That’s why we’re staying down..

Nottingham Forest – 1
Bristol Rovers – 1

You could almost sense the moment when (contrary to a comment on the site earlier in the week) it occurred to Smoulds and the players that tonight was a chance to register three consecutive league wins this season – and it was then that we decided that we’d defend the hardly convincing looking 1-0 lead we’d amassed thanks to an excellent freekick from Lewis McGugan.  It’s infuriating.

When any modicum of pressure seems to be on, we wilt and make our opponents better, fill them with confidence until they inevitably triumph.  Or something.  That’s what it felt like tonight.  Tonight was a dangerous portent into the future – a sub 16,000 crowd, with a healthy away following for a tuesday night trek from the West Country, and scrapping for a point with a frankly poor opponent – who left the City Ground good value for a point.

The highlight of the evening was probably watching the knuckle-draggers from Bristol fighting with the police and stewards in the away end, as well as – of course – a rather special goal from Lewis.  The first half saw us with an unnecessarily tinkered-with formation, some kind of 4-3-3 widthless thing we’ve become accustomed to, despite looking decent in something approximating 4-4-2 in previous games.

In the first half we were relatively positive, our first chance fell to Chambers who connected without challenge to an excellent McGugan corner, with the Rovers ‘keeper equal to it to make the save.  Forest’s shaky defence gave Rovers their first chance, but it was simple for Smith to deal with – however, Rovers constantly exploited the left hand side of the pitch, with Chambers having a ‘mare defensively – looking, funnily enough, rather like a centreback playing at fullback.

Commons twice had decent efforts from range shortly after – the first from open play was well hit and curling, but not difficult for Phillips in the Rovers goal to save – and shortly after he had another go from a freekick after the once-again-lethargic Agogo was fouled – this was hit very well indeed and it was a cracking save by Phillips to concede a corner rather than a goal.

So when another freekick came up we felt we couldn’t expect another good strike – how wrong we were, as McGugan crashed the ball straight into the top corner from around 30 yards, silencing the knuckle-draggers below us who then proceeded to start squabbling with the police and stewards, which was somewhat distracting from the game.  The last chance of the half was an acrobatic volley by Commons after good work by McGugan, but it was never really on target – and was a difficult chance to take.

Half time came and Agogo – who had been limping slightly – was withdrawn for Garath McCleary, with Forest playing a kind of 4-5-1 formation, but still without wingers somehow.  Forest sat back, as is their wont, and we looked to have conceded the equaliser soon into the half, Chambers again was beaten by his man Haldane and after a scuffle Disley headed in, but from an offside position according to the linesman.

Rovers were starting to grow in confidence as Forest sat back and invited the pressure – although they struggled to create a great deal – Haldane could perhaps have done better with the next chance of the match which was a tame header straight at Smith.  The equaliser came just after the hour mark, a quickly taken freekick leaving Forest’s defence hopelessly unprepared as Elliott was on hand to loop a header into the goal.

They could’ve taken the lead soon after, Matt Lockwood gifting the ball to former Notts player David Pipe who teed up Andy Williams – who missed the target.  Forest did labour to get forward on occasions – particularly through McCleary who had a decent effort from range deflected wide, but looked pretty toothless going forward prompting chants of ‘Attack, attack, attack’ from the increasingly irate home crowd.

There were piecemeal chances for Ormerod, and Commons who did everything right ’til his shot in the closing moments, but Rovers held on against some pressure from the Reds in the closing stages to get a deserved points.  The home side had to content themselves to further boos from the home crowd and another missed chance to get an elusive three consecutive wins in the league.  Crowds of this magnitude probably won’t stand out as unusual next season if we fail to get promotion.

Unfortunately Smoulders didn’t deign to be available for interview before the radio stopped broadcasting sport for the evening, but it will be interesting to hear him explain what prompted his change in approach and personnel – with Commons available (and, to be fair, playing pretty well in spells) he could still have lined up in the same kind of formation that has worked for us in recent games, but alas, he has to piss about with it and change it.

Definitely a draw snatched from the jaws of victory, and it seemed to me that we had no idea how to go about correcting it – the game was pretty much summed up when, under no pressure at all, Kelvin Wilson – so often our Mr Consistent – couldn’t manage a 10 yard square pass to Matt Lockwood without conceding a throw-in.  All in all, a frustrating way to have spent an evening, which clearly a number of Reds fans could foresee and thus stayed away.

31 Responses

  1. Great report as ever NFFC – much appreciated as ever. I didn’t go up to Nottm for the game tonight and on reading this I’m very glad I didn’t. Players should have to earn a place in the team and when they play well they should be rewarded by keeping their place. So why drop McLeary to the bench???!!!!

    I say get Calderwood out befor the play offs and bring in someone who knows what they are doing.

  2. Just got home from powerleague (after getting beat) to find that not only have the fucking scousers won, sheffield united got a late equaliser. As if that wsn’t bad enough, I held out some hope for a reds win and was sorely disapointed; a regular thing this season 😦

  3. I was there tonight as well, BC upper, you said NFFC that we were relatively positive in the 1st half, umm….. I thought we were lucky not to be 3-0 down after 20 minutes! The second half was nothing short of shocking. Once again we had no movement off the ball – no and I mean no Forest players seemed to want the ball, closing down – nada/nowt/zilch! Creative play – same again, finding space, the pitch could have been 5 times bigger and we would have found a brick wall to hide behind, and passing I have seen 8 year olds do better! Smould substitutions – Perch?? We had 5 bloody defenders on for a game we needed to win! On the pitch no communication, who the hell was running the play? “Were shit and were sick of it” rung out from the main stand – well I agree. How about this for a conspiracy theory – We can’t afford to be in the championship so we are staying down – fact, who wants to put meat on that then???? I am so pissed off with Forest that I am not wasting my money any more, oh god I know it’s not true I am just so frustrated!

  4. We are all so disappointed and angry that a winning team and formation was changed.Can we do to tranmere what we did at carlisle.This lack of consistancy is driving us all mad.C c has to go even if we manage to go up.He will never change…Excellent report and comments as usual..

  5. I happen to think that is a very generous report, nffc!
    Until Lewis’ goal it was a very average performance. In fact, he was lucky to still be on the pitch, because at the moment his passing and workrate is awful, not what I’d expect from a player of his undoubted quality. He didnt improve, even after he scored. But thats a bit harsh, because the sole reason BR scored was Chambers. He took a knock after about 30 seconds, and was obviously struggling. I saw the BR manager call his captain over and he then pointed to Chambers. Next thing is they targeted every pass towards him. The fact CC didnt see this gave Rovers the confidence to keep at us until they scored.
    I do feel sorry for Cohen and Clingan. The work that pair get through is phenomenal, but the first misplaced pass from Sammy (after about 80 minutes) was jeered and booed. Keep them as center midfielders and play Commo and McCleary out wide. How hard can it be, Colin????

  6. So much anger in my body after the game last night I said to my mate that’s it, I’ve supported this club for 30 years but I’m not putting myself through it any more, not while the clown’s in charge.

    After two decent wins palying 4-4-2ish we go back to negative, shapeless durge. I won’t be wasting any more money Trentside for a while – not even worth a visit to Meadow Lane at the moment.

    Looks like a Panthers season ticket next year then – at least you get some excitment and passion!

  7. 2 letters CC. The real reason we can’t win 3 games on a trot…

  8. Last night really was toss, crap game, crap result. We have a bit of a go at the end, but you almost knew it would come to nothing.

    Sentiments like “we’re shit, and we’re sick of it” have been lurking under the surface at the City Ground since the relegation from the Championship, it doesn’t take much to bring the frustration out. Its hard to be happy with the crap football played in this league after all.

  9. we are shit and we are sick of it. when, oh when will this club understand that our manager does little to motivate this team, him and they are a discgrace. At home i’d like to have seen the fans rewarded with a little more passion. A total discrace again.
    Does anyone actually beleive that we will do ANYTHING in the playoffs? we wil get murdered. My final Forest match was last nights, the final straw.

  10. I’m being positive (no idea why!) and I reckon we’ll somehow storm the playoffs………

  11. Yesterday morning i woke up thinking that if Carlisle get hammered at Swansea and Southend got unlucky at Brighton then (obviously expecting to beat Rovers) we might have a chance of getting automatic promotion seeming as Carlsile have Leeds next and then Southend (I think) but now even if we do get into the play-offs we will be playing against 3 teams who out of the six times we have played them both, won once.

    On a slightly more positive note upon reading the forest fixture/results list i realised that we HAVE won 3 league matches in a row (Port Vale – Yeovil) but with the devastating leicester loss in the middle

  12. So we have! I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read through that fixture list to check that stat out, and every time missed that.. duh!

    Oh well, haven’t won three on the bounce since September, it’s still pretty grim!

  13. Why drop McCleary indeed! When he came on at least he took players on and TRIED to be positive. He’s the exact kind of player Forest need ALL the time when available, hungry and good on the ball and bloody quick n all! He must be fit enough now since he joined the club.

    Hope Tyson’s ok for Saturday and can get some consistency, big ask I know.

    Finally, I do hope some hardcore fans track CC down, stick him in the boot, drive to Trent Bridge and dangle him over until he plays 442, WINGERS!!!! *shakes fists in an enraged fashion*

    In fact, I’ll fucking drive……. he hehe, just kiddin people.

    And so, we wait to see which Forest team turn up on Saturday.

    As ever, YOU REDS!!

  14. Pavlo, a) Chill a bit, b)Even if u did manage to do that he’ll just play whatever he feels like anyway c) Can u watch your language a bit & start using *!/& etc instead of using the full word. We admire your passion but we like this site without 2 much swearing (I hope I’m not by myself here!!)

    Oh well, few more weeks & we can spend the summer sulking again!!! 😦 Still, that won’t stop me supporting them next Sep from afar…

  15. Quite right, apologies all round, got a bit carried away.

  16. My playoff prediction…

    Am sad to say that I think Leeds will overtake us and therefore play Southend in the semis. We will scrape into 6th by the skin of our teeth and then be completely outplayed by Doncaster Rovers. The winning goal will be scored by Gareth Taylor!

  17. Or he’ll get sent off in the semi, we go on to win and play Leeds in the final. And Prutton scores the winner. Either way it’s not ideal!

    Just had a quick look on the official site to see if CC had done the decent thing yet (he hasn’t, and I suppose it’s too late to change this season anyway). I notice the ‘fan talk’ section hasn’t been updated since last night…I guess the Editor has been inundated with well thought out and reasoned comments and decided not to upset MA by posting them!

  18. cant be bothered to write anymore nothing to say that i havent said already nearly went down last night but in my heart i thought no dont bother they will slip up thank god i went with my gut feeling.Doesnt matter if we reach play offs we wont win anyway and we will still have this TWATT of a manager

  19. For the love of the club, will someone in England raise a banner during a game that says:


    Please! Someone do something about this!

  20. Great article again, spot on the money. Endured it last night, total garbage. We do not stand a prayer in the play off’s and theirs no guarantee on present form that we will retain our place anyway. Looks like CC taken to having ago at the supporters now, does he not realise it’s him with his crazy tactics and formations that we are sick of.

  21. Yes. I’m now of the opinion that Forest simply can not afford to play in a league higher than the one we are currently playing in. Pub teams have more passion, how about fielding Cotgrave Miners Welfare team on Saturday? at least we are guaranteed passion, entertainment and commitment

  22. Martin – or simply the reserves who seem to be doing ok ????

  23. They lost tonight!

  24. Um…….. was Smoulds watching & giving advice ???? maybee he went for inspiration and spread some of his motivation techniques around !

    Our once proud team doomed to less than mediocrity and a manager to match !

    NFFC – any thoughts on the fact that Mr Doubty ! cant afford the championship ?

  25. I can’t see how it could be true – I don’t know how much cash Championship football would give us compared to League One, but it must be running into millions – the way football is organised means that a disproportionate amount of cash comes to you the further up the pyramid you get….

    … although I can understand why people (self included) start to seek conspiracies to explain our repeatedly shocking underachievements.

  26. I suppose our desperate position, current record of under achievement is driving us crazy, look at our league position – hopefully the play off’s! at least 18 other clubs in that division would give there eye teeth for – we just expect more and we bloody well should !!!!

  27. It’s not so much the league placing – it’s our style of play, effort and commitment – I could cope with the playoffs if I felt we were gonna go all out to win ’em, but I can’t feel confident so long as Smoulds is in charge.

  28. Very true – but this division isnt about style its about results, given the current lack of effort & commitment, as you say, no amount of style will help get promotion and Smoulds hasnt a clue how to gain commitment, effort and you can forget style with him, he hasnt a clue. What gets me is that the players clearly do and occasionaly will do it hence Carlisle, so the question is why cant they do it week in week out ? Answer CC !

  29. Stop moaning y the reserves lost, Hudders played a very experienced team, we had no luck (smacking the post and a gk on top form).If we’d got a goal it’d be a different story. Well done to the reserves & Hoskins got through 70mins ish of football as well. GK was our reserve coach – I wish I was in Nottingham 2 see this talent & throw a pie into Calamitywoods face 2!!l ol 😦

  30. oops, I’ll correct the end – …!! lol 🙂

  31. Yiannaki – you missed the point mate – sarcasm – No moaning about the reserves ! It was about Smoulds, reserves have done fine !

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