Poor finishing and abysmal refereeing, but we got a point!

Respect the referee?  Its hard to do that in the face of such ineptitude.

Respect the referee? In the case of Karl Evans, that is impossible I am afraid.

Nottingham Forest – 0
Charlton Athletic – 0

A frustrating afternoon; one it would be easy to take out on the yet another utter useless git of a referee, or on the incredibly cynical behaviour of the visiting players (and of course, the subsequent failure to deal with this from aforementioned referee), but ultimately the take-home from this should be that we really should have done better with the multitude of chances we created in this game against a Charlton side who rarely offered much going forward at all.

We had the first solid chance of the game, a corner headed by Guy Moussi was diverted late by Earnshaw – bringing a great save from Nicky Weaver to keep the ball from crossing the line.  Shortly after he was called upon again to block a Martin shot at his near post – although having gotten into a good position, Martin really should have been looking to square the ball to Earnshaw or Tyson, both of whom were lurking ominously in the area.  Shortly after this Martin wonderfully skinned a couple of Charlton defenders before shooting just wide.

After another break forward Cohen burst forward with the ball, rather than elect to slip a throughball to either Tyson or Earnshaw the midfielder rattled a shot from range which Weaver blocked but spilled; Earnshaw pounced on the rebound but the big keeper was equal to the follow-up, and the linesman had his flag up anyway (didn’t lok offside to me either!).  A freekick was won after Tyson was (not for the only time) fouled which was flicked on by Tyson to Perch, whose header was just over.

In an unusual show of correctness, the referee spotted that despite Kelv definitely bringing down Varney (having tried to be too clever and arse around with the ball instead of making the clearance), Wes was covering and therefore a yellow card was appropriate.  Smith had his first real activity after this, saving a powerful shot by Bouazza before pouncing on the loose ball.  Charlton did start to put on some pressure towards half time, but it came to nothing and we reached half time pretty pleased with how things were going.

The second half began rather sloppily; Chambers had been withdrawn for Thornhill, with Perch slotting in at right back and Thornhill taking his place in midfield.  The referee seemed determined to give Charlton a freekick every time the ball was within 10 yards of Cohen, and to ignore the constant kicks, shirt-pulling and niggles from the Charlton players, who – to a man – went to ground should a Forest player so much as fart near them.  Needless to say Mr K G Evans fell for it every time, because he was a buffoon of the highest order.

After little was happening aside from a Martin snapshot, the loan man was withdrawn for McCleary who was almost immediately involved in a break forward, he eventually fed the ball through to Tyson whose effort on goal wasn’t the most challenging thing Weaver had to deal with all afternoon; frustrating because Earnie was in the box too – Forest’s final ball or shot was generally pretty poor this afternoon, and it’s annoying because Charlton were easily there for the taking.

The hard-working Earnshaw was withdrawn for the, well, not quite so hard working Andrew Cole, who in fairness was very nearly in the right place at the right time to open his Forest account.  Tyson did well to escape the attentions of the defenders who’d been kicking him around all game, and whilst he was forced wide he dug a decent cross out which evaded Weaver, unfortunately it was too high for Cole to connect and eventually ended up in a safe position.

Probably the best chance we wasted was to follow though, McCleary burst down the left and into the box, finding Thornhill inside the area who played the ball across to the far side of the goal with the strikers all running in – he looked to have done everything right, but nobody could quite get the decisive touch to give Forest a certain, and deserved (on balance of play, certainly not on finishing!) goal to get a much-needed win.

The referee rarely made a blunder in our favour, when Wilson clearly hacked a Charlton player and should have picked up his second booking; amazingly he was allowed to carry on.  However, unfortunately Thornhill wasn’t to be so fortunate.  He was booked earlier in the game for absolutely no reason at all – he’d basically won a header, the Charlton player – as all of them had all game – made a meal of it, he was booked.  The second booking was for a late challenge, although the ball had clearly I thought crossed the line for a throw-in.  

Fired up now, Forest continued to press, and after some great work down the left Tyson worked himself into a great position, but could only dredge up enough energy to fire tamely at Weaver.  Charlton did break though, and it was a tremendous reaction save from Smith that prevented Andy Gray from putting away what looked like a certain goal.  Interesting the swathes of fans who ironically cheered as he went for crosses, or took a rare opportunity to roll out a ball, were on their feet and applauding.  Two-faced bastards.

There was a lot of stoppage time, largely owing to the rolling around on the floor Pardew’s team of nancy-boys partook in throughout the game, but Forest were starting to tire and look frustrated; Ambrose had a late chance which Smith saved easily, and gradually the game petered out into full time, which was greeted to a cacophony of boos, all targeted at the referee, I might add – whose over-fussy and inept officiating may not have changed the result, but it hadn’t done much to improve the game either!

So, despite another shit referee and another set of cynical opponents brimming with gamesmanship, we were the architects of our own downfall this afternoon.  That can be viewed as a positive thing, because these are very much things within our power to change.  It was heartening to see Tys and Earnie working hard despite lack of service and lack of protection from the clown in black, as for Charlton, if that’s their way of playing I can see why they have to bus people from Kent over to try to fill a few seats at the Valley!

I think I might have over-estimated Charlton as contenders this season; as they certainly didn’t show that today – indeed, even when down to ten men Forest managed to keep them contained and break forward occasionally.  Today’s result ends three defeats in the league on the bounce, and that’s important, but a win would’ve been so much sweeter and I believe we created enough chances to have done that – so we must work to finish them off.  So we’re still in the drop-zone, but I’m still not too concerned about that just yet.

To see Pardew lashing out at the referee in the press is laughable, considering how that very referee allowed his despicable tactics and gamesmanship to carry on throughout the game.  Get back in your box you negative, cheating bastard.  You should be grateful you got a draw because you scantly deserved that.  Now kindly bugger thee off, you pointless, petty, blinkered man.

In memory of greatness..

Four years ago I was on my holidays, when my mobile phone went ballistic with the upsetting news of Brian Clough passing away.  As he’s a man who said himself that he wanted no profound epitaphs, I shan’t write at length here – but would encourage everybody to spare a thought for him as they wend their way to the City Ground, or otherwise.

If it weren’t for the amazing things that Mr Clough achieved at Trentside, I imagine I would not be writing this notw –  I probably would have succumbed to hunting glory along with many of my classmates, clad unfavourably in Liverpool shirts.  Thankfully when I was at that impressionable age, Forest actually weren’t a source of shame to follow – quite the opposite – and that bond which has been forged is a tough one to break – even through the David Platt years, and subsequent barrel-scraping leading to the worst spell in the clubs’ history!

I hope the club is to commemorate him appropriately, particularly in the light of the ill-thought out green jumper nonsense for the Sunderland cup game.  Rest in Peace, Sir Brian – let’s hope Forest can put on a show worthy of your memory this afternoon.