Forest’s cup run ends with a whimper rather than a bang..

Luton Town – 1
Nottingham Forest – 0

Before the game Smoulderwood said we had nothing to fear from Luton Town, from anybody.  He was wrong.  We should have feared our own inability to stand up and be counted in games like this.  We should have feared him not picking a sensible formation (four central midfielders, with two wingers on the bench?).

Had we heeded these fears, and contested the match sensibly, then we may well be looking forward to a new year cup tie with Liverpool rather than falling back on the tired (whilst perfectly valid) old cliche of concentrating on the league.  This is the reward that the poor buggers who travelled to Kenilworth Road were granted – whereby there wasn’t even the day out to compensate for the poor performance that those of us who went to Chelsea last season could take solace in.

Of course, the bright side to this is that this appalling display has probably reinforced the conviction that Liverpool – this evening pulling a European cat out of the bag and progressing to the knockout stages (the bastards!) – would have absolutely annihilated us in the next round.  Probably by only fielding their reserves.

You may detect I’m a little peeved about all this.  You see, I don’t mind losing – and I do prioritise the league above everything else, but there is no excuse for us not to compete, not to try.  The feedback I’m hearing is that this is precisely what happened, and frankly that is no way to reward fans much more committed than I who travel the country to often be subject to dirge.

So anyway, as to the game, Luton are decent at home – we know this already, they beat us in the league!  It took 20 minutes for either side to start to create, and inevitably it was the home side with Smith kept very busy in keeping Forest in the match.  The Reds got forward, but created little.  By the end of the half Luton had Forest pinned in their own half for around 15 minutes solid.

It was only 8 minutes into the second half when Luton got their goal – Spring crossed and Andrew was on hand to convert at the back post.  Shortly after this Lockwood handled in the penalty area, fortunately the referee opted to give a freekick on the edge instead.  Forest did start to show some promise after falling behind, however.

Lockwood shot on the volley from 18 yards from a Grant Holt pass, coaxing the first save of the match from the home goalkeeper.  Luton still looked dangerous on the break though.  Smoulds introduced Agogo and Commons for Tyson and McGugan, whilst leaving potential danger-outlet Arron Davies sitting on the bench.

The best chance Forest had was created by Cohen who latched onto a ball in the middle of the park, he beat the ‘keeper but unfortunately the shot didn’t have enough power to cross the line, enabling a Luton defender to track back in time to clear the ball.  Luton then went on the offensive and but for some desperate blocks by Perchy could’ve extended their lead.

So there ends another cup run, and a chance to cash in on a televised home tie.  Once again when called upon with die with a whimper rather than with a bang, and once again we get left feeling let down.  On the bright side, on that kind of performance Liverpool would’ve put more than six past us, and we would officially be worse than Derby!

So, let’s concentrate on the league now, shall we?  Good luck to Luton against the filthy Scousers, I’ll certainly be cheering on you in the new year.  At least their players might get paid now…