Raddy: Starting to show his genius again - this time as provider rather than goalscorer...
Nottingham Forest – 3
Plymouth Argyle – 0
This mostly had the feel of a friendly or testimonial game, as consigned-to-fate Plymouth eventually succumbed to a fairly pedestrian-but-competent looking Forest side. One point would’ve been enough to secure third or fourth place, so we are now assured an away tie for the first leg of the play-offs, and with Blackpool usurping Swansea in sixth place this weekend, it could be another trip to the seaside!
So we still don’t know exactly our fate in the play-offs, except that we won’t be playing Cardiff in the semi-finals (barring a heavy victory for Leicester and heavy defeat for the Bluebirds next weekend). Back on to yesterday, Billy put out a pretty strong line-up for the visit of Argyle, although as noted before, clearly the brief was to not risk any injuries in a very niggle-free game aside from one over-zealous challenge by a Plymouth fullback.
Perch Morgan Wilson Gunter
Cohen Moussi Majewski Tyson
With the crowd basking in the sunshine, and with little at stake for us – and with an understandably small following from the South West, the atmosphere was a bit flat I thought. Although it picked up when the Reds started brightly, Moussi found Tys with a cross but he was only able to lob just over the crossbar with a fairly audacious attempt.
Moments later Earnie came very close, a delicious through-ball from Raddy Majewski put him through, and his lofted shot looked goalbound but for the intervention of a swift hand by Stockdale in the Plymouth goal to deflect the shot off target. At the other end Camp was on hand to deny Alan Judge following the fast-becoming-ubiquitous long throw-in.
Just shy of twenty minutes on the clock and we were able to break the deadlock, another fantastic defence-splitting through-ball from Raddy again found Earnie, who calmly slotted the ball beyond the advancing Stockdale and into the goal before commencing his well-practised celebration routine in-front of the A Block. A nice goal, and a very typical Earnie finish!
Despite the goal the game continued to plod along, Tys stuck Stockdale’s hands with a long-range effort, the referee seemingly took pity on our relegated visitors when he refused to give a penalty for a hand-ball by Eckersley in the box to prevent a Majewski pass reaching its’ intended destination.
Plymouth had their best chance of the game after this, a decent strike from Judge brought a diving save from Camp – unable to hold the ball – but fortunately the Moose was on hand to clean up and get the ball clear. The Reds doubled their lead moments later, the Moose put in a great cross which appeared to ricochet between Stockdale, N’Gala and Dex – the latter claiming the goal, but I suspect it came off the defender.
Forest actually started to press somewhat as the half drew to a close, good work from Tys was let down by a poor square ball which would’ve had Earnie clear – as it was, N’Gala was able to intercept. Another effort from Tys was blocked by Judge to win a corner, from which Blackstock just put the ball over which pretty much signalled half time.
As the second half got underway the loathsome Mexican Waving started in earnest – indeed, it was quite well taken up (I still hate them though!), but it’s great to see the crowd in such high spirits. The Reds picked up where they left off in the first half, with some nice passing moves – one of which culminated in a header just over from Dex.
Our visitors weren’t done just yet though, Wes needed to keep his concentration to deal with blocking an effort from Bradley Wright-Phillips from close range. This heralded the Pilgrims having a bit of ‘a spell’ – albeit without really creating many direct chances. With a little over twenty minutes left Cohen was withdrawn – to great applause – for Anderson, and moments later Dex was replaced with McGoldrick, Blackstock receiving a similar ovation.
I can’t think of a polite way to say it, so it’s fair to say the game had become a bit dull – Plymouth had to some degree managed to look a little less vulnerable by closing some of the gaps they had been leaving, and the Reds were perhaps comfortable with a two goal cushion. Tyson picked up a knock and was replaced by Lewis.
Almost immediately on getting on he grabbed the ball for a freekick and predictably spanked it straight at the wall, shortly after that he took a similarly disappointing corner. Oh Lewis, if only you realised how well we all want you to do and applied yourself to that end! Anyway, I digress, we did of course manage a third goal!
The Moose played a nice ball in to McGugan in the area, and the midfielder did well to touch the ball across to Anderson to present his fellow substitute pretty much with an open goal to secure the third – a well-worked and executed goal. It was pretty much the last meaningful action in the game, which just left the fans to remain for the lap of – well – almost-honour? Most remained and the players and staff got a great reception.
It was also nice to see the Forest fans in the Upper Bridgford stand applauding the Plymouth fans as they vacated the away end to start their long journey back to Devon. The biggest cheer of all came for the wee man though, after rumours of departure in recent days, Forest fans were eager to register their support for Billy Davies – who certainly seemed to appreciate it!
Before the game Lee Camp was awarded player of the year – so huge congratulations to him, Wes was runner up with Paul McKenna third. I’m reliably informed the ‘keeper won lots of the supporters club player of the year awards at their awards dinner last night! As I noted when pondering player of the year, it’s amazing to have so many contenders but it seems that Campy is fairly unanimously the people’s choice!
Elsewhere in the league I already mentioned Blackpool have ominously sneaked into the play-offs, continuing their excellent recent run and profiting from Swansea’s dropped points. Things are looking bleak for Sheffield Wednesday after defeat to Cardiff – and this means that next week’s hosts Scunthorpe are now safe from the risk of relegation – making our trip to Glanford Park truly meaningless!
Filed under: Matches | 13 Comments »