Permutations for next week..

Three teams could get second, in three different games – Blackpool are the outsiders, currently two points off second – and they face a trip to Swansea next week.  Forest are the almost-outsiders, with Crewe at home, and Bristol are pretty much the favourites with relegated Rotherham at home.  Anthony from the LTLF forum has kindly done all the work for me on working out how this could play out on the final day – so let’s consider just that…

There are three games not involving any teams, and three teams fate in the balance – so that’s three cubed – that’s 27 possible combinations of results that will occur next saturday – below they are all listed, with cunning coding to distinguish which side finishes where – 2nd place in bold, 3rd place in italic, and 4th place just as it is.  If you click the ‘read more’ button (if you’re reading from the front page) then you can see all the combinations listed below – but to foreshorten this writing, effectively assuming all combinations of results are of equal odds (which of course, they not) this is how it works itself out:

Nottingham Forest
1/3 chance of finishing 2nd
4/9 chance of finishing 3rd
2/9 chance of finishing 4th

Bristol City
14/27 chance of finishing 2nd
1/3 chance of finishing 3rd
4/27 chance of finishing 4th

Blackpool
4/27 chance of finishing 2nd
2/9 chance of finishing 3rd
17/27 chance of finishing 4th

The fat lady waits for another week before she breaks into song, but even if all results have an equal chance of occuring, Bristol City still find themselves very much in the driving seat to maintain their position in second spot.  Certainly come the Crewe game, I shall certainly be checking my phone regularly to try to keep track of results, particularly since you apparently can’t rely on what people hear (or think they hear!) on the radio in the ground given the “2-1 to the Carlisle” debacle last week!

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The final day is set to be a thriller!

Leyton Orient – 1
Nottingham Forest – 3

I suppose it was inevitable really that Millwall would pull a result out the bag against Bristol City today, and consign us to having a glimmer of hope going into the final day.  In a nutshell, if Rotherham can do the unthinkable and hold Bristol to a draw, or better, and we can beat Crewe, then we would have reclaimed second spot on the final day of the season and pick up automatic promotion to boot.  Neil Harris was again instrumental, assisting Robinson’s goal to give Millwall a 1-0 win.

Colin Fray described the game as “the Kris and Jack show” – and as has been the case for our last few games, our two attacking players were again instrumental in us turning around an early 1-0 deficit against a spirited Orient side, and so now whilst we obviously continue to back the Reds at home to Crewe, Forest fans to a man will be also acting as honourary Millers fan for the day, hoping that they will be able to cap off a disappointing season culminating in relegation with a last hurrah at Bristol City.  We can but hope.

The game started slowly, but it was Orient who took first blood early in the game – Adam Chambers playing Lockwood through down the left, where he had time to take a couple of touches before blasting home into the roof of the net from around 15 yards.  Not quite the start we had hoped for, and that’s for sure!

It only took ten minutes for us to equalise, and Jack Lester – so often the catalyst in recent games – found himself on the scoresheet – he got past Luke Guttridge in midfield, got the better of John Mackie before shooting from 15 yards to beat Glyn Garner in the nets with a lovely goal – and well deserved given his recent performances.

We almost took the lead again through Lester, when a 30 yard run saw him beat Lockwood to the ball, ricocheting from another Orient player and back to Lester en route to the penalty area, where his shot brought a tremendous save from Garner.  The lead was to come though, a quickly taken freekick saw Commons finding Lester, who held up the ball expertly before setting up Commons to score low into the corner of the net.

Forest’s domination now really started – Orient sitting back and allowing us space, Commons and Lester were on song together, although were occasionally wasteful – this particular attack saw a poor final ball from Commons.  Gary Alexander could and perhaps should have equalised when he found himself between the centrebacks, but he sent the ball over the bar.  Grant had a near miss at the other end but was blocked by Chambers.

The start of the second half almost saw Forst get their third – a Commons corner finding Grant Holt whose glancing header brought a save from the ‘keeper.  The third did arrive though – a freekick over 30 yards out again saw great combination play from Kris and Jack – Commons feigned a shot, but instead chipped into the area to the waiting Lester who found the net from around 6 yards.

Forest continued to press – and as news filtered through of the Millwall vs. Bristol result, it was a party atmosphere.  Certainly it still seems most likely that Bristol will get a result against Rotherham next weekend, but if we can do the same against Crewe, we will finish 1 point off second, and take some great form into the playoffs – certainly I can imagine both the City Ground and Ashton Gate full and one of them will go absolutely ballistic depending on how our respective results go.  Of course, we could both lose and Blackpool overtake us!

Also congratulations to Scunthorpe United, who despite losing are crowned as League One champions today – and thoroughly deserved too, I might add.  And some not particularly heart-felt commiserations to Leeds United, who – barring turning around a 9 goal deficit on goal-difference – will be plying their trade in League One next season.  All in all, a day that couldn’t have gone much better from a Forest point of view, but it sets up a tense day this time next weekend!

It’s brown trousers time ’til this time next week when we learn our fate!