Sean O’Driscoll felt Nottingham Forest’s hopes of claiming any reward from their trip to Watford slipped from their grasp in the space of two first half minutes.Forest were trailing 1-0 when Daniel Ayala was sent off seven minutes before the break after collecting his second booking of the game.
Watford capitalised almost immediately and went in at half-time leading 2-0, which is the way it stayed.
And boss O’Driscoll reflected: “It started end to end and we had the best chance, through Danny Collins’ header. We had a threat – and they did as well.
“They have some bright players, but I felt we were coping. It was the same as it had been for much of the season, in the sense that we felt we could score at any minute – or concede at any minute.
“If Danny’s header had gone in, it might have been a different game. The sending off made it really difficult, particularly with the way they play.
“Then conceding the goal was a blow as well because, at 1-0 down, even with ten men, you can reorganise at half time and change your game plan.
“At 1-0, you are going to have free kicks and corners, there are ways to get back into the game.
“The second goal made it a damage limitation exercise, rather than trying to get ourselves back into the game.”
Ayala will now miss the Boxing Day meeting with Leeds at The City Ground (kick-off 12.15pm).