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Forest fall victim to Rochdale's latest giantkilling act

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Jamie Allen of Rochdale battles for the ball with Kelvin Wilson of Nottingham Forest

Jamie Allen of Rochdale battles for the ball with Kelvin Wilson of Nottingham Forest

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Lars Veldwijk of Nottingham Forest battles for the ball with Oliver Lancashire of Rochdale

Lars Veldwijk of Nottingham Forest battles for the ball with Oliver Lancashire of Rochdale

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A general view of the action during the FA Cup Third Round match between Rochdale and Nottingham Forest

A general view of the action during the FA Cup Third Round match between Rochdale and Nottingham Forest

Getty Images

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Jamie Allen of Rochdale battles for the ball with Kelvin Wilson of Nottingham Forest

THIS is becoming something of a habit for Rochdale. Last year it was Leeds United's fans who watched disconsolately from a stand advertising Clayton Park Bakery and this time the same ignominy was attached to the supporters of a Nottingham Forest side whose season appears to be stuck in decline.

Forest's miserable run now stretches to two wins in 19 matches.

Rochdale played with all the ingredients of a giantkiller, quick to the ball, strong in the tackle and giving everything to hold on to Peter Vincenti's 12th-minute penalty.

Keith Hill's men had to defend with great togetherness during a second half when Forest did at least remember they were playing a team from the division below.

Yet here, too, was the evidence why Forest have been tumbling down the Championship, it is surprising that Stuart Pearce should be in charge of a team with such a vulnerable backline.

Instead, it was the team that sits eighth in League One that showed the greater know-how during the first-ever meeting between the sides. Rochdale might have spent their existence in the lower leagues but Hill's team showed here why it would be wrong to think of them as a muck-or-nettles stereotype.

Vincenti, a free transfer 18 months ago after leaving Aldershot Town, had his chance from the penalty spot after a clumsy challenge by Michail Antonio on the attacking right-back Joe Rafferty and, by half-time, the home side were entitled to think they should have been further ahead.

Vincenti missed a wonderful chance to score a second and there was an even better opportunity for Matthew Done after the Forest captain, Jack Hobbs, underhit a backpass to his goalkeeper Dorus de Vries. Forest were rattled and lucky that Done could not apply the finishing touch.

Rochdale were subjected to a prolonged onslaught during periods of the second half but, like every good Cup team, they benefited from the occasional moment of good fortune during a succession of goalmouth scrambles.

Forest also had a couple of penalty claims of their own. Lars Veldwijk flashed a header wide in his one of his few moments of threat and Josh Lillis kept out Britt Assombalonga when Forest's leading scorer ran clear. Yet Rochdale held out and Pearce will know this increases the scrutiny on him.

Observer

Sunday Indo Sport