Robbed by Leeds again!

Leeds United – 1
Nottingham Forest – 1

I was set to declare February 12th as Julian Bennett day, after he not only scored but cleared one off the line this evening at Elland Road.  Alas a harsh penalty gave Leeds an equaliser from the spot, in a hotly contested game in which Forest can feel rightly disappointed not to have won.  That said, a couple of handball decisions weren’t given against us, so maybe there’s a hint of sour grapes.

Driving home from work with the radio on, Robin Chipperfield went through the teams and announced Forest starting with a back five, which had me howling with derision – much to the consternation of my fellow commuters, wondering quite why somebody was headbutting his steering wheel repeatedly.  However, credit where it’s due, Smoulderwood’s tactics so nearly delivered that win.

In many ways a draw was predictable, Leeds have struggled to win anywhere lately – and our away performances of late do not bear revisiting.  Tonight was not one of those, tonight was a spirited performance from the Reds who created a plethora of chances which will leave us all wishing that Nathan Tyson in particular had a bit more confidence and composure at the moment.

The first half proved to be a high-tempo but scrappy affair, both sides clearly feeling the pressure of the fixture and making unforced errors aplenty.  The first chance of note fell to Commons from range, the familiar “why is he shooting from there?” comment aired on the radio, the ball falling kindly for Will Hoskins who teed Kris up for a second bite, but he could only blast wide from the edge of the area.

Howson drew first blood for the home side, a powerful drive from long range which didn’t present Smithy with too many problems as it was straight at him.  At the other end, Forest forced a corner which Commons whipped in onto the head of Ian Breckin who headed just over.  At the other end the dangerous Kenton whipped a ball across the face of goal, where Leeds protested a handball from Chambers which was waved on by the referee.

Leeds almost had us foxed with a quickly taken short corner (which should have been a goalkick, hence the slow reaction), the ball eventually ending up with Bradley Johnson who brought an excellent save from Paul Smith to concede another corner as Leeds did apply the pressure in a good spell.

Tyson spurned possibly the chance of the game, a poor clearance was powerfully headed forward by Julian Bennett towards the striker who put himself clear one on one with the ‘keeper – but alas he lacked composure and dragged his shot wide of the post.  The last chance of the half fell to Leeds when Hughes crossed it in and Johnson put the ball wide.

The second half started quickly too, and Forest were very much in the ascendency early doors.  Commons hit a shot from the edge of the box which was well saved by the ‘keeper.  Tyson again missed a golden chance when a Breckin ball over the top was latched onto, but his first touch made the chance awkward for him, and again failed to hit the target with only the ‘keeper to beat – this time with his right foot.

Tyson almost made amends seconds later with a tremendous break down the right, where he whipped in a wicked cross towards striker-partner Will Hoskins, who was agonisingly close to connecting after gambling in the box.  Shortly after this another penalty appeal from the home side, the ball did appear to strike Hoskins’ arm, but only as it was down his side, the referee rightly turned down the appeal made by the Leeds players surrounding the him baying for a penalty.

This perceived misjustice did spur a revival from the home side, the corner from the penalty-that-never-was found Sheehan in space, whose shot was deflected for another corner.  However Forest still had attacking in mind – Chambers rightly looked gutted to have missed a free header from a mere 6 yards out, the ball ending up wide of the post.

Smoulderwood oddly elected to make early substitutions at this point, Sammy Clingan introduced for Lewis McGugan – who picked up a knock during the game in transpires, and Grant Holt for Will Hoskins, presumably due to a lack of match fitness.  Lewis can’t have been feeling too bad, as he was visibly disappointed to be withdrawn from the action.

Commons had another shot from range, striking the ball powerfully along the ground – the Leeds ‘keeper spilled it almost into the path of Tyson, but was able to gather the ball at the second attempt, before entering into a spot of theatrics with some contact he imagined between himself and the Forest striker. 

The goal came next, a throw-in found Commons who whipped in a delicious cross which found Julian Bennett on the penalty spot, who unleashed a powerful header into the top corner of the ‘net right infront of the Forest fans, causing the inevitable delirium that such events generally do – so that’s two in two for Benno, what a pity he’s suspended at the weekend.

Forest reassuring didn’t just sit on it, either – Holt combined well with Tyson who attempted to lob Ankergen but the ‘keeper did tremendously well to get his fingertips to it to prevent the ball crossing the line – that would have done us and Tys the world of good, if anyone really needs a goal, it’s him.

Leeds almost equalised through Peter Sweeney, who had Smith well beaten however Bennett threw himself in a super-human fashion to clear with his head – spurring Forest and their fans alike to continue to press forward to dominate the match.  In response Leeds pushed forward with late substitutions to bolster their attack and pumped balls into the box at every opportunity.

The inevitable negative substitution happened now, James Perch coming on for Kris Commons – this is one area I will criticise the manager, Perchy had nothing to do with the goal we were soon to concede, but things were going well for us, and a move like that – and taking off our only remaining creative player – sends out a message to the side that we’re gonna defend.  To do it as we were defending a corner is just plain daft.

The equaliser, as we know, came from the penalty spot – it was a case of third-time lucky for dubious penalty claims for the home side.  Kandol went to ground easily supposedly aided by Wes Morgan, the decision was disputed by the Reds players – which is always a pointless endeavour – Jermaine Beckford slotted the ball neatly into the net, sending Smith the wrong way.

It was always going to be a tense finish, and both sides had opportunities to nick the points, but ultimately the game finished in a draw – meaning Leeds run without a win goes on, as does our quest for a win on our travels.  Naturally losing a lead to a late goal, particularly a questionable penalty (although of course, I’ve yet to see the incident) is absolutely gutting.

On the positive side, we created chances – lots of them.  We spurned them too, certainly tonight dropping points is as much down to our own lack of composure infront of goal as much as a supposed injustice at the end – we had the chances to have put the game beyond doubt before then.  We should also remember there were two potential handballs that weren’t given – deliberate or not, we’ve all seen them given.

And let’s also remember a good save from Smith, and a super-human goal-line clearance from goalscorer Julian Bennett.  The travelling Forest fans made plenty of noise throughout the game, and they responded warmly to the team and manager alike – and that reaction is my barometer for this.  Ask me this morning if I’d take a draw, and I would have – naturally I’m gutted we didn’t manage the win after having the better of the game, but there’s plenty of silver lining on this cloud.

So, since I’ve been ready to lay into Smoulders of late, he does deserve some credit tonight.  The five at the back seemed to do the trick to deal with the aerial assault Leeds pushed onto us, the initial substitutions were like-for-like (ish) and apparently prompted by injury and fitness – the only issue I have is the final change, but if the travelling fans can forgive him this, then I will too.

So perhaps we weren’t really robbed by Leeds at all – we must show more composure with our chances, if we had a dodgy penalty at the death would be irrelevant.  So I have that peculiar mixture of pleasure and disappointment – and I’ll tell you what, I’ve not felt that excited, tense and downright terrified whilst listening to a Forest away day for a long time.  Well done the Reds, keep that up and the results will come.

24 Responses

  1. Sounds a bit better, but still down to 4th and it’s not results like this that will keep us down, it’s games like Bournmouth that will do that.

    If we build on this and start to get a decent run together we might have a chance.

    However, in more serious news, WHERE IS COLIN FRAY? He wasn’t there on Saturday and nor was he there tonight. I can only draw one totally obvious conclusion. He must have won the Euro Millions Lottery…

    Well done Colin.



  2. I don’t think Colin was commentating for the Millwall game either, maybe David Jackson’s substitute appearance has proven a lucky omen? 😆

    I am that desperate to consider it.

  3. “Robbed by Leeds again!”

    “So perhaps we weren’t really robbed by Leeds at all ”

    Make your fucking mind up you daft prick!

    How can you comment on a game you “saw” on the radio?

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  5. Oh, whilst i’m at it. Did you see the official site saying (regarding Agogo)

    “Theres every likelihood he’s on his way back now”

    Don’t we know where he is? He probably touched down at Portsmouth International Airport this morning and is just talking something over.

    Either that or he’s at home washing his clothes and catching up on the soaps. (I hope he rememembered Neighbours moved to channel 5 yesterday)

    Anyone spotted Agogo?

  6. Leeds Man aka fanny. We were robbed, i was there. you were very lucky to get a point. you were poor tonight, you never looked like scoring from open play. your fans seem to know this as well cos they screamed for a penalty every time the ball went in our box. in the end the ref gave you a point. you will no get promotion this year. NFFC writes some really good stuff so lay off him or bugger off to some leeds scum website.

  7. Good work once again nffc 🙂
    Like you, I’m not sure whether to be pleased or disappointed, but to state the obvious, it’s better than getting beat. Tonight could have been a turning point (in both directions) We need to push on from this now, and that includes a bit more backing from the fans. I know fans pay ‘good money’ to see games (which is fast becoming a cliché) but booing doesn’t do anyone any good. YOU REDS!

  8. lets hope tonight’s more spirited perfofmance is a kickstart for the rest of the season .2nd place is certainly within our grasp and hope we continue at carlisle the same way.after overcoming swindon and orient of course.Well played !!!!!

  9. I have to say that whatever Leeds man’s sentiments, it’s teams that nick results and rob goals that get promoted, so fair do’s to them.

    On the other side of the coin, I suppose United were bound to get a penalty eventually, after their nine or ten appeals for one during the game.

  10. I was at the game last night, I was unfortuanately sat in the Leeds end, bang on the half way line sat next to my leeds best mate. It was quite interesting seeing the game with the home supporters, even my mate and the people around us were saying Forest should have one. Even Eddie Gray on the radio was saying we had more quality than Leeds.

    Tyson could or should have had at least 3 goals last night, I can only remember leeds having that one chance which was cleared off the line from open play.

    Like you NFFC when I saw three centre halfs lined up, I thought what the hell but fair play to CC the tatics nearly worked. The Leeds strikers didn’t have a sniff all night, that is why they were shouting for a penalty every time a challenge was made in the box.

    Thought Hoskins and McGuigan looked a bit lightweight last night though, I think if Agogo had played we might have won.

    From where I was sat it did look like a defo penalty, the other 14 that they shouted for were nowhere near though.

    All in all, from the point of view of me and my mate driving back to Notts, a draw was probably best, I couldn’t have done with him gloating and vice versa all the way back to Notts.

    3 Points saturday is now a must.

  11. Well done Forest.
    I have said previously that the tactics are not really the problem, we have beat teams comprehensively this season playing 4-3-3 & 4-4-2 (yes I know CC plays players out of position sometimes), the issue is the amount of chances we create but do not convert. Last night seemed to be the same story. The players are lacking in confidence in front of goal(Tyson in particular) and this stems from the pressure we put on them at the City Ground. Unfortunately negativity breeds negativity and our home crowd is having an effect on the players confidence without a doubt. If we can keep the support and noise level up at home (no booing at half time if we haven’t score 4 !) I am sure everything else will fall into place.
    Credit to the manager as well, perhaps we can get behind him for the game on Saturday ??
    Come on you REDS !

  12. First of all, last night was a very enjoyable game much to my suprise. Before the game I couln’t make my mind up what was likely to happen; Forest have been rubbish on the road and Leeds have just been rubbish!

    With that said it is hard to give an honest unbiased account of the game as the fact that last nights performance was the best Leeds have played in a while and indeed the best passing display of the season, this could easily cloud my judgement that we were the superior team last night. On reflection, I don’t think anybody can argue that a draw was a fair result. Forest had chances, Leeds’ efforts were mostly blocked and one cleared off the goal line. As for the penalty appeals, I can’t comment on the one in the first half as I was at the other end of the ground, the second one was right in front of me (and the ref) Lets just say, as a qualified referee, I can see why he didn’t give it but he clearly stopped the ball coming into the box with his hand – Ball to hand?! Maybe…

    The penalty that was given seemed the softest of the lot but I didn’t get a great view of it, nor did I appeal for it.

    I was very encouraged by our new stlye of play and if the results start to flow, which I think they will. I can see us in the play-offs, hopefully this time in decent form. On Forest, I don’t think you’ll gain automatic promotion, you’re not clinical enough and I wouldn’t mind you in the Play-off semis…

  13. I won’t comment on the performance as I wasnt there but the result has to be seen in a positive light. Going into the game I would of settled for a point, has to be the one game I expected the least out of at the start of the season. Also, 29,500 in attendence; is this some sort of League 1 record??

    Have you considered applying to write the match reports for the official site, mate? I read through their “Commons passed then Tyson shot then Hoskins missed” bore prior to your report and have decided I’m going to skip the official site in future..

  14. Watched the highlights of the game on Big Stan’s central soccer week and it looked like Holt made a difference whe he came on with a couple of useful through balls.

    Can someone please buy Hoskins a pair of proper football boots?!

    With Super Jules suspended on Saturday what are the odds of Wilson at left wing back?!

  15. Quick question: when will CC learn (if ever) not to throw on a defender when we are a goal up & playing comfortably? No sooner than he creates his magic, we give a penalty away regardless if it was or wasn’t. Yeovil all over again?

  16. We were just unlucky with the penalty – just one of those things and NOTHING to do with a substitution

  17. Maybe Paul, maybe but I just can’t help comparing it to so many other times…

  18. Am I reading the same blog as I was a few days ago? Why aren’t there a dozen posters asking WTF Commons was doing out on the right wing in the first place, never mind the fact he put in the cross for Bennett to score. How easily pleased some folk are.

    I do have to agree with the sentiment of the final comment in (Dirty) LeedsMan’s post above – the review does sound like you saw the game. Using phrases like “visibly dissapointed” and saying “the referee rightly…” is not a subjective opinion as you haven’t seen the incident. Its a well written piece just not based on your own judgement which, in places, detracts from the effectiveness and validity of the article. Not up to your usual exceptionally high standard NFFC (IMO).

  19. I agree completely that you get a better insight from the game – and I didn’t pretend I’d seen it… I relied on the commentary team and comments from mates who were there who I spoke to on the ‘phone after the game.

    Naturally I would’ve preferred to be there – but I don’t think that makes my comments any less valid – particularly since I made it pretty clear I wasn’t present. I make no excuses for blind biasedness in relation to Forest – I’m a Forest fan, that’s my nature – although I like to try to retain a sense of fairness.

  20. Sorry nffc, I was overly critical. As I said, it was a well written piece. I just think the “style” was wrong on this occasion.

  21. No need to apologise, I appreciate the feedback… it’s important to remember that I’ve never cast myself as any kind of authority on anything, merely a fan who writes about supporting Forest… sometimes that involves tense evenings with a radio, other times accounts of actually being at a game.

    I’ve been very lucky to have so many visitors and commenters, but it doesn’t change the fundamental principle that this is simply a blog I created largely for my own ends/amusement/indulgence – call it what you will 🙂

  22. ela re Paidia – meaning come on Guys, no need for this petty fight now. 😆 We got a point, Leeds play Doncaster desperate 4 max points & we are safe @ home vs Swindon – hold on – let me check that!!! yep, correct – I hope by saying safe too!! The point is as my cousin said, we have got the best team in the league, just as last season, but this person with the initials CC hasn’t got 2 grip with the team or doesn’t understand he must, MUST get us up or else it’s goodbye Forest & a possibility we’ll make even worse history by falling 2 the bottom floor vs Notts County & Mansfield (who damn well both better survive or it’ll be a very very sad season for Nottingham football) because we wont see Commons, Tyson, Agogo, McGu, Hoskins etc etc etc in the Red & White of Forest. I hope to be proved wrong should the worse come & the kids can do us a great job but we’ll worry about if & when the time comes.

    Anyway, I, correction we, all want promotion & I’m going to reiteratre (repeat) myself from last season – even through the back door I’ll take it.

  23. mm kind of puts such displays as Bournemouth into perspective doesn’t it? We need to beat Bournemouth and can’t, this is why will not get promotion outright. It’s playoffs because we are not consitant away. Even 20 odd draws would do away from home.

  24. Well this was the first forest match i’ve gone to since the first of the season im ashamed to admit. Living and working in leeds means i cant really have time or afford to travel.

    but still, was well up for this. i was nervous about a hammering from leeds, despite their form being crap, ours hasnt been amazing away as we know.

    it turned out to be a good match. forest played well but i feel like we allow their side much too much time on the ball when they move into danger areas, theres no reason not to shut them down earlier.

    penalty wasnt fair. i saw it from the away end so i was along way away but i thought if it was given for kandol going down (which we could clearly see) then it was very unfair. get home, watch the highlights, and bam. given for that slip. Wes didnt help him to the floor at all.

    i feel robbed mainly due to that descision not due to leeds lack of chances.

    i’d like to add that the forest fans kept the noise up, noone was sitting and it was a real good atmosphere, especially when that bloke in pink got picked on haha! CC was right to come over to us and applaud after he critisised the fans earlier on.

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