It’s all systems Agogo for the league campaign!

Nottingham Forest – 4
Gillingham – 0

Well, I said we could win in emphatic style – and boy did we do that this afternoon.  Although much of the ‘credit’ could be given to the Gills for being so absolutely atrocious, you can only play who’s put infront of you – and after a frustrating first half of uber-defensive play from Gillingham, it was good to see Forest break them down and eventually cut through them at will to record a deservedly substantial scoreline.

The game was played infront of a disappointing attendance – 16,330, with a low away following – but I suppose with the trip to Goose Fair only round the corner it was tough for the people of Gillingham to budget for two trips to the midlands in quick succession 😉  It was one of those suspicious attendance figures – I think there were fewer than that in the ground – there were plenty of empty seats in all the sections I could see.

So, the game started and wasn’t particularly thrilling.  Gillingham played in a 4-5-1 formation, which in reality was 9-1.  Forest started with a different overt 4-3-3 formation, Commons dropped for Holt giving us three strikers on the field – although as the game wore on Grant got closer and closer to the left flank.  But certainly it was an attacking statement from Smoulders.

The first half was a lot about possession for us.  There was a lot of patient building from the back, and none-too-much penetrative football as we struggled to find an inroad against a packed defence.  The first chance of note was after around a quarter of an hour, and was really no more than a speculative shot by Kelvin Wilson.  Ten minutes later a Chambers cross brought a header from Tyson saved by ‘keeper Stillie.

A couple of minutes later Neil Lennon passed to Grant, he shot but it came back to Tyson who jinked inside a defender on the D and unleashed a shot which looked to be heading well-wide from my seat, but it curled in and crashed off the post with the keeper well beaten.  At this point we started to look a little more threatening rather than just passing the ball around defence and midfield.

The goal game shortly before half time.  Lennon took a freekick very quickly to Holt out wide on the left hand side, he hesitated before crossing with his left foot, but it turned out to be great ball in – with Agogo positioned well to head home powerfully.  The resulting celebration was quite amusing – a forward roll, followed by the ‘sniper’ routine, was rounded off with Chambers leapfrogging the goalscorer and copying the routine.  Very strange!

The Gills only chance of the first half came shortly after – Wes allowed Delroy Facey past him but fortunately his partner Wilson was on hand to put in a crucial block on a shot which did look goalbound.  So hardly a mesmerising first half, but Forest were in spells attacking well, and passing fluidly.  Certainly the half time break passed more easily than recent ones have done!

Gillingham did start more brightly in the second half, without really creating much – and Forest soon took control once more and piled pressure onto the away side.  The first chance came five minutes in, a Sammy Clingan corner was headed well by Chambers, but was cleared off the line by a Gills defender.  Shortly after Tyson – who worked his arse off today – laid on a tap-in for Chambers, but former Red Nicky Southall was on hand to put in another block.

Shortly after this a Cohen corner was again met by Chambers, this time he keeper was on hand to pull off a fine save to deny him.  Cohen crossed again and this time Morgan met it, yet again to be denied by a diving save from the Gillingham ‘keeper.  Tyson was to be confounded by the woodwork again – shooting well from 18 yards but meeting the inside of the post – the ball fell kindly to Agogo who managed to spoon it over from 3 yards out.

There was a rare break from the Gills, though.  I think it was Facey – since he seemed the only person often in our half – who latched onto a long ball and lobbed Smith to score – only to be flagged offside by Amy Rayner.  He didn’t look offside from where I was sitting, and whilst it would’ve been horrendously against the run of play, I think the visitors had a decent shout for an equaliser there.

However, we were to start scoring again.  Agogo passed the ball out right to Clingan, who pushed it further wide before knocking a cross/shot into the box, which Agogo managed to get onto the end of to head his second goal of the game.  Shortly after this he’d completed his first hattrick for Forest after great work by Tyson – he beat Sodje – who was wearing a bandana thing that made him look like a badger – hit the bye-line and smashed a firm ball across the face of goal, giving Agogo a tap-in to secure the hattrick.

Agogo was taken off and replaced by rookie Emile Sinclair to a standing ovation, understandably, with about eight minutes on the clock.  His first action was to lose the ball on the right hand side, however his second action in the game was to prove more decisive!  Clingan fed the ball to Chambers who crossed low to the near post, and after a bit of pinball in the box Sinclair was able to stab the ball home.

A great result and a well-deserved one – we could’ve had more goals, but anyone unhappy with a 4-0 scoreline would be a bit silly!  It was good to see the ‘togetherness’ exercise from the squad and management staff at fulltime, and frankly, it’s a huge relief to leave the City Ground with a smile on my face.  So well done lads!  Of course, the icing on the cake was hearing that Derby had been tonked at Arsenal!