A bore-draw kicks off 2007/2008…

Nottingham Forest – 0
AFC Bournemouth – 0

It’s amazing how quickly that wonderful feeling of preseason optimism can dissipate once the game kicks off, or perhaps it shouldn’t be.  For me the first game of the season – particularly when at home – is an opportunity for the manager and players to ‘state their intention’ for the coming season.  If this is indeed the case, I hope that Forest faltered somewhat during today’s performance.

After the Yeovil game Smoulders said he wanted to learn lessons from mistakes over last season, and frankly, there’s a few he’s yet to grasp.  A makeshift midfield saw no fewer than three defense-minded players in Perch, Lennon and Maloney along with Clingan, and Commons in the ‘no-man’s land’ role he seems to prefer, yet seems hugely inefficient when he plays there.

The much maligned Dobie was a lone striker, and I thought he played really well – with little or no service, and even less support from the midfield.  I was disappointed he was withdrawn when he was, quite fancying the idea of him linking up with another striker rather than the wayward Commons, who never seemed to be quite a midfielder or a striker throughout the first half.

Not many highlights spring to mind really.  Wes was lucky to stay on the pitch after hauling a Bournemouth player to the ground (admittedly he wasn’t the last man – but to me it screamed professional foul).  Lennon alone seemed to find time and space on the ball.  Both wingers – Perch on the left and Maloney on the right – looked hopelessly out of depth, Commons didn’t pass on the rare occasions he did get the ball, Dobie worked really hard with little to work with, and Lockwood was often ‘the invisible man’ in space.

Sammy Clingan’s rasping shot off the post, Dobie’s kickups followed by a shot narrowly over were probably the only two really good chances we had in the first half, whereas Bournemouth did cause problems at the other end.  On the whole, it was very reminiscent of last season – too many defender/defensive players on the pitch, too little movement off the ball, and too little supply or support for the frontmen, or frontman in the case of today.  It didn’t help that the linesman was the most trigger-happy I’ve seen in a long time – I’m not convinced Dobie was offside at any point in the game, yet he was flagged around half a dozen times.

Smoulds tinkered with the tactics with half an hour left, bringing Maloney and Dobie off, putting Grant and Junior, both of whom looked horrendously unfit, upfront, and pushing Sammy onto the right, Perch in the middle and Commons supposedly on the left (although Grant seemed to spend more time there).  The team had more balance, but Clingan had excelled in the middle, and now looked less comfortable, whilst Perchy did look a lot happier in the middle – at least before being kung-fu kicked by a Bournemouth player who remarkably stayed on the pitch.

Sammy struck the woodwork again, he had the ball drop at an awkward angle, so can be forgiven for effectively missing an open goal (there were defenders between him and the goal, though), as the referee seemed oblivious the challenges on the Bournemouth keeper.  Commons came close with a freekick late on, and finally Bennett – on as a sub for Lockwood – charged through two challenges in the penalty area giving Agogo a chance to turn and shoot that was well saved.

Ultimately disappointing.  I know we have injury concerns, but the insistence of the manager on playing so many square pegs in round holes left the side over-defensive, under-creative and looking very ill at ease for most of the game.  Bournemouth were lively early on and keen to press, although they tired and turned to spoiling tactics later on.  You can never judge a season on one game, but we need to buck our ideas up before we go to Swansea next week.  A draw was a fair result, so let’s hope for some improvements and sharpish!

Speaking of needs for improvement – 13 minutes on the clock was when I heard the first booing from the crowd, I think that’s a definite area for improvement as well!  The bright points were some good performances – Chambers, Wilson, Clingan and Dobie in particular stood out, but the dull points were the tactics, yet again.  Let’s see players in their best positions please, Smoulders!

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18 Responses

  1. I am sick of Calderwood playing Dobie upfront on his own.

    He is a good player but lacks confidence, and this isnt helped by the lack of another attacker.

    4-4-2 is the way to go.

  2. The sharpest thing out there today was Smoulders’ suit, not a good start :(

  3. Yawn yawn yawn, bored already and it’s only just started.

    I never known a team to have so many injuries before a season. What is going on????

    We have nothing going forward what so ever, why on earth he hasn’t brought or loaned a striker is beyond me.

    Just glad I didn’t waste my money on a season ticket.

  4. Well, I have come home and poainted a door, I’m watching the paint dry at the moment and may watch the highlights later…..oh I also went to the City Ground today.

  5. For us exiles who have to listen via Forest World most of the time, my only interest was noting that McGovern has been in rehab since last season.
    He only said “literally” once this afternoon.
    His previous record was 27 in a match.
    Mind you he does seem to be substituting “composure” instead.

    That’s how boring it was listening to the commentary . . . .

  6. Well thats a 250 mile round trip to see 10 defenders and dobie completed. Anticipation, expectation and optimism replaced by de ja vue. Its early days and many things left to do to completed the jigsaw………….fit players in correct positions in a positive formation and we should piss this league. See de ja vue strikes again !!

  7. I laughed when I saw the line up. Very predictable Calderwood and an even more predictable nil nil draw. We have the strongest squad of players in the division but unfortunately the manager lacks the ability to select the right team. OK we have loads of injuries but how can you play a centre half at right back and 2 right backs in midfield? It’s Bournemouth at home for christ’s sake!!!

    There’s no need to play so many players out of position just because you have only one senior striker. Why not give Holt and Agogo half a game each? Or if Sinclair has impressed in pre-season then he should’ve been given a chance alongside Dobie today. Leave Commons on the left where he is best, Perch right midfield, Maloney right back and make a bloomin decision on the best 2 centre backs rather than trying to play one at full back.

    Our best hope is that we have enough good players to get us up this season in spite of the manager’s ineptitude.

  8. This was a game that Forest were never going to win but Calderwood had to make sure it was one they didn’t lose either. I am surprised that more of our promising youngsters were not given a chance in this game especially as Bournemouth had to include loan players only aquired a couple of days before. For me they got rid of the wrong coaches as well as playing the wrong team and this is going to be the norm for the season. Colin Calderwood and David Kerslake are attempting to get Forest promoted alongside teams like Doncaster, Millwall, Luton, Swansea and Leeds. Forget that Leeds lost 15 pts, they have already clawed 2 back on Forest, beaten Tranmere away and came back from a goal down. Not something Forest are normally capable of. It will be a harder slog this year than last and without a bit of ‘throw caution to the wind’ and faith in younger players playing where they should be and the need to play half fit players in half a game we are not going to do it.

  9. And I am not talking about the result, the formation or the players. I am talking about Forest fans.
    I really wanted to buy a season ticket this year but in the end decided against it. The reason, because I want to enjoy watching Forest. I as a fan accept we are not going to roll over every team in the league and it really frustrates me when other fans boo and vent their frustration. I was really hoping it didnt happen and was tempted to pay £26 for a ticket yesterday but decided against it in fear of what the atmosphere might be like. Needless to say listening on the radio I was disgusted to hear booing before half time.
    The guy should be given at least ten games before we start judging how the season is going. First game = disapointment all round both on the pitch and off it.
    On a brighter note, hopefully by next weekend Agogo and Cohen will be fit enough to start and we will see a different style of play.
    My optimism for the season certainly hasnt gone after one game!

  10. First half diplay was far to cautious ….very few players prepared to run with the ball and risk losing it is the problem …..side wyas far to often …and a real mental block form the midfielders to actually have a shout or put the ball through for the forwards to run onto …a marked lack of confidence to my mind which gives me butterflies
    We will not enjoy promotion plying anything like today … my fear is by the time the
    injuries clear up and we get confidence we will already be palcing the leading pack ..
    once again for the umpteenth season running we have not made the best use of the close season to bring in real quality …or create the right tactical formations …
    mid table or play off is the best I can expect …

  11. Come on CC, show some balls…..we made the Cherries look good because we sat back and soaked up the attacks, the best form of deffence is when the ball is at the other end. The last 10 minutes showed this because when we attacked they couldn’t cope. You do not have many games to try this out CC, because every point maybe needed in the end as we found out last year.

    An if we do not have fit strikers…get one on loan…..2 points lost yesterday rather than one gained.

  12. Oh dear.
    Not a particularly bright start. To sum up, a very defensive looking side playing a poor side at home created only 2or 3 real efforts at goal. The other lot played worse than we did but still created the same amount of goalscoring chances (smart keeping saved us once in the 1st half and poor finishing from their winger saved us 20 minutes in).
    Mind you, I have to say that Dobie played better as the game wore on. In fact he was unlucky to be taken off in my opinion, and unluckier still to hear the shit that came from our fans when he was subbed. What a bunch of tossers some of our lot are. I’m sure that Dobie didn’t ask CC to play 10 defenders and him up front on his own.
    If thats the best tactics that our leader can manage then its gonna be a long season.

  13. I think that there was plenty to be positive about. Wilson looked good, Clingan and Lennon seemed to be forming a good understanding and both played well, and I think the intention to pass the ball around was evident. The downsides were that the players didn’t look as fit and as sharp as I would have hoped, but that will improve and more than anything, we are missing pace and drive in midfield and infront of goal. Once we have Junior back and Davies down the right we will look a different team. Also, we can’t have Chambers at right back, he’s a centre back and plays like that so putting Maloney or Perch there is a necessity for Swansea. Finally, apart from how bored everone cleary was, I thought the fans were pretty positive throughout and I heard only clapping and no booing at the end of each half. Was I at the same game as everyone else?! Does anyone else agree with me?!

  14. I agree mostly – although I heard plenty of booing during and after the game.

  15. I agree with you Wacko about Clingan and Lennon in midfield. But then I rate Clingan anyway and he’d always make my starting 11. Wilson surprised me, I didnt know much about him but he certainly looked solid. (and only hoofed it the once if memory serves).
    I just cant get my head around some of the tactical decisions our Glorious Leader insists on making. Why play a right footed player (Perch) left wing? He looked totally out of his depth in the first half. Does CC not rate Bastians highly enough to give him a start? And as for playing (in my opinion) our best center-half at right back well, it just doesnt make sense to me. Especially when you play a natural full-back just ahead of him.
    He also subbed Dobie at the wrong time. We were controlling the game, and Dobie was playing some neat football. Good control and laying it off into feet. I’m all for attack minded substitutions (I pay good money to see entertaining, goal-scoring football after all), but both Holt and Agogo could have played WITH Dobie at the expense of Perch and Maloney, surely?
    Maybe I’m wrong, only time will tell, but I think we will win this Division in spite of CC, not because of.
    Bloody hell, one game in and i’m already starting to worry!!

  16. I agree with I Just Cn’t Believe it. I was also tepted to go saturday but I was another one painting doors instead.

    I decided against a season ticket this year after about 13 years going, well – ever since I moved back to Nottingham really.

    Nothing i heard on Saturday, or have read since then, or even the summer signings gives me any reason to think about going back.

    Fingers crossed that chages as the season wears on.

  17. yes we should give CC 10 games but he will be gone after that although i hope he proves me wrong.
    He simply has no idea of how to win games, only to smother them. Saturday was as though we hadn’t had a break, same old stuff, slightly better passing game but overall we didn’t look like scoring
    i don’t agree that Dobie had a good game, not necessarily his fault but as per lplay off game once his game picked up CC took him off, what’s that all about
    Bored already but don’t boo this early as it won’t bother CC but it will the players

  18. I’ve had a couple of days to think about Saturday and reflect…. Well I’m still of the opinion I had at the final whistle.
    Calderwood has learnt nothing, we have taken one step back from last season. Ok its the first game and we’ve got injuries (why did we play so many friendlies of which several against local rivals were over competitive hence injuries – who dreamed that pre season up CC !!)
    Its frightening no urgencey, no game plan, you feel the team don’t really know if there is a plan!.
    My view is that Calderwood has up to Xmas to be seriously challenging or he’s out (Nigel surely you’ll put him out of his misery at that time). He’s obviously a nice guy but just not good enough
    Before I get slated for being defeatest after only one game
    I didn’t (and wouldn’t boo) however I know there are better managers out there who would walk on broken glass to manage the Reds especially as I believe we have an exceptional squad who, given the right direction, can definately get us out of this division.

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