Oldham Athletic – 5
Nottingham Forest – 0
Right, let’s get the referee out the way first – it would be oh so easy to jump on the conspiracy bandwagon and write off this appalling result at the door of the referee, but I’m not about to do that. However, this was the most inept, disgusting, awful, piss-poor, arseholish performance I have ever seen from a referee ever. The early signs were there as he failed to give an advantage that would’ve seen Grant Holt clean through on goal, but the madness started in earnest when Sammy Clingan was inexplicably red carded for a 50:50 challenge from which the Oldham centreback went down like he was shot. There was certainly contact, but it didn’t look at all malicious. Mr K. A. Friend (from Leicester, of all places!) is clearly no friend of Forest.
Then there was the first penalty – it wasn’t one, it was outside the area – I was too far to see whether it was actually a foul by Southall, but needless to say the hapless official immediately pointed to the spot. The second penalty looked soft two – Porter got the better of Cullip before an olympic standard dive assured both the spot kick and Cullip’s marching orders reducing us to nine men. The final act of idiocy of the referee was to almost literally assist Oldham’s final goal – getting in Lester’s way to dispossess him which left Oldham with the chance to compound our complete misery.
But, hapless, useless and deserving of all the abuse he received from the Forest fans today, we cannot just blame Mr K. A. Friend from Leicester. It would have been good to have the opportunity to see us have a fair match with Oldham, but I fear that even if we had we would still have lost. Whilst Oldham played relatively crisp passing football (conditions allowing), Forest couldn’t keep possession for more than 2 passes either before or after the red card. Oldham’s passing was resisted with clown defending and long ball hoofs upfield.
That’s all I’m going to say about the game; the natural reaction will be to blame the referee, but we are in serious trouble if that is used as an excuse for the shockingly poor performance from Forest today. For those of us that dragged ourselves over the Pennines to watch that shower of shit, may I suggest that Forest consider refunding the ticket money – because frankly, we deserve better than that for the support we have given to you. Red cards aside, we capitulated to a promotion rival for the second time in two days – and it’s not remotely good enough.
A special word to my fellow travelling fans today – I was thrilled to be amongst you today, that sounds ridiculous – but we kept on singing and laughing until the end, bizarrely we even applauded our over-paid wasters (the ones remaining, at least!) off the pitch at the end! Oldham fans I suppose are a product of their dreary surroundings, not even a 5-0 home thumping of a promotion rival could raise any kind of atmosphere in the dour Boundary Park. As the cheers subsided from the goals the Forest fans proudly picked up the baton and carried on singing regardless – thank you, trickies – you made a fucking dreadful afternoon have a glimmer of worth for me.
The only other worthwhile thing I have discovered today is that the winding roads over the Pennines are much more scenic and nice to drive on a clear day rather than the way back, which was dark and pissing down with rain. I’m so seething with Forest right now I can’t really put it into words – we have bottled it, we had a seven point lead at the top of the league – now we’re in the playoff places – it’s a disgusting and pathetic bottle-job in anyone’s money. The only slight thing to be thankful for is that the January window opens now – because boy do we need to add to our squad!
Smoulderwood’s post match comments do not reflect our dismay, once again, and perhaps they shouldn’t – he’s not drawn over whether Sammy was right to be sent off or not, but will appeal if video replays suggest otherwise (which I’m confident they will). I wrote before that this time is absolutely key to whether or not Smoulds is “the one”, I hadn’t realised how prophetic that would be – but this is one hell of a kicking for him to pick the team up from, and the fans played their part too by continuing to back the side in the otherwise silent Boundary Park.
I had said on the way up to the game that I was expecting us to lose the game, but with the caveat that Forest were adept at doing something unexpected – well that wasn’t quite what I had intended, but how cruel and ironic fate can be. I’m not sure how many lessons this Foest squad need to realise that they can’t coast their way to promotion this season – but if this wasn’t enough to hammer it through some thick skulls then perhaps we should seek some outgoings as well as incomings during the transfer window.
Also a bit of credit to Oldham – they played well, and whilst it’s impossible to know how the game would have played out with a competent official, I can’t help but think we’d still have been on the wrong end of the scoreline. Aside from the playacting antics of their number 5 and Chris Porter the put in a decent performance, and certainly deserve better fans than the miserable bunch of urchins and chavs that turned out to see them today, many of them leaving well before the final goal rippled the net.