Jammy Brummies..

Nottingham Forest – 1
Birmingham City – 1

Listening to some of the ‘matchline’ comments on the way back home via Radio Nottingham, some people seem to be under the impression we played like Brazil or something today.  We didn’t.  However, in the second half it was another demonstration that despite being demonstrably the better team throughout the game, we were unable to convert the chances we created to get the result our performance warranted.

Whilst I’m obviously heartened to see a good performance – particularly from a somewhat patched-up team following injuries, illnesses and a suspension – it does leave me worrying about our lack of deadliness upfront.  But on a cheerier note, Birmingham were booed off by their fans – a good following who were very noisy before the game, and up until about when we scored – then they were decidedly quiet.  We did play well against a contender in this league – albeit an out-of-form one.

Another thing that cheered me up was that the Nottingham Forest school for remedial refereeing was clearly closed today, as despite having the ‘phantom goal’ linesman today, the officiating of the game was broadly good.  It’s true that obnoxious slap-headed ex-Sheep midfield bastard Lee Carsley should’ve been booked for diving into Lee Camp, and numerous other offenses, but generally I thought the referee had a good game.

The first action for him was to book former Reds midfielder Nigel Quashie – who completed annihilated James Perch.  Had it not been so early in the game he might’ve seen red instead; it was certainly more worthy of it than McGugan’s challenge last weekend!  The visitors looked confident in possesion without creating much early doors – and it was the Reds to have the first chance on goal through Anderson, which didn’t really give Taylor much problem.

Birmingham took the lead in typically Forest comedic fashion.  Without Breckin in defence, it lacked organisation and a leader – as such it wasn’t really surprising to find a quickly taken freekick bamboozling them and forcing Camp to flap initially to block McFadden, but the striker made little mistake when the ball returned to him, nutmegging the ‘keeper into the goal – with Wilson, Morgan et al still standing perfectly still observing the scene without intervening.  Frustrating.

The remainder of the half played out fairly boringly; Birmingham were incredibly negative – defending in numbers and content to watch Forest’s labourious attempts to craft some kind of chance.  The most excitement came when Tys was bundled over by Jaidi – we thought it was in the box, the referee didn’t – and in fairness, there were no great protests from the pitch either.  Cohen duly spannered it into the two man wall.

Forest took an age to come out for the second half, the Birmingham team had been out and gone through a number of limbering up routines.  The tannoy man decided to attempt to rouse the crowd, to which my neighbour quipped ‘that almost makes me feel passionate, ready to see Pearce and Walker charge out to save the day… and then Wilson trudges out‘.. it summed it up really as the Reds ambled out to take their positions against the waiting visitors.

However, after seven minutes we’d equalised!  As Cohen stepped up to another setpiece, having been fouled by Jaidi, we joked that it would end up either into the keepers hands, going wide or not beating the first man – as it so happens, it found Chambers who conspired to flick it sideways – bizarrely perfectly for James Perch to dive headlong to get a header onto it and give Forest the equaliser.

And the Reds took some confidence from this – Garner was increasingly proving a nuisance to accompany Tyson, and they forced a decent save from Maik Taylor between them.  Tyson also burst down the left and fired a terrific cross over which Thornhill burst into the box to get onto, unfortunately it was at an awkward height and the young midfielder lacked the composure to keep it down.  But Forest were putting on the pressure and Birmingham were creaking.  

A long range shot from Heath was gathered by Taylor, and Forest seemed more assured at the back, having had a few Calamity Wes and Calamity Kelvin moments; Cameron Jerome wasn’t really able to provide much test of Camp from distance with a poorly executed lob.

Whilst we’re talking defence – Chambers impressed me today; and it’s worth pointing out since I’ve been a critic of his when he’s played badly.  On the radio after the game he intimated that he wasn’t happy with his performances so far either, and that he’s been playing with a hip injury which they’ve now “got to the bottom of”.  Now the fact that Smoulds will play someone out of their natural position whilst carrying an injury worries me – but it’s good that it’s sorted, whatever it was!

Smoulds took off the hardworking Anderson to be replaced by McCleary, shortly after Tyson really should have decided the game for us – he burst down the middle but couldn’t seem to get the ball under control – he certainly couldn’t get it onto his left foot and he ended up shooting wide from fairly close range when almost clean through.  Another chance fell to Garner who, after good work from McCleary, took it past a couple of Birmingham defenders before shooting from an angle and bringing a good save from Taylor.

Tyson had a frustrating afternoon – he worked his arse off and caused our visitors some real problems, but couldn’t quite get the break to get a clean chance on goal aside from the one he missed late on.  He was, along with Perch, a real stand out performer though.  If we were sitting comfortably in mid-table we’d be pleased this afternoon, as we’re not, it has to be considered as two points dropped because Birmingham were here for the taking and once again we didn’t punish a side we’ve outplayed.

It could be worse though, and the fans were generally pleased with a standing ovation from the home supporters – with booing and jeering from the travelling Brummies who’d not really seen much to cheer about from their side for the majority of the game.  A good second half performance; but we need to start converting these performances into wins – that’s four games on the bounce now where we’ve had the better of play on balance – but we’ve only taken five points from them.