Clown-refereeing leaves Forest and Rovers in the shade..

Bristol Rovers – 2
Nottingham Forest – 2

A strange game for the Reds really, finding themselves rather spectacularly 2-0 down after around half an hour mark.  This was somewhat fortuitous, as Forest had started the game brightly with Commons forcing a save after only a matter of minutes into the game, having been fed well by the veteran midfielder Neil Lennon.

Sammy Clingan almost got on the end of a Junior Agogo cross, but some brave defending from Stuart Campbell saw the ball find it’s way back to the goalkeeper.  Alas, this was to prove the start of a lull in the game, from which Bristol Rovers would emerge in the ascendency.

Forest had cleared after sustained pressure from the home side, or so we thought, but Carruthers was on hand to get the ball to Byron Anthony, who turned deftly before unleashing an absolute piledriver past Paul Smith.  Very incongruous play from a centreback, and representing the first clearcut chance of the game for the home side.

Tails well and truly up, The Pirates swept forward again from the restart – and Lewis Haldane was felled in the area from a fairly tame Chambers challenge, conceding a penalty which would be difficult to argue against.  Walker took this, stroking the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the goal to put Rovers 2 up in a matter of 2 minutes.

The drama was still in full flow though, after the restart Commons sent the crowded penalty area – Morgan and Anthony challenged for it, and it looked to have come off the Rovers defender and deflected goalwards, although Wes Morgan was seen vehemently claiming the goal to the referee on the way to the dressing room at half time!

Andy Hall, the referee, was starting to show his utter clown credentials by this stage.  He sent off Rovers manager Paul Trollope – who admittedly was rather over-the-top for his response to a perfectly fair looking decision going against him, on the half way line!  He also booked Sammy Clingan then had a lengthy check with the fourth official to see if he’d booked him already.

Forest played their best football of the game shortly after this into stoppage time.  Chambers and Clingan combined well getting the ball forward, with Chambers eventually feeding the ball down the right to Junior Agogo, who fired over a pinpoint cross which found Grant Holt who headed down at the back stick to equalise for Forest.

The second half was less interesting, although the refereeing circus act was to take centre stage as he man-in-the-middle gave a series of baffling decisions for and against both sides.  Rovers almost made us look silly when Williams backheeled the ball in the area, releasing Walker – who couldn’t quite connect with the ball.

A couple of injuries to Rovers players disrupted play somewhat, and it was becoming apparent that Chambers was having difficulties down the right side of defence.  Morgan had to bail him out a couple of times, so fortunately Wes didn’t have his ‘headless chicken’ head on today!  Lennon picked up a booking for arguing for a penalty claim that only he saw after Commons fell over in the area.

Tyson was introduced for Commons with 15 minutes on the clock, and this should have been the catalyst for Forest to kick on, but Rovers continued to pres – with Disley having a shot from a tight angle blocked by Bennett.  Perchy had a shot from range at the other end, which the keeper spilled, but was lucky it fell to a defender to clear.

There was a spell of good end-to-end football as both sides pressed to try to find the winning goal.  Sammy and Lennon thought we had it after Tyson had been cynically blocked by Lescott (having just beaten another defender).  Sammy struck the freekick almost perfectly, the keeper was floundering, but alas it struck Anthony in the wall.

Shortly after this the finale of clown-refereeing reached a conclusion – Grant Holt, who had been booked for a nothing-decision in the first half (which admittedly was his own doing as it was dissent) was sent off for another nothing-decision.  He then compounded this by remonstrating like a 2 year old with the referee – which is a poor show, and fairly typical of Holt.

Forest threw on Breckin for Agogo, and Thornhill for Perch – who it transpires has probably broken a bone in his hand this afternoon – but it was never likely to sway the result and the game finished 2-2.  And so we go into a two week break from league football still without a win, but again with some glimmers of a good performance this afternoon.

With Grant now due a suspension we will be rueing the lack of striker-related transfer activity I imagine, I would say perhaps he’ll learn from his needless hotheadedness, but I’ve said that before and I doubt he will.  Undoubtedly many will be clamouring for action at a manager or boardroom level, personally I’m prepared to show a bit of patience – I’m pleased we are trying to pass the ball well, and build from the back – I do believe that as our injuries subside this is a squad that can deliver promotion over the course of the season – although I would like to see another striker in.

In brighter news, on the day that Forest fans were allowed to revel in a Liverpool win for a change, they spanked six goals past Derby County today, which reportedly could have been more.  I do appreciate that us Reds fans are in no position to be belittling the sheep botherers, but well, it’s still funny! 😆

Forest or Leicester to face Villa in round three..

The winner of the replay between Forest and Leicester City will be ‘rewarded’ with a trip to Villa Park to face Aston Villa.  Despite their Premiership status, that draw wouldn’t be a particularly exciting prospect, although it does give both clubs the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with Martin O’Neill, a not insignificant figure for both clubs in fairly recent history.

O’Neill was a player during Forest’s most successful era, and of course, as manager lead Leicester City to theirs, getting them promoted to the top flight via the playoffs, and taking them to three league cup finals – winning two of them.  So I imagine it would be with fondness that he will be regarded by whichever of our two sets of fans gets to make the trip to the dreary West Midlands for an inevitable shoeing from the Premiership team.

Forest-inspired music: part seventeen

We’re entering the realms of synth-and-sample driven excitement as we go on our merry way to reach the seventeenth track on this godforsaken compact disc.  It reminds me of the kind of music you’d get on old Amiga games, with piano-type riffs with a non-descript instrument weaving a spiralling tune, along with obligatory samples – in this case, of the Great Man himself.

The main drive of the song has him saying “Shut up while I’m talking”, but there are a few extra gems thrown in there.  Take the samples away and you could imagine this being the theme tune to ‘A Question of Sport’ or something, or perhaps the music accompanying a series of goal highlights – probably in the late 80’s or early 90’s though, rather than present day.

The song is called Sorted for Clough, the ‘artist’ is Give us a Kiss, and frankly, it’s not likely to cheer you up in the aftermath of us not signing anybody before the transfer deadline passed!

Another deadline day in the office…

Thousands of Trickies were buoyed by the words of Smoulds, the hints (or downright ‘stories’) in the local media, and on transfer deadline day, they hauled their arses into the office after a hard week’s toil, and prepared to check the internet at least every five minutes, for the chance that they could be the first person to send the group email heralding our new signing amongst their Forest-supporting contacts.

Bosses glanced at screens, full of news feeds, the Forest internet site and perhaps a couple of forums too, some rolled their eyes – understanding it was deadline day, others tutted and filled in a form and filed it away for use in a future performance review.  A few of the more outraged ones gave their poor Forest-supporting reportee a flaying in the middle of the office, infront of shocked onlookers, who hadn’t realised that corporal punishment can still be instigated for flagrant abuse of the company internet facilities.

To a man (and to a woman) though, regardless of the severity of any disciplinary action, it was worth it.  Smoulderwood had said he expected activity – he even hinted that there was likely to be plural moves, certainly he’s often misled them in the way before, last January still rankles with them now, doesn’t it?  But this time surely the bronzen-one will have learned his lesson, and not dropped any kind of hints before he knew he was going to deliver.

Apparently not.  Forest didn’t sign anyone on deadline day, either permanently or on loan – and deep down, despite the constant checking, despite doing irreparable damage to our professional reputations and abuse of company internet access, despite some of us getting a good roasting  at the expense of the office management types, despite all this, they KNEW in their subconscious that Forest weren’t going to sign anybody anyway.

Still, there’s always the emergency loan system, eh Smoulds?