy Reid enough room to play a clinical pass to Marlon Harewood (pictured) on 19 minutes.
The young striker made no mistake with a fantastic first touch which enabled him to take the ball around the on-rushing Mart Poom and slot home from an acute angle.
Harewood had an effort disallowed on 36 minutes when he was adjudged to have fouled Poom, but Forest did double their advantage just minutes later.
Reid, who was undoubtedly man of the match, again created the goal as he curled in a 41st minute corner for French defender Mathieu Louis-Jean, who rose at the near post to flick home.
The second period saw Sunderland lack the attacking threat they processed in the first 45 minutes and the game as a contest flitted away, with Forest looking the most likely to score again.
David Johnson should have indeed opened his account for the new season late on, but after turning the static Sunderland back-line, he blasted over from the edge of the area.
West Ham got their bid for promotion back to the top-flight off to a positive start by coming from behind to record a 2-1 away win at Preston North End.
Strikers Jermain Defoe and David Connolly were the heroes for the Londoners as they ground out a hard-fought success.
The visitors got off to the worst possible start finding themselves a goal down inside two minutes, Scottish international full-back Graham Alexander floated over a teasing cross from the right, and American Eddie Lewis lost marker Anton Ferdinand to nod home from six yards.
However, The Hammers were promptly back on terms and it was Jermaine Defoe who went a long way to restoring his popularity with the travelling fans after his much-publicised transfer request earlier in the summer.
The England Under-21 hit-man reacted quickly to prod past Jonathon Gould after a neat lay-off from Neil Mellor.
Craig Brown's men thought they should have had a penalty on the half-hour mark when Thomas Repka bundled the impressive Ricardo Fuller to the floor inside the box but their protests were waved away by referee Paul Danson.
It was the hosts who made the brighter start to the second half, but they could not turn their pressure into chances and were made to pay midway through the second period.
New boy David Connolly, a second half substitute, made himself an instant hero with his new supporters by notching on his debut, the former Wimbledon star was released down the inside left channel by Matthew Etherington, and cut past Brian O'Neil before coolly slotting past Gould at his near post.
Fuller spurned a glorious opportunity to equalise five minutes from time, but blazed over after a Rob Lee error had given him a clear run on goal.
Paul Merson enjoyed a memorable debut for Walsall by grabbing a brace in The Saddlers' crushing 4-1 win over West Brom.
The much-travelled midfielder produced superb strikes on 16 and 39 minutes to send Colin Lee's men on the way to a memorable win over one of the pre-season promotion favourites.
Further strikes from Jorge Leitao (45) and Steve Corica (57) killed off the game, though the Baggies did grab a consolation through Jason Koumas with twenty minutes remaining.
Crystal Palace got off to a winning start in an action-packed encounter against Burnley despite finishing the game with only nine men.
Scottish striker Dougie Freedman was the hero for the Eagles grabbing a hat-trick after the visitors had both Wayne Routledge and Shaun Derry sent off.
Freedman moved Palace ahead from the penalty spot early on, but Burnley came powering back to take the lead after strikes from Robbie Blake and Lee Roche.
However, two further efforts from Freedman, the winner coming when Palace had been reduced to nine men, ensured Palace left Turf Moor triumphant.
Reading were denied a winning start when Tommy Miller converted a last-minute penalty to hand Ipswich a 1-1 draw.
Alan Pardew's men, who were forced to defend for long periods, especially after having Nicky Shorey sent off, looked set for all three points courtesy of Steve Sidwell's goal before Miller's late-show.
Stoke City made an impressive start to the new season by claiming an excellent 3-0 win at Derby.
Hit-man Gifton Noel-Williams opened his account for The Potters with the first, and Chris Greenacre added a second inside the first twenty minutes.
Lewis Neal produced a late third to make sure George Burley and his troops suffered a miserable opening day.
Millwall saw off newly-promoted Wigan at The New Den, the Londoners dominated the encounter and should have won by more than just the two second-half goals they managed through Dennis Wise and Tim Cahill.
Wimbledon also defeated Division One newcomers, notching a comfortable 3-1 victory over Crewe, though they had to come from behind to do so.
Dave Brammer put The Alex ahead at Selhurst Park, but efforts from Patrick Agyemang, Alex Tapp and Nigel Reo-Coker ensured Stuart Murdoch's charges took the spoils.
Bradford City produced a superb late comeback to deny Norwich City at Valley Parade after the Canaries had appeared to be cruising.
Goals from Mark Rivers (penalty) and Clint Easton had put the visitors in complete control, but late strikes from Ben Muirhead (84) and then Michael Branch (90) earned City a point.
Promotion hopefuls Sheffield United made a somewhat disappointing start to the new campaign after being held to a goalless home draw by Gillingham, while newly-promoted Cardiff also played out a 0-0 draw in their trip to Rotherham.
Watford's clash with Coventry City was postponed due to the tragic death of on loan Manchester United youngster Jimmy Davis.
Click below for match summaries:
Bradford 2-2 Norwich
Burnley 2-3 Crystal Palace
Derby 0-3 Stoke
Ipswich 1-1 Reading
Millwall 2-0 Wigan
Nottingham Forest 2-0 Sunderland
Preston 1-2 West Ham
Rotherham 0-0 Cardiff
Sheffield United 0-0 Gillingham
Walsall 4-1 West Brom
Watford P-P Coventry
Wimbledon 3-1 Crewe
Click here for Division One table
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