Solution to our problems in reserve?

The reserves won again today, whooping Bradford City 4-0 with four first-half goals.  Shouldn’t really be a surprise, they haven’t lost all season – having played 16 games they’ve registered a rather healthy 15 wins, and a solitary draw.  Whilst reserve team football is inevitably less competitive than league games, it’s an incredible run of results.

Whilst it’s easy and tempting to be snippy and suggest that Smoulders could learn a thing or two from his reserve coach John Pemberton, it’s fair to point out he is operating at a very different level – however, since it’s easy, and tempting, I’m going to do it anyway.  Today our reserve side went out on the pitch, and they’d scored after less than a minute – they were 4-0 up after 30 minutes.

Clearly there is some learning that could be transferred to the first team – our major problems are, in my negative frame of mind, too numerous to start listing.  If I were to pick the top two it is our struggle to ‘get into’ games from the outset, and it is our lack of goals (either through poor finishing or lack of creation of chances).

Of course, the difference between playing infront of a big crowd that is easily turned against you and a half empty ground with no real pressure is vast – very vast indeed, which is why I’m hesitant to suggest, despite my incredibly thin patience with Smoulderwood, that we have in John Pemberton a ready-made solution – however, if it were to pass I can’t say it would upset me greatly!

Regardless of the lack of competitiveness of reserve team football, the lack of pressure, the transition from this level to the first team and all those things – John Pemberton’s record in the background is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook when thinking of troubled Nottingham Forest.  As sure as eggs is eggs, there will be eyes from places other than Forest on our reserve team boss.

6 Responses

  1. Good article. The more publicity for our Reserves and their achievements this season and of course for Pembo the better.I hope there is a big crowd there on wednesday to see them win the championship.They deserve it!! and of course it gives you all a chance to tell Pembo what you think..I can’t believe there were only 116 to witness the latest Forest win.If I was in Nottingham I wouldn’t miss it.CC should also be there so it could also be a good time to pass on your feelings to him…i.e Why can’t the first team play like this and other comments which I can’t print,so come on,Everyone to the City Ground wednesday night !!!!!!!

  2. I’m pretty sure I’m free on Weds – I shall double-check and pop down if so 🙂

  3. What’s Pemberton’s background? Is he a former Forest player? Who brought him in? What was his position in his playing days?

  4. I watched the 25 year DVD of our great European cup victory last night and it brought it home to me the complete differences in approaches by our management team nowand then Clough 2-1 up with 2 minutes to go -end result Attack attack attack 90 minutes 4 -1 up . 2 golas in the last 2 minutes.

    Smouldwood 1-0 up or 0-0 sit back defend defend defend No width ,no goals no result.
    no promotion? Having said that I will be there tomorrow.

  5. He was a defender! I remember him playing for Palace back in the late 80’s, early 90’s…

    More details here:

  6. I was one of the 116 (which even by reserve standards is a VERY poor attendance) and the young lads played some great stuff.

    There appears to be some great talent coming through the ranks and I was especially impressed with Mark Byrne who showed maturity well beyond his years.

    Reading the various comments over the last few days about moving reserve players into the first team, its worth saying whilst Emile Sinclair is a star in the reserves, his rawness is very evident when he comes on as a sub for the first team, which to me, at least, demonstrates there IS a huge gulf between reserve and first team football.

    Without doubt, choosing the time to make that transition is where the skill of the reserve team coach lies. Paul Hart was a genius at developing young talent to make that very difficult jump up in class but Im hoping Pemberton can demonstrate the same nous.

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