Forest prop up the Championship…

Plymouth Argyle – 1
Nottingham Forest – 0

Plymouth without a home win so far this campaign, Forest without a win on their travels – that less high profile physics conundrum of what happens when two immovable objects collide finished with a conclusion that was inevitable to all good cynically minded Forest fans.  We lost.  Again.  To a silly goal.  Again.  We are now bottom of the league, albeit still after only eight games into the league campaign, but nonetheless, it doesn’t make any happier reading regardless of the distance into the season.

The first half wasn’t particularly inspiring from either side; for Forest it was characterised by infuriatingly wasteful possession in defence and midfield alike.  Aside from an early chance put over the bar for the home side, neither goalkeeper had a great deal to do – Paul Smith was the first called into action to deal with a shot that deflected off Fallon after Guy Moussi was the latest culprit in the great Nottingham Forest ‘give the ball to Plymouth’ extravaganza that was unfolding on the Home Park pitch.

After half an hour or so Argyle started to come more into the game, crafting half-chances for Gallagher whilst Forest pumped the ball aimlessly forward for the lively-but-surely-frustrated Nathan Tyson, who manfully attempted to do the best he could with the (total lack of) service he was receiving from his team mates.  As it looked like a half time stalemate was approaching, Wes had one of those ‘headless chicken’ moments we’ve so far been largely spared this season.

He had what looked like a relatively straight forward clearance to make having taken the ball from Gallagher, but it ended up bizarrely straight into Fallon’s path and headed goalward having richocheted off the cumbersome striker’s leg.  Another bizarre goal, another unlucky goal?  Perhaps, but ultimately, as with all the others, it was another preventable goal – and whilst I have been fairly quick to cite bad luck in previous games, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that we create our own luck in this game.

Late and rare involvement from Andrew ‘Play me or I’ll leave’ Cole and Nathan Tyson almost created us a chance to bag an equaliser before half time, but a couple of solid defensive blocks put paid to that, and the Reds were forced in at the break a goal down with some kind of comeback required of them.  The omens weren’t good.

The second half saw a change in personnel; Smoulderwood continues his policy of a half time withdrawal of players who’ve been booked – this time Perchy was victim, being replaced by McCleary to hopefully give the Reds more attacking potency.  This half started more brightly for Forest, bringing the first save of the game from Larrieu was none other than Andrew Cole; latching on to a through ball from midfield, the veteran striker shot from a tight angle, forcing the keeper to save with his legs.

More chances were being created, and at times Tyson and Cole worked well together to cause Plymouth some problems; not least when McCleary burst forward and played a pass to Cole who unfortunately couldn’t find the target, his shot agonisingly wide of the far post.  Cohen struck from range bringing another save from Larrieu; before the momentum was lost with Lee Martin hitting the deck and requiring treatment.

The home side almost capitalised immediately, Mackie turning Bennett inside out before cutting inside and thundering a shot off the top of the crossbar.  It became apparent that Martin wasn’t going to continue in the game, and Arron Davies was introduced; by now the home side were well in the ascendancy, calls for a penalty were unheeded when Mackie appeared to be making a meal of a challenge Benno put in on him as the ball came over aerially.  

Smithy pulled out his characteristically cracking save when a Plymouth substitute looked to be certain to double the home side’s lead.  Forest did have a late flourish, but alas Luke Chambers could only conspire to spanner the ball over from close range after a cracking cross by Cohen, and Larrieu was equal to a decent freekick from Cohen; and finally Cole was denied by some stout defending by the home side.

Once again we were faced with some fairly shambolic refereeing, Wes picking up a second booking for – well – sod all as far as I can tell.  In the aftermath both Cole and Tyson appeared to also pick up bookings for dissent; which capped off a rather rubbish afternoon as is becoming characteristic of the Reds away from the City Ground (and indeed, at the City Ground in the last couple of games).  This run of results is starting to get quite concerning.

I’m not sure that calling for the managers head is the answer just yet; although I have done so in the past with Smoulds, admittedly.  With dodgy rumours of Allardyce waiting in the wings, sometimes the devil you know can be the better option – but we shall see, I certainly don’t expect the outcome of the Sheffield Wednesday game to be decisive for his future though, we’ve had seemingly more obvious moments in the past when a sacking was called for and it wasn’t forthcoming.  So let’s keep some perspective.

Farewell Jimmy; Ireland, and other updates..

There’s a few things been occurring that deserve comment over the last few days.

Firstly a belated wishing of sympathies to our neighbours Notts County, who are mourning the loss of their legendary manager Jimmy Sirrell, whose name now graces a stand in their ground.  Being of an age not quite old enough, I have no personal recollections of him, but from what I’ve gleaned since then it seems that football has lost a real character, and Nottingham can now only reminisce about the time we had probably two of the most highly regarded managers in the game working within the city.  Rest in peace, Jimmy.

Secondly, fresh out of left field, Forest have announced a friendly with Ireland – yes, Ireland – to be played on the 9th October.  I for one am a little peed off that the notice for this was so short, I quite fancy a jaunt over to the Emerald Isle to cheer on the Reds, but alas unfortunately these days this poor blogger requires more notice than a week and a bit to be planning jaunts on cheap flights.  It’s a great opportunity for a bit of a jolly for those of you who can make it, so enjoy it!  I was going to suggest drinking responsibly, but unless you earn an obscene amount it’s difficult to do anything other than that in Dublin, in my experience!

The other news of note which you may or may not have noticed is that the Left Lion’s ‘Left Brian‘ column has risen like a reluctant phoenix from the ashes of last season’s petering out; a combination of lack of reminders, and me being a forgetful sod meant that my column with Nottingham’s premiere media gorgon ended with a mid-season whimper rather than the end-of-season bang that it perhaps deserved.  Or perhaps it didn’t; either way, myself and the powers-that-be at Left Lion shall be endeavouring to keep it alive this time around!

The final exciting news as the Reds build up to visit Plymouth is that, whilst we have the short-term disappointment of Robert Earnshaw’s lack of availability for the game, the news that McGugan, Anderson and Garner are all stepping up training and expecting to feature in reserve action soon is really rather exciting indeed; given our recent misfortunes in converting possession and chances into goals, the news that some of our (hopefully) potent attacking options are on the way back to contention is timely indeed.

Oh, and I still refuse to believe the appointment of Joe Kinnear to the post of Newcastle United manager isn’t some sort of elaborate hoax…