Scrappy win puts “the A word” back on the agenda…

Nottingham Forest – 1
Luton Town – 0

Unusually Smoulds summed up the game this afternoon quite succinctly.  He said we didn’t create much of not in the first half, played well in short spells in the second half, and that ultimately the result was much more important than the performance.  Pretty good summary, really, it was a frustrating afternoon which was decided by the hardworking Nathan Tyson, who worked hard whilst receiving the kind of service that NTL customers are more accustomed to.

Chances in the first half were limited to a decent Commons curling shot which gave us a corner courtesy of Luton ‘keeper Dean Brill, an off-the-line clearance from Breckin after a corner.  Then after around a half hour pause of turgid and laboured football again Commons shot but weakly, before another corner brought a half chance that Cohen volleyed wide.  Hutchinson played a cunning game with Tyson, holding on to him just enough to get away with.

The talk of using wingers was obviously a media smokescreen by Smoulds, because we didn’t in the first half – however with Brett Ormerod being withdrawn due to illness for Garath McCleary, there promised to be more creativitiy in the second half – immediately hugging the right touchline and putting a decent cross in which evaded Tyson, waking up the crowd somewhat who were quiet, and not particularly numerous, despite a decent following from already-relegated Luton.

Other highlights of the second half largely featured Bennett, who made an excellent Cruyff turn and then a stepover (the latter for no apparent reason) when surging forward, before being poleaxed and losing the ball, Benno also put in an absolutely heroic block when former-Reds target Matthew Spring looked an absolute dead cert to score after the ball broke to him in the box after some rather shoddy defending on the part of the Reds.

We finally took the lead after excellent work by Commons took him past two Town defenders before crossing towards McCleary.  Reports I’ve read suggested he headed across goal aiming for Tyson, but I suspect it was just a poor intended goalbound header, either way, after several attempts the tenacious Tyson was eventually able to spanner the ball into the net much to the relief of the crowd – a well deserved goal for him after a tireless performance.

Luton wilted, playing merely for pride they basically stopped trying for a spell – Sammy Clingan had a good effort from range from a corner which was just wide, however, Forest too were starting to play lazily and letting the visitors back in it.  Spring unleashed a powerful shot which wasn’t hard for Smith to stop, but he couldn’t gather it, the ball ended up with Emanuel who also brought a save from the Reds ‘keeper.  At the other end Cohen had a shot deflected wide.

Commons was withdrawn with about five minutes left for Lewis McGugan, and immediately from a corner Wes Morgan was unlucky when Brill was able to tip his header over the bar.  He again had to make the save from Tyson after McCleary had done really well to find him with another cross, after which Tyson was withdrawn for a deserved ovation (tinged with celebrations in some pockets of the ground who’d discovered Southend had scored) for Thornhill, and that was pretty much it.

Of course, elsewhere Carlisle were busy losing and Doncaster were busy drawing – which puts us within just three points of automatic promotion with two games left.  Personally I think it’s too late to be thinking about that, but if you let yourself for a minute it is a tantalising prospect!  Certainly it will make checking results compulsory during next weekend’s trip to Hartlepool assuming of course that we can do the business in our own games.

I noticed early into the game a ‘Calderwood Out’ banner in Capital One corner – which seems a stupid thing to be unfurling in the run-up to a likely playoff campaign.  Clearly many fellow fans felt the same as it was roundly criticised by the fans around there until it was withdrawn.  That said, a fair number of those fans who rightly pointed out we should be backing the team no matter what at this stage of the season presumably were also the ones who booed the team off at half time.  Silly people.

All in all, an uninspiring performance but an invaluable three points potentially – to be honest, the only players who really stood out today were Bennett (not always for good things, but that’s just who he is!), Tyson who worked his arse off, McCleary offered us a different outlet and James Perch looked more comfortable than he has in a long time in the holding midfield role – so hats off to them, the rest of ’em, must try harder in subsequent games!  You Reds!

12 Responses

  1. I feel good for Nathan, he is finding his good form at the right moment. I have to add that Carlisle has to play against two teams still battling to avoid relegation (Millwall away and Bournemouth home), and Donny against one (Cheltenham away), while Luton showed today that they do play for pride and could maybe scratch and claw a couple of points off the Rovers. A good deal will be decided on what Cheltenham will do at Oldham (we would prefer them to lose) and whether or not Bournemouth beat Crewe next Saturday (everybody hurray for the Cherries here). On the other hand, both teams we have to play (Hartlepool and Yeovil) have already secured their League One status for next season, so ON PAPER we are in a better position than our opponents. Everybody knows I’m the optimistic type around here; still, if we finally do it, it will be close to a fairy tale!
    Oh, and I was forgetting… If Bournemouth closed down tomorrow (which I don’t wish at all, I would hate any club to go out of business), we would get one point ahead of Donny and just one point behind Carlisle. But again, if it happens, I would love it to be on the pitch so that I can savour it wholeheartedly!

  2. I believed a month ago and I still believe now!! COME ON YOU REDS!!!!

  3. it is possible and I believe it will happen. if it does not happen then donny will go up. i cannot see carlisle getting six points. of course we need to win! but now is the time to believe. can we beat hartlepool and yeovil ? yes we can can and if we think we can then that puts the pressure on the other two…and their fans. we really need to believe and so do the players. it really is possible.

  4. I agree with your thoughts NFFC that we have left it too late for the ‘A word’. It would be fantastic were it to happen, particularly if it was achieved against Yeovil Town!

    But surely Donny Rovers will beat Luton at home next week and we don’t usually enjoy long away trips. If things go badly next weekend it might work in our favour. We could then rest our important players against Yeovil and reward the reserves for winning the title by fielding the majority of them for that game.

  5. Yes Aylesbury Red, they will probably beat Luton next Saturday but will then most probably face a Cheltenham side fighting for their lives, and on their own pitch. Let’s stay positive, myself and two or three other people here (no more! lol) have been just that when everyone else was moaning that the team was playing awfully.
    U REDS! We believe!

  6. Don’t get too carried away fellas, we were bloody awful in the first half and were very lucky to be playing such a crap team. And what was McClearys reward for the run and cross within moments of coming on? Yep, CC told him to have 5 minutes on the left wing!
    Sorry, but there’s only one way we are going to achieve promotion and that is if the players that are selected completely ignore the Managers instructions and do their own thing.
    Well, maybe not, but I hope you get my drift.
    Glad Tys got his goal, he has worked exceptionally hard in recent games, and thoroughly deserved it.

    Incidentally, what was going on in the Capital One stand? We noticed a bit of police activity. Also, there was some decent singing/atmosphere above us in the upper trent before more steward intervention put paid to that. On the one hand the Club tell us to get behind the team, then when we do they send in the heavies!

    Anyway, nice to play poorly but come away with 3 points…maybe it’s do-able after all……………….

  7. Hasnt the bloke in the UBE with the “CC Out” banner got a right of freedom of speech – lol

    Lets face it, a lot of us have had that very same feeling this season – at least he had the b*llocks to demonstrate it! 🙂

  8. Largely forgettable game, but a great result, indeed results. We could have done with Donny losing, as we now have to rely on TWO teams slipping up, wheras we would have been third on GD. Also if we’d beaten Bristol Rovers, Luton last time, etc, etc, ad nauseam. Forget the A word – whoever gets it will have it snatched from them by the Board reveiwing Leeds’ case, as they will get some or all of their points back. It will not affect teams below, as the top 6 will be certain by next Saturday, when Leeds win at Yeovil on Friday, but only 2nd place. There will be no time to fight it before the start of next season, as with the pointless arguement that the Blades had before this season.

    The good thing for me is that we have more confidence, and have put together a good run (so far) and are not in the habit of losing. This is a GOOD THING going into the playoffs. I shall have to start queing for my Wembley tickets! You REDDDDSSSSS!

  9. In the first half you couldn’t tell who was playing for promotion and who was playing to fight the drop but that is football. 2nd half was completely different and tyson and mcclearys pace caused them problems. Was a a great bit of skill by commons to to get past 2 defenders and his cross was knodded back down totally deliberatley by mccleary for tyson. Some scarey moments before the final whiste but at least we won! Gonna go to the last game i think but we can def do it!

  10. I think the upper trent end was lifted by a combination of the cold, the halftime results and the introduction of McLeary. Also, if the players spend the first 5 mins of each half biting into tackles as they did in the second half, then they will always get that reaction from the fans. You do your bit and we will do ours. I couldn’t see what was happening to get the police involved but I would not be suprised if it was just an over-zealous reaction to normal fans getting behind the team! I thought that was what the club have been crying to the NEP about?! Also, I was watching how the stewards were going about things in the A and B blocks, and (from a distance admitedly) it real does look like they are over the top to a few people standing up. That’s why people buy tickets there so let them do it and you’ll get a better atmosphere. I think that because the numbers are down in that area its easier for the stewards to try and enforce the’sit-down’policy, if it was full I don’t think they would bother like they don’t with the away fans. So let the good times roll and the atmosphere will return!

  11. Yeah, we’ve got to hope for TWO teams to slip up, not one, and return 100% ourselves.

    What are the bookies offering? Anyone know?

  12. Patrick, we’re 2.56 with Betfair to get promoted, with Carlisle at 1.8 and Leeds 2.5 as the only teams ahead of us. However this market also includes being promoted via the playoffs.

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