Forest done like Kuipers in disappointing home draw..

Nottingham Forest – 0
Brighton and Hove Albion – 0

I was willing to stem my optimism that automatic promotion wasn’t out of reach if we won all our remaining games – but a gap of 11 points to Carlisle up in second place now looks insurmountable in eight games for the stuttering and inconsistent Reds.  All in all, a frustrating and disappointing afternoon against a dogged Brighton side who ultimately came to get a point – even when they had a three-on-one break in the second half!

That said, the Seagulls were certainly up for it in the first half – after four minutes a mix-up in defence with Wilson gifted Nicky Forster an open goal which he somehow (and luckily for us) conspired to put wide under pressure from Wes Morgan.  After the shaky start Forest started to gather some semblance of composure.

Commons had the chance of the half from our perspective, he did well to ride a challenge or two before eventually beating the last man and find himself through on goal – but his right-footed shot was at an easy height for Kuipers to deal with in the Brighton goal, at the cost of a corner to the Reds – it had looked easy for Kris to slip the ball under him.

Tyson did well to head a Bennett cross across the goal, but Thornhill could only strike the post at a tight angle rather than actually hitting the target.  Tyson was looking fast and dangerous but the Seagulls took advantage of a soft referee and basically took him out at will – eventually one such ‘challenge’ on the striker warranted a booking.

A header from Chambers was planted well, but unfortunately straight at Kuipers – the ball rebounding to Chris Cohen who also couldn’t defeat the big ‘keeper.  Again, Commons managed to wriggle free in the box after good work from Ormerod and Thornhill, but the goalkeeper was again equal to it and made the save to concede another corner.

Brighton finished the half with rare forays forward and could’ve taken a cheeky lead with a corner in the closing minutes of the half, an effort from Elphick (amusing referred to as Michael Elphick on Radio Nottingham on the way home – his name is Tommy!) which forced Smith into a rare save, tipping it onto the crossbar.

At half time I made the call without much argument from my neighbours that it was going to finish 0-0.  Forest had looked good in spells, but their end-product was atrocious and the weight of expectation would only make that worse as the game goes on.  Brighton were really only interested in defending and hitting us on the counter-attack, so didn’t appear to pose much threat going forward.

The second half again started with the Reds rolling out the red carpet for Brighton to attack, but quickly we picked up possession again and eventually forced a corner with which Commons found Bennett who flicked on to the back stick where Thornhill missed the gaping goal from four yards by volleying over the bar – the writing was pretty much on the wall from this point.

Morgan headed well from a Commons freekick, but again the Seagulls ‘keeper was alive to the threat and made a diving save to the right to give us another corner.  I suspect this was the ‘worst corner in the world’ moment, a terrible short corner from Clingan to Commons was eventually lost and cleared without so much as an attempted cross into the box.

Brighton continued with a series of playacting in order to falter our play, and eventually Clingan did play the ball out to the outrage of the home crowd, only for the player writhing on the floor in agony to hop up in a sprightly manner and carry on as though nothing was wrong – naturally Brighton returned the ball to us by hoofing it back to Smith.

Ormerod did everything right until the shot, making a great run before hitting a scuffed effort straight at Kuipers.  It was clear that we weren’t looking likely to break down a dogged and defensive Brighton side, so Smoulds made a double-substitution bringing on McGugan and McCleary for Thornhill and Chambers.

The ‘four four two’ formation of the first half (without anyone on the right wing, of course) was now a three-five-two with McCleary on the right – and to be honest, it looked just as disjointed as before with no real shape to the midfield at all, and the players seemingly uninterested in making play easy for each other by making space or even moving on occasions!

In a rare moment of brilliance in the half, Lewis McGugan did brilliantly to beat a man on the edge of the box and unleash a terrific shot that finally saw Kuipers beaten – unfortunately the woodwork denied him as the shot struck the inside of the post and headed across goal in agonising fashion before being cleared to safety.

The final throw of the dice from Smoulds was to bring on ‘couldn’t look less interested without not being there’ Junior Agogo for Cohen, at this point the Seagulls had practically everyone behind the ball and Forest had neither the guile nor effort to break them down.  Even on the break Brighton were more interested in taking the ball in the corner than trying to get a winner.

As the fulltime whistle went the away side celebrated their achievements whilst the home fans and players were probably forced to finally concede that there isn’t a hope in hell of us reaching Carlisle now, and the playoffs is about the best we can hope for.  A frustrating afternoon indeed for all concerned with Forest.

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11 Responses

  1. Ah well, play-offs it is then.
    To be fair we don’t deserve automatic promotion on this showing. Once again good for an hour then out of ideas.
    So, to summarise; we let 2 good young ‘keepers go out on loan (not sure about Roberts but I’m sure Gamble represented England U17s?) and sign someone elses second choice??
    And we keep giving Agogo time on the pitch WHY?
    And while I’m moaning, is Commo left footed? Quite, so play him left-fucking-wing, Colin.
    Now automatic is beyond us, why not let Macleary start at right wing next week, with just Cohen and Sammy in the middle. Nice balance, in my humble opinion.

    Still, on relection but for some great goalkeeping from that time-wasting seagull we would have battered them today.

  2. Couldn’t agree more!

  3. Well, i was there, we all but scored in the 1st half, held back by some very good keeping, even if he was a toss pot ! For a change my lads wanted to sit near the front so we sat in the Brian Clough, one thing stood out a mile our lot do not communicate on the pitch ! The Seagulls were chirping at each other through out the game while Forest bumped into each other went for the same ball or no ball at all, and well in my humble opinion were poorly organised except at the back. I listened with interest to 2 old timers sat behind me who summed it up really well “its a bloody disgrace when the best 2 Forest players are 2 defenders, Bennet & Morgan, Tyson run his socks off but went no where”. I guess we are all fed up with this division and now even the old guys are fed up ! Here we come play off lottery !

  4. Why oh why do ordinary keepers become “world class” when they cross the threshold of the City Ground – or do we make em look good???

  5. I was also there and the thing that really stould out was our lack of movement off the ball. It backs up what Klaus is saying above that our players don’t communicate. We do have good players, on paper arguably the best squad in the league, but they are distinctly ordinary without a decent coach/manager with some tactical nouse, beyond defending. Arthur and Smoulds need to ship out… I fear if we scrape through the playoffs we’ll have another year of this… hmmm.

  6. sorry thats “stood out”

  7. It almost said “stool” the first time, though – and at times it was like watching a steaming pile of stool!

  8. indeed!

  9. Calderwood always seems to ‘succumb’ to changing the formation so that we have more width when games aren’t going well, so why oh why doesn’t he just start with it in the first place?! I don’t think the formation in the first half resembled 4-4-2 (wih or without a right-winger), although we did play ok.

    I just can’t stand Calderwood’s tinkering and tactical ineptitude anymore. The prolonged substitiution fiasco where the whole bench appeared to be dilly dallying over what to do next and the interview afterwards just further confirmed the impression of a manger now bereft of ideas on how to improve. The players shuffling about to Lewis McGugan’s instructions when he came on was just cringe worthy. The players themselves must be wondering why this manager just can’t decide what system he wants to play and stick to it, or indeed why he just won’t play 4-4-2! How Carlisle and Doncaster with their squads compared to ours can be so far ahead in the league with just a handfull of games to go is beyond justification. I hope I’m wrong, but anybody who thinks we can win 3 pressure games in the playoffs is kidding themselves. Forest haven’t won under pressure for more seasons than I care to remember, so what will make them start now?! On top of that, with Tinkerbell pulling the strings, i’m not sure we will even finish in the playoff places.

  10. I hope we gain enough points for the playoffs and as Donny will have to be overcome in the playoffs a win on friday would be a good psycological boost.I just hope walsall dont make it …I hope mcleary does get a run on the right as we are too predictable now.You can take predictable any way you want,………..

  11. Mattyboy, 4 draws & 1 win in 5 games is not inconsistant, it shows Forest are becoming draw specialists. As long as it’s against teams chasing play-offs (promotion is all but gone unless we win our next 2 MASSIVE games) I don’t ming too much. Of course I prefer we win but if they don’t & we don’t then theres no ground loss. As another Trickie said, a draw prevents teams close to us not catching us or moving away from us.

    Anyway, here’s to 3 points on Fri & a chance to catch 2nd…. (even if it’s a distant chance)

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