Nottingham Forest – 1
Leicester City – 0
*match abandoned at half time – replay date as yet unconfirmed*
It was very much a case of fever pitch versus indifference at the City Ground this evening, but sadly the Carling Cup tie between us and Leicester was called off due to a mysterious illness to Leicester defender Clive Clarke. Under such circumstances, of course, football becomes rather a secondary concern and I hope very much that I speak for all Forest fans in wishing Clive a speedy recovery.
Given recent events, it does seem odd to abandon a game when the player concerned was reportedly conscious and sitting up when taken to the hospital in an ambulance, but given the lack of information available I’m content to take the club’s stance on the situation and if they felt an abandonment was necessary, then so be it – there’s certainly more important things at stake if a player’s life is in any way at risk.
However, I will make mention of the football, as there was some promising stuff from Forest in the 45 minutes that were played. Roared on by nigh on 5,300 fans, Leicester must have fancied their chances with probably a comparable number of Reds fans scattered around the ground. It was Forest who started brightest though, interplay by Commons and Clingan brought an opportunity for a horrendously miskicked scissor kick from Krissy, but it almost found the target, forcing the dodgy-looking Leicester keeper into conceding a corner.
Sammy’s corner almost found the net on his own, but aforementioned dodgy keeper just about got it behind for another corner to the Reds. This time Sammy found Chambers at the back stick, whose header came off the top of the bar and was headed clear. Certainly Forest were starting strongly, amidst fears in the scattered home support that it was to be a game of chances and no conversions again.
It looked to me that shortly after this Grant was unfortunate not to win a penalty. A defensive lapse put him clean through, but Kenton caught up with him quickly, and it appeared that there was contact before Holt went to ground in the box. It’s hard to be sure from the crowd, but I’ve seen them given for a lot less, however we are all well aware of Grant’s ability to go down like a sack of spuds under the slightest contact. It wasn’t particularly impressive to see him harangue the linesman and referee repeatedly after the incident either.
The goal came just before the half hour mark, a Commons corner this time was launched into the six yard box – Forest realising the Leicester keeper had little or no command of his area – and Junior Agogo was on hand to head the ball into the roof of the net, which certainly quietened down the already restless travelling Leicester support, although of course, it was a bit surreal hearing the scattered Reds fans celebrating the goal.
Agogo later tricked his way into creating a chance for Commons, but this time the keeper was on hand to make the save. Leicester’s first real moment of danger came after 40 minutes, Iain Hume made good contact with the ball but Smith was equal to the challenge, tipping the ball around the post to concede another corner. Back at the other end yet again Henderson struggled to deal with a high ball which fell to Agogo, whose shot was blocked for a corner once more.
The very end of the half saw Leicester’s most dominant passage of play, Wesolowski was on the end of a decent cross, turned and shot – he looked to have wrong-footed Smith who managed to make the save with his legs, before the defence cleared successfully, thus heralding half time with scattered applause for the home side, and none-too-little booing from the travelling Leicester supporters.
Then came the confusing announcements – now Forest, you really need to keep the fans better informed than this. As I had a radio on my phone I was able to tune in and find out what was going on, but both sets of fans were restless and behaved in a manner that was inappropriate to the circumstances – I’d like to think through ignorance rather than idiocy, with a bit of slow-hand clapping, booing at announcements and a moron from down the A46 prancing around on the pitch before being promptly arrested.
Even after Smoulds came on to the pitch to announce that a Leicester player had been taken ill, elements of both sets of fans let the side down, and from reports I’ve heard of incidents outside the game (I certainly heard a few roars go up as I rather sensibly headed away from the away end after the game), suggests that a fair number of numbskulls supporting both sides were in attendance.
Of course, the selfish person in me wishes the game had carried on – certainly it’s not without precident in recent times, Cech’s injury didn’t halt the game, for example, and Forest were playing very well and of course, one goal to the good. If I were really cynical then Leicester would also be at a psychological disadvantage by playing on – but I think Forest did the right thing in agreeing to the abandonment, and I applaud their decision to do so, so now we await a replay.
The final note, of course, is to wish a speedy and full recovery to Clive Clarke – and I feel proud that Forest were decent enough to agree to abandon the game.