The gap is up to 10 as manager walks the tightrope..

Southend United – 1
Nottingham Forest – 1

Yet again on a night when we had to win, we fell short with only a draw on an away trip.  A dire first half, from our point of view, was owned by a Southend side who dominated the midfield, scored and worried the woodwork, a second half improvement from the Reds was alas, too little too late – great work from substitutes Tyson and Thornhill produced the goal – but despite the effort undoubtedly put in after half time by the Reds, it wasn’t enough.

With Doncaster and Carlisle registering home wins elsewhere we have lost even more ground on the sides above us – so if things looked bleak at the weekend, they look even bleaker now.  Had other results been more expected recently, a draw at Roots Hall wouldn’t have been a bad result, but tonight was an all or nothing occasion – as such, we end up with too little – and barring a miracle this consigns us to playoffs at best, a bid which was aided massively by Leeds and Walsall losing this evening.

A brave but naive move by Smoulds to start with, on paper a 3-4-3 formation with Breckin, Wilson and Morgan at the back, and with Bennett and Perch playing as pseudo-wingers either side of Cohen and Clingan in midfield, with Agogo, Ormerod and Holt up front.  To say it didn’t exactly work is perhaps as much of an understatement as it is predictable – reassuring is his changes at half time seemingly making the difference.

As Southend attacked from the outset, the inevitable happened, and our so-called ‘wingers’ became fullbacks in a back five, allowing us to be hideously overrun in midfield, and our strikers having to fall back ever deeper in order to try to get into the game.  Brecks conceded an early corner, from which Southend crafted their first chance of the game, Gower shooting and forcing the save from Smith.

Forest did create some chances – forcing a corner at the other end which Cohen put in expertly, with Bennett unfortunately only able to fire wide across the face of goal.  Southend broke quickly shortly after, a long clearance from the keeper breaking for Robson-Kanu after good work from his strike-partner, putting him clean through and able to casually slot the ball past a despairing Paul Smith to give the home side the lead.

They weren’t finished there, either – Black did well to get past Holt, and crossed into Moussa, the ball became free and Holt went to clear, somehow conspiring to do so across his own goal which ended up back with Moussa who shot from a tight angle and struck the post to cause yet more jitters in defence, and for the fans alike.

Forest’s best chance of the half came after Clingan won possession in midfield, playing quickly to Cohen who played it on quickly to Perchy on the right wing.  Perch’s cross was decent, but a too close to the keeper.  Morgan was in the referee’s bad books for a fairly nothing challenge on their ‘keeper – he still got a booking for his trouble when arguably it wasn’t really a foul.

The final act of the first half was another attack from the home side – Barrett got the ball past Holt and played an excellent cross to Peter Clarke on the back stick, who tried to head the ball back across goal only for Paul Smith to make a solid punched clearance.  So half time arrives, and arguably Forest are (despite the Forest-centric nature of my comments!) lucky to only be down by a goal.

Holt paid the price for a poor performance and was withdrawn for Nathan Tyson at half time, with Agogo picking up a slight knock and being replaced by Matt Thornhill.  As the second half got underway the more familiar 3-5-2/5-3-2 Smoulderwood-special was in effect, Forest looked more composed and dangerous without crafting any early opportunities.

Southend indeed created the first chance of the half, a Walker cross was dealt with well by Smith at the expense of a corner – however, things were to improve dramatically.  Bennett played the ball to Tyson on the left, who played a firm cross across the face of goal which found Thornhill rushing in at the back post and able to sidefoot into the roof of the net to give some cheer to the travelling Forest fans.

It could have been two moments later – Thornhill won the ball in midfield, finding Brett Ormerod who moved the ball to Cohen, whose ball found Tyson with a shooting chance, but unfortunately the striker was only able to put his shot wide of the post.  Forest were the metaphorically different side as they started to play with precision and confidence as they piled pressure onto Southend.

However, the inevitable slips still occurred, Gower wasn’t closed down and was denied by an excellent stop from Smithy, before having to see Bennett clear off the line from the follow-up effort.  The final act came in stoppage time, a freekick from 25 yards after Cohen was brought down – which predictably was spannered into the wall by Clingan – giving us a corner which eventually came to nothing.  Southend still had time to give us a scare, a shot from 25 yards bouncing awkwardly infront of Smith forcing him into conceding the corner, after which it was game over.

Smoulderwood’s post-match comments have been interesting, he has – for the first time in my memory – almost openly criticised his players, especially those who were substituted.  He described feeling hurt by the first half performance, and pleased with the second – the warm response the players received from the travelling fans is testimony to a decent second half from the lads.

And so we look forward to the arrival of perpetual bogey-side Walsall on saturday – in a position where we’re closer to dropping out of the playoff places than we are of climbing out of them.  Personally a draw still isn’t good enough, and one good half of football in two crucial games is frankly poor – hopefully whatever Smoulds said at half time tonight will carry through to our forthcoming games.

I’m grumpy about the result, about our failure to at least maintain the ludicrous gap that Carlisle and Doncaster have opened up on us, not least I’m grumpy that I had to hastily create a different image to use with the match report after we equalised (if we’d got the winner I could’ve tolerated this!), I’ll have to save the original one, I fear – alas – it will become relevant before too long.

22 Responses

  1. It was strange, Radio Nottingham were sounding like we’d just won the FA Cup, World Cup, Johnstone Paints Trophy and completed a sports day egg & spoon / sack race double.

    They simply cannot believe how well we played. (I can’t recall them being so favourable about an away performance since the first leg of the play-off Semi at Yeovill last season)

    So, there I was all angry and then heard CCs comments and I actually felt a slight tinge of sympathy. The players let him down in the first half and he said he was hurt.

    Before the game it was a must winner according to Colin Fray and by the end it had transformed into a great away point.

    Where do we go from here, if CC is to have any chance of staying, we need a massive performance on Saturday. Not only win well, but get some pride back with the fans.

    He may prove us all wrong, but at the end of the day it’s an away draw and we are losing ground.

    He is on very thin ice.



  2. Anyone know how well Ormerod played?

  3. From what they said on the radio it would be harsh for CC to be too critical of Holt and Agogo because they hardly saw the ball in the first half, probably due to another strange formation from the manager! I’d be interested to hear anyone’s views that watched the game on this.

    I’ve said for ages now we desperately need a goal scoring central midfielder and Thornhill looks like the answer. Let’s hope that CC gives him a run in the side as he could make a real impact.

  4. Thornhill seems to have done well.Holt I think neeeds a spell out to give McCleary a chance too.We have also lost the goals advantage we had over Donny so hopefully we can open that up with a good win on saturday,fingers crossed!!!!!!

  5. Having gone to the match, I would agree that Holt and Agogo were indeed poor in the first half, but I am astounded to read CC’s post match comments. How can he claim that the players let him down? It isn’t really a surprise they looked awful, as they were being played out of position (AGAIN) and in a formation that they have never played before. I’ve certainly never seen a team line up 5-2-3 before. It was truly baffaling. As the half went on Holt had drifted to left back, Ormerod to the right and Agogo coming into his own half to try and get involved.

    It seems to me that CC has lost his marbles and keeps trying every formation under the sun except for 442! Well done to the fans who made the journey south and kept singing through out.

    Although Holt looked poor, and Perch low on confidence I don’t have any real problems with our players. For me the manager is 100% responsible and should go now.

    442 on Saturday please Colin. Oh and G Holt is not a winger!

  6. CC Out, Doughty Out, Arthur Out.

    Said it time and time again this club will not go anywhere with these in the club.

  7. no more excuse mr calderwood are you still so optomistic about that second spot you know i dont even think we will make the play offs as i have stated all season.please go save the embaresment of getting the sack just go. you know i stopped coming down to watch forest a while ago because of my dissent for you now i cant even be bothered to liston to forest on radio nottingham. You have crushed a life times desire in following my forest i really had enough now

  8. first half was embarasing. 20 minutes of the second half was good football. not good enough

  9. Sad to read Terry’s commments but how many more supporters are there who would come back if we change the manager and get rid of Mark Arthur.I’ve supported Forest since I saw them win the cup in 1959 and I can’t remember feeling so sick of this situation and the possibility of losing our best players and another year in this division.Why on earth is our Chairman just sitting back and saying nothing.He didn’t make his money sitting on his backside hoping something might happen.For gooodness sake DO SOMETHING NOW!!!!!!!!!

  10. Hehe. Doughty didn’t even have to do that! OK, he made a serious amount from his investments but you have to have money to invest in the first place and that was a handout.

  11. never before have I wanted a change in management even in the Kinnear and Megson days but i feel another season in this division on a Championship budget could ruin the club. We need a change TODAY, we must get a lift before our next game and have a great run in, With the players we have it could happen but we need something to spur us on and I’m afraid only a change at the helm will do it. Don’t suppose Psycho could work at the F.A part time??? Just a thought.

  12. Can’t we get a chant going on Saturday “4-4-2, 4-4-2” – maybe CoCo’s never heard of it before?

  13. Great result CC… a good draw away from home. Leave now please, you have no influence, and have lost all the respect from the fans. (the fact that you have to earn respect has been lost on you since you came)
    The only option is to give the players a break from him, let them attempt to play football. I really don’t think playing defensive football from the start of the season has been constructive.

  14. If!!! we had not lost at Gillingham Bournemouth Swindon Luton and at home to Carlisle and also beaten Crewe away last nights draw would be credible. The manager again has a formation which is difficult to understand, yes Commons and Davies were injured( but would he have played them anyway!!) Having said all of this and it looks like the play offs lets get right behind the club until the end of the season, well done to the Forest fans who went last night sounds like you did us proud
    Come on Forest we can do it-if we stick together

  15. I listerned to the game last night and we played well for about 25 minutes. we scored one goal !! all this bullshit about a great second half is not true and should not be used to paper of the cracks.
    9 goals in 11 games
    13 points in 11 games
    3 wins in 11 games
    the worst manager in the league

  16. Him

    On the 15th of Feb with 16 games to go, CC said that Swansea are out of reach and we are battling for one automatic space.

    We were 14 points behind them.

    We are now 10 points behind 2nd place and have 11 games to play.

    Suddenly that’s achievable?

    I will be (pleasantly) surprised if we can do it.

  17. For the first time this season I didn’t listen on Radio Nottingham.
    I really didn’t want to waste my evening and can really understand how Terry feels.
    I too am getting to the point of having had enough but I’m not going to allow Deadwood (as he should be known) to taint 35 years of supporting the greatest Club in the world and will be there on Saturday as always.
    As Forest fans we’ve had some depressing times over the last few years but right now has got to be the worst. Deadwood has taken us backwards since Charlie & Frank just missed out on the playoffs.
    Still on the bright side last night was another nail in his coffin !!

  18. i think we all know where the next nail should go !

  19. Like in his spinning bow tie??

  20. I agree with Martin, this defensive shit just does not work, ok we need a defence but not 10 of em….. The midfield are so scared to go forward in case they get caught up field that they never feed the front or take the ball on. I seem to remember a couple of seasons ago a bloke called Commons who we all raved about coz he took the defenders on and scared the shit out of em….. He doesn’t do it now….either he isn’t fit – lost his pace – or isn’t allowed to……your choice I think……… I know what I think !!!

  21. I remember a bloke called davies who did that pretty well only last season !!

  22. Pembo”sForest reserve team only won 4 0 !!!He must have been disappointed.If I was in Nottingham I would certainly go to see our reseve team.At least we have hope for the future.The problem is Pembo must be ambitious and when any football club sees his record this season they are going to be interested.I hope we don’t lose him!!!

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