Forest have enough to overcome poor Millwall..

Nottingham Forest – 2
Millwall – 0

Forest continued their excellent form at home in terms of results.  The performance wasn’t particularly brilliant, but two goals from corners was enough to get the three points against a particularly poor visiting Millwall side.  Indeed, checking my email upon getting back (thanks, mate!), I was amused to receive the below picture of a chap catching up on 40 winks during the first half!  If you encounter amusing sights you decide to photograph at matches, please feel free to email them to me!

The Millwall fans were a bit of a disappointment too, normally they’re good for a spot of amusement, but the ragtag bunch who turned up today seemed to alternate between three songs (‘No one likes us.. *YAWN!*, the ‘special’ roar, and derogatory things about Brian Clough, which frankly used to piss me off – but now just makes me pity them, since none of the Forest fans could think of anything approximating legend status for Millwall to retaliate with).

The roar is worthy of comment, though – it’s one of the few chants Joey Deacon of Blue Peter fame could manage, although I like to think that our chums from Millwall are perhaps more cultured than we give them credit for, and it is inspired by Sir Harry Secombe’s performance as Mr Bumble in classic musical Oliver!  Perhaps not.  It was amusing when the Forest fans imitated it, though.

So anyway, to the game.  We started well – and the lively looking Will Hoskins nearly got a dream start to his debut, a through ball from McGugan gave him a chance to connect after an instinctive run into the box, but Millwall ‘keeper Rhys Evans was able to just get a slight touch on it to take it wide.

The game was pretty anonymous for much of the first half, sadly – and when the likes of Tyson et al did make a foray forward, it seemed that their first touch wasn’t quite right, or the final pass was poor.  Lewis had a good effort with his left foot, with nothing on aside from a shot from range he made life uncomfortable for the diving ‘keeper.

The remainder of the half played out in a fairly boring manner, Smith had had nothing at all to do, but Forest had been largely disjointed and looked low on confidence – certainly not aided by an increasingly impatient home crowd who greeted the half time whistle with boos – which was slightly harsh, I thought.

Early in the second half the ‘Calderwood out’ chanting was starting to gain some momentum around the ground, but was quelled quite emphatically after Commons whipped in a corner which Julian Bennett almost flew to connect with, almost pirouetting in midair to power a header goalwards which Evans could only push into his own goal.

Forest’s tails were up, Tyson chipped the ball to Commons whose snap-shot from the edge of the box brought a save from Evans, giving the reds another corner.  Commons again took it, and Morgan headed goalward but was blocked, a bit of a melee took place before the ball fell to Chambers who was able to sweep the ball into the net from around 12 yards out.

Millwall all but wilted, and it was great to see Hoskins get the better of numerous defenders to cross the ball in, which I’m sure was handled, but the referee was having none of it.  Hoskins perhaps should have sealed a decent debut with a goal after this, brilliantly getting himself free of the last man but dragging his shot wide.

He was taken off, having taken a slight knock, to a standing ovation from the home fans – with Grant Holt coming on to a smattering of booing, which is disappointing from ‘support’ers, particularly since he almost glanced in a Sammy Clingan free kick with his first touch of the game.

Shortly after this Commons whipped in a dangerous cross which almost went in on its’ own, forcing Evans into a save, he was withdrawn after this for James Perch, it was good to see Commons back in the side and his corners alone had provided us with our two goals.  Perch was again in a midfield role, and as we’ve seen recently, looked very low on confidence.

Davies was introduced shortly after for McGugan, who also enjoyed a deserved ovation from the home supporters.  Davies was soon involved down the right and a cross towards Grant Holt saw the ball end up just over.  He spoiled this by picking up his fifth booking with a petulant foul with literally seconds left on the clock – both he and Bennett are now out for the Swindon game.

All in all a necessary three points, not a sparkling performance but some positives were evident.  Hoskins looked composed and quality, it was good to see Commons back in the fold and McGugan too returned with a vengeance.  The tactics and formation were still wrong, and hamstring some of our better players (including Hoskins) – you have the personnel to play 4-4-2, Smoulds – the formation they all grew up playing, why not try it you beligerant bugger?

As it is, the result spared the club a ‘protest’ in the carpark.  The pretend journalist in me would’ve been quite intrigued to see it – the last protest I can remember was against Kinnear, and whilst was noble in sentiment, twenty odd people shouting in a carpark is never going to have too much dignity – it’s true to say that history shows us that when the fans do turn, managers don’t have long to sort it out.

9 Responses

  1. Good to get the three points but sounds like we will still need to play a lot better on tuesday if we are going to get another three.

  2. Good review NFFC and bang on the money.

    A good 3 points and some positives with Hoskins and McGugan. My MOTM was Sammy who had a great game especially in the 2nd half.

    Very disappointed with the booing of Grolt. We really do need to support the team and the players.

    Bring on Leeds…!

  3. Been reading your comments all season mate ,good balanced reporting on all things red.Im a life long red dad and family from notts have been going to see the reds since i was 5 im 36 now.

    Live in edinburgh so cant get down as much as i would like but your reporting is always a good source of honest appraisal on the lads and smoulds.

    Certainly any forest fan who has half an ounce of football sense has seen no real improvement in our situation this season.Lack of drive ,poor team selections,needless away defeats have left us stairing down the barrel of another world of shite again.

    Forest have a bottle problem have done for many years now, when it comes to the cutting edge we cant cut it at the moment.The problem is right at the top mr arthur does not have the savvy to make forest cutting edge.Calderwood is out his depth and also does not really know how to make forest a cutting edge promotion chasin side.Ok we beat a poor millwall side today but it cant hide the deeper issues look at the stats they tell the story we are in the shite again.

    For once we have some decent talent at the city ground but the arthur deadwood connection is not gonna lead to any success is it.?

    Lets just hope we can come away from dirty / lucky keeds with some repect.U reds !

  4. Good comments Red Eric…Lets get back the 3 points from leeds that they stole from us earlier in the season.Counter attack seems to be our strength.Lets hope it’s used to full effect on tuesday.Our weakness is the manager…………………….

  5. Brilliant blog NFFC. Have been reading it for about a year now and I am loving it. I am norwegian and living in Norway so naturally I do not get to see many games first hand. I feel you have a balanced view on things and that the “pretend journalist” in you is even better than you think.

    I have been following the Reds for the last 20 years and for the first time in many years I like the squad of players. For once we have a squad of players that are better attacking than defending. I feel we have the quality, if not the depth, in the squad to have the ambition to succesfully attack just about every team in this leauge. I must give credit to Calderwood for asembling the squad even though he does not have a clue how to use it. Can anyone tell me why lennon was not playing every game as our captain? He has all the qualitys the squad is lackin: vast experience, winning attitude, born leader and playing as a holding midfielder. With all the attacking minded midfielders we posess he was everything we needed to balance it out. To sum it up I am happy with the players Smoulds has brought in, but I am fearing what is becoming more and more evident: namely his lacking motivational capabilaty and inept tactical skills. Without these qualities you can never be a succesfull manager so I am afraid we have to start another search. In spite of my doubts about Calderwood I am still refusing to write of our chances of promotion and will hope intill the end.
    U REDS

  6. Game of two halves, but there were enough positives in the second period. We played 442 for a start with Tyson pushing up along side Hoskins, Wes was immense again in the back four and all the players came out with a more positive attitude second half – so maybe some credit to the half time talk by CC ??

    Our Achilles heel is the fans and will be until we decide to get behind the team for 90 minutes no matter how bad they are playing. Some people were on to the team soon after Hoskins had that first chance – within 5 bloody minutes ! As for booing at half time, this always p***es me off – what good do you think it does?, it’s just going to put more pressure in them. Boo at full time or preferably not at all. And its down right disgraceful to boo a Forest player coming on as a sub.
    Visiting teams know all this and use our fans against us, they know if they can keep Forest out for 10 -15 minutes the crowd will turn on them – and we, the crowd, fall for it every time. The players must hate playing at the City Ground.

    We won and we are third so lets get behind the team no matter what and make the City Ground a cauldron of noise – put the pressure back on the opposition.

  7. Spot on Paul, it’s an absolute disgrace to boo your own player when he comes on the pitch. Very well done guys, you probably have pissed Grolt so much that he picked up his fifth booking on the 93rd minute… I don’t understand u people, I really don’t…

  8. Chaps, not all of us booed at half-time. And that despite the fact that the players looked bereft of ideas and creativity the longer the half wore on. That was typified with some of the long hopeful punts upfield. That is not what I pay my money to see. But, like thousands of others, although we were shocking in that first half we know that booing will not solve the problem.
    Unfortunately we have watched our team out-played and out-thought on so many occassions this season it is difficult to get excited these days. I sing and chant, but quite often I feel like a “solo” voice in the lower trent!
    It is generally accepted that we have the most talented group of players in the division, but the most poorly organised. Look at the 2nd half, went a goal up, crowd were galvanised and it seemed like every time we attacked we’d score, or at least work their keeper. Why? Because we stopped hoofing the bloody thing up front. We attacked with pace and power and kept it on the deck.
    So I suppose credit is due to CC for spotting the problems and addressing them at half time. Just a pity he waited until 20 odd games into the season to figure out what we’ve been telling him from day one.

  9. Why are we seeing all these negative vibes now when its been the same story all season. Pants first half and a totally different team emerge in the 2nd? Is it CC’s cunning plan? Is it his inspiring half time teamtalks? Or is it that the players don’t like attacking the Bridgeford end?

    Saturday was nothing new and all in all, a professional job was done on Millwall. I couldn’t fault the effort of anyone, least of all Tyson who covered so much ground. Hoskins can only make Nathan a better player – the instruction Hoskins was giving Tyson at corners, when closing down defenders was constant an Nath seemed all the better for it.

    McGugan was McGugan – just gets better every time he plays. Saturday wasn’t so much about the attacking McGugan but more of the win the ball back, hold onto it, steady the ship McGugan which I thought he did fantastically. Sammy looked out of sorts to me, his distribution was dreadful. Not sure what EgorTheRed saw that I didn’t.

    A quick word on the debutant – good positional play, fabulous footwork, great communication, decent pace. Just needs a couple of games to gel with Tyson and McGugan/Chambers/Commons who are our most attacking players and I think we’ll start seeing him at his best.

    Final thought – what goddamn formation are we going to play when Agogo gets back? I assume some sort of 4-3-3 with Hoskins and Tys the “wide” forwards and Agogo through the middle. Commons, Cohen and McGugan in MF and our usual back four. But CC hasn’t left Clingan out of a single game yet so who knows who will make way.

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