Tyson’s back! Swindon beaten! Tyson’s crocked again…

Nottingham Forest – 1
Swindon Town – 0

If tuesday night’s game at Elland Road was an advert for the kind of frenetic and exciting game encapsulated by a great atmosphere can occur in League One, this one was something approximating the opposite.  The day started for me wandering down the steps next to Lady Bay Bridge fearing it was too much for one Forest fan to take, but rather than jumping off the bridge, they appeared to be abseiling.

Before the game had even started the topic of conversation was very much focused around Nathan Tyson, and how a goal would do his confidence the world of good.  One wag casually remarked that he’d probably score today and promptly get injured and be out for a few weeks – how depressingly prophetic that remark appears to have been, as we await the results of a scan on his troublesome hamstring on Monday.

It was the visitors who started more positively, forcing two early corners – but never actually threatening the goal.  Tys got a block in on their goalkeeper’s clearance, but he was able to grab hold of the ball as it ricocheted off the Forest striker so we weren’t able to capitalise on the opportunity.

Agogo perhaps could’ve got to a deflected Cohen shot if he was quicker on his toes, but the keeper was out quite quickly to smother the ball.  Shortly after this Tyson was felled when past the last man, but heading towards the corner flag resulting in a booking for Ifill despite rather hopeful claims for a red card from some of the Forest fans.  Commons struck the resulting freekick which was blocked.

Wes was ordered off the pitch shortly after this, after his second elbow-to-the-face from Swindon’s fat lad up front – Billy Paynter.  The referee of course didnt notice the cause of the cut on his head, and Wes was gone for a good ten minutes before returning looking like Mr Bump with a big bandage on his head – reminiscent of Stan Collymore all those years ago!

Despite still only having ten men, Forest still threatened with Tyson bursting forward some distance before crossing towards Commons, but the effort was deflected behind for a corner.  The next action of note was a freekick for Forest just outside the D, McGugan struck it into the wall, but the rebound fell back to him to strike beautifully towards the goal – but alas not far enough from the ‘keeper who made a decent save.  I counted that as our first shot on target – it was 40 minutes on the clock.

The referee scandalously not only gave a foul, but booked Wes “Mr Bump” Morgan for a tremendous tackle on Blair Sturrock, the resulting freekick yielded Swindon’s only shot on target in the whole game – and it was a tame one that Smithy didn’t really have to work too hard to prevent going in.  I imagine Terry the Kitman was rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of getting away without washing Smith’s kit until then!

The first five minutes of the second half really passed without meaningful incident, and the atmosphere was certainly lacking – but that was about to change.  Matt Lockwood played a great throughball to Tyson who accelerated easily past his man before beating Brezovan at his near post.  As he squared up to shoot I was getting ready for ranting about him playing across the goalline to Agogo or Commons who were steaming in, but thankfully the Tyson-of-old had returned and it was in the net – a cracking finish!

Tyson was almost on target again immediately after – as we entered perhaps the only ten minute spell in the game that could be classified as entertaining.  His effort was from around the 25 yard mark and was marginally over the bar.  McGugan was next on the effort stakes, he did brilliantly to cut inside his man to make space for a shot, but he scooped it over the bar and into the Swindon fans with his left foot from around 12 yards.

Swindon half-threatened occasionally during this spell, but didn’t ever have any end product.  Cohen almost got on the end of a McGugan throughball but for a last-gap interception.  Tyson worked well again to burst down the left and play a delicious cross to Agogo who conspired to hit the ball wide from inside 6 yard box, which was rather a disappointment for our International megastar!

It transpired the linesman couldn’t keep up, or he didn’t know the offside flag, as he gave a number of highly dubious decisions against both Tyson and Agogo – and then didn’t flag when Junior was a mile offside and had stopped his run as a result.  Tyson was soon limping as our pre-match prophet had predicted, and was withdrawn to a good round of applause for Arron Davies.  Agogo too was withdrawn for Emile Sinclair.

The game continued to basically be an exhibition of poor-passing between two poor sides before McGugan – who has just signed a new deal ’til 2011 (that was the supposedly exciting exclusive in today’s programme!) – was substituted for James Perch.  Forest characteristically sat back as the officials produced four minutes of stoppage time from somewhere.

Swindon did push forward, but with no real idea nor purpose, Sinclair did get forward well and tried to hold up the ball a bit – but he does seem quite lightweight still and not as quick as I remembered from previous appearances.  The game basically fizzled out with Swindon hopefully hoofing the ball forward, and Forest defending stoutly – before the final whistle ended the boredom!

A good three points, and cheered too by both other local sides winning to hopefully ease their relegation fears.  The result of the day has to be Barnsley who beat the dirty Scousers in the FA Cup – that got the second biggest cheer of the afternoon at the City Ground, so a big well done to them!  The magic of the FA Cup is alive and well, it seems!

Speaking of the FA Cup, sitting watching the Manchester United vs. Arsenal game on BBC1 is quite depressing, it’s currently 4-0 to the home side – how many of us can remember a time when a trip to Old Trafford once held no fear for us?  One of the many reminders of how low we have sunk as we laboured to beat a very poor Swindon team 1-0, whilst only looking marginally better than them.

Still, a win is a win, and this became our game in hand on Doncaster as their game with Leeds was postponed due to their – brand new – pitch being frozen.  Presumably the budget for the new ground didn’t include under-soil heating?  If we can somehow end our awayday blues at Carlisle on Tuesday then I think our season will be reignited – apparantly Hoskins should be back for this, Tyson is unlikely to be fit for it.

For now, I’ll just depress myself with watching United stroke the ball around their Old Trafford pitch with aplomb – although I’m enjoying the “You’re going out with the Scousers!” chanting being directed at the poor Arsenal fans who are busy emptying the away end.