Automatic promotion is slip-sliding away..

Crewe Alexandra – 0
Nottingham Forest – 0

Even Jeff Stelling was shrewd enough on Sky to note that a goalless draw at struggling Crewe was not good enough for Nottingham Forest.  He’s quite right – let’s not mention that it was a Crewe side heavily impacted by injury too.  Frankly, I’m pleased I had other plans today so didn’t make the game, nor was around to get frustrated by listening to the match.

The start boded well, a freekick from Sammy Clingan was on target from 30 yards, but straight at the ‘keeper.  Whilst Forest perhaps dominated possession, they characteristically failed to convert this into chances on goal.  Davies had a moment where he beat two men and hit a shot which was deflected away for a corner by a defender at the near post.

After half an hour the home side mustered a chance – Forest deciding not to close down Crewe striker Joe Anyinsah who fortunately shot wide.  Agogo created a great chance for Cohen moments later, laying a ball into the penalty area for the midfielder, but unfortunately Cohen unselfishly tried to find the run of Agogo with a poor cross rather than having a go himself.

Again the second half started with Forest looking positive – Wes Morgan went marauding forward as he does occasionally, and stayed forward a while to try to make something happen.  Agogo headed goalward but was blocked and Ian Breckin of all people was on hand to connect with the rebound, unfortunately putting it just wide.

Agogo controlled well and shot well from 25 yards, which the Crewe ‘keeper did well to save, the resulting corner was nearly a Bohinen-esque goal-straight-from-a-corner, but sadly hit the bar.  A Clingan cross was punched clear by Williams, falling to Breckin whose shot was blocked by a defender as Forest did actually mount something resembling pressure on the Crewe goal.

A bit of silver lining on this cloud of a result was the return of Nathan Tyson, who was introduced for new signing Brett Ormerod (who ominously has escaped mention in the match reports I’ve picked up), although as is our way, it was some time before he was even able to get a touch of the bar. Davies had clearly picked up an injury and was withdrawn for McGugan.

Thornhill was introduced for Breckin as a final throw of the dice by Smoulderwood, but the game was set to peter out with no more chances for either side – leaving us with a measly point when only three would really do.  Meanwhile, both Doncaster and Carlisle registered home wins, as did Leeds and Southend just beneath us.

Were in not for the amusement provided by Portsmouth and Barnsley’s results against Manchester United and Chelsea respectively in the FA Cup it really would have proven a shitty weekend for football.  Once again I find myself stating that without a significant improvement, nay, a dramatic one, we can kiss automatic promotion goodbye – indeed, we could even end up dropping out of the playoffs at this rate!

As one wag on an internet forum pointed out, since Crewe had so many injuries they looked like a reserve team – you’d have to wonder if our reserves would’ve beaten them…  Smoulderwood may say we can still do it, but does anybody seriously believe him any more?