Nottingham Forest at Derby County. Just another game, right?

Derby's Tom Huddlestone chases Forest's Joao Carvalho. Picture: Jez TIghe.
Derby's Tom Huddlestone chases Forest's Joao Carvalho. Picture: Jez TIghe.

Just another game.

So said Joe Kinnear when he was in charge of Forest, to the derision of Trickies everywhere.

Derby keeper Scott Carson denies Forest striker Lewis Grabban. Picture: Jez Tighe.

Derby keeper Scott Carson denies Forest striker Lewis Grabban. Picture: Jez Tighe.

Fast forward 14 years and the little silver trophy on a pitchside plinth gave a small hint to the magnitude of the match.

The name of the trophy - and the road between the two teams - proved a bigger one.

Brian Clough is synonymous with the two biggest clubs in the East Midlands, and the rivalry between them.

He famously led the home side to a league title and European Cup semi-final, before, via the south coast and Yorkshire, taking Forest to the title and the pinnacle of Europe, twice.

Forest hadn’t held The Brian Clough Trophy for nearly three years, since an early Nelson Oliveira strike secured a 1-0 home win in November 2015.

The results since read lost 1-0 and 3-0 away, drew 2-2 at home, lost 2-0 away and a goalless draw in the last match, at the City Ground in March.

Three successive away defeats. Without a goal.

But the short trip along the A52 Brian Clough Way - nicknamed the A5-2 by Forest fans in memory of a famous derby game eight years ago - offered a resurgent Forest team a good chance to make amends.

A disappointing 1-0 home defeat by Preston North End in their last outing dampened some of the enthusiam among the travelling Reds, but Forest are still firmly in the play-off mix and in Lewis Grabban they have a striker bang in form.

And the fans travelled in number - selling out their allocation in double-quick time - to see if Forest could secure only their third win in 16 visits to the IPro Stadium, or 17 if you count the inaugural Brian Clough Trophy match, a pre-season friendly.

After a frantic first 15 minutes, Derby took a firm grip on the game in the first half, Forest’s makeshift back four - a right back at left back, a left back at centre half and a centre half on loan in Glasgow - struggled when pressed and resorted into long kicks upfield which were easy for Derby’s defence against the isolated Grabban.

That said, Pantilimon only had a couple of straight-forward saves to make and Forest had the better chances over the 90 minutes, Scott Carson denying Grabban when when he should have done better, and Lolley hitting the bar, as well as drawing a fine fingertip save out of Carson.

In truth, it was a typical local derby. Lots of effort, a number of cards, not a lot of quality and the referee the focus of attention at the final whistle.

Keith Stroud - still to show a red card this season after 13 games - is the focus of anger from both fans, denying the hosts a clear penalty and failing to send off Jayden Bogle for an elbow to the head of Forest captain Ben Osborn.

Points shared, the hosts retain the cup and thoughts turn to Forest’s next match, at home to a resurgent QPR led by another man well known both ends of Brian Clough Way, former England and Forest boss Steve McLaren.

But the return Derby derby is never far from fans’ thoughts. Roll on February 23...