Ten man Canaries send Reds to the basement..

Nottingham Forest – 1
Norwich City – 2

A combination of timing and that crippling sense of lethargy when needing to chronicle the demise of the Reds contributed to no match report yesterday, and a fairly sizably crippling hangover might well make this one pretty short.  In the absence of my ramblings the comments on my sulky post from yesterday seem to be doing a good job in providing an insight into how bloody infuriating we are at the moment.

Now, whether I’ve written it before or not I’m not sure, but I’m sure like most of you I was eyeing the Norwich game as the beginning of a run of fixtures that would see us start to amass some points and get ourselves into a healthier looking league position.  As it stands we supposedly had an ideal start – down to ten men, with the majority of the game with superior numbers, but of course, there’s the massive drag factor of the Sky TV cameras.

Not to mention that of our players.  Earnshaw picked up an injury during the warm up (prompting not unreasonable questions as to what our fitness/coaching team are actually doing!), so the long awaited return of, frankly, our only striker who has shown any indication of finishing off his chances is delayed once more.  It’s a worry, as his return was part of the longed-for resurgence.

So, the game.  The first half wasn’t so bad – aside from a few things.  Camp was the first keeper called into action, and did well to smother a chance that had fallen to Bell.  Forest too attacked with something approximating purpose, with Marshall in the Canaries goal being forced to punch clear as his defence was under pressure.  Cohen was proving our most potent conduit, crossing to Tyson who headed wide.

The half was panning out to be what it was, two not-particularly-good sides at least attempting to play some decent football, and given the defensive frailties of both sides, there were opportunities for attackers to have chances and draw saves from the goalkeepers.  Garner brought a final save from Marshall before Norwich were reduced to ten men – which would surely open up the game for the Reds?

Tyson burst down the middle with a clear run to goal, and was scythed down pretty much on the 18 yard line.  Whilst I reckon it probably was a freekick rather than a penalty, it would’ve been nice to have a bit of luck in our favour on a decision like that.  As it was, Doherty was sent off for a professional fowl, and the freekick was taken by Anderson – squaring to Thornhill who struck the ball on target, but insufficiently to beat Marshall.

Norwich withdrew Hoolahan for Otsemobor to rebalance their side in the wake of losing their captain, and then immediately went up the Forest end and scored – Bell crossing for Patterson to volley into the ‘net from 12 yards or so.  So within two minutes the stalemate was broken – in favour of the team with ten men!

You could see that Forest had the right intentions to try to take advantage of their extra man, but it was tentative and whilst putting some degree of pressure on in the first half, with headed chances for Garner etc, it didn’t really look all that convincing.  Just as it wasn’t looking so, though, Anderson latched onto a Garner throughball which put him through on goal and able to curl the ball into the net to make it 1-1 five minutes before half time.

At half time, aside from presumably telling the lads they didn’t need to make an effort for the next 45 minutes, Smoulds introduced Garath McCleary to the action in place of Matt Thornhill who was struggling with an injury.  And Forest were, well, the were starting to show signs of the ‘let’s hoof it up to Tyson’ game that we are all painfully familiar.

Garner got on the end of an Anderson cross, but again was denied by Marshall in the Norwich goal; Cohen too was denied by the ‘keeper after a decent cross by Tyson looked bound for the top corner.  It had the feeling of one of those games were clumsy Forest would labour and create chances, and ultimately not take them and end up with a disappointing draw.  Frustrating as that would have been, it can always get worse, however!

Leroy Lita would be the architect of our downfall, taking the ball forward to Croft who crossed to, well, three Forest players who conspired to see the ball end up in the back of the net.  Chambers was credited with the goal, Cohen was close to it too.  Ultimately, it was predictably calamitous!  Norwich proceeded to shut up shop, Forest proceeded to trudge around and never get back into the game.

As regular readers will know, I’m not a fan of booing – but it was a pretty shameful showing, and leaves us back on the bottom of the pile whilst we contemplate tuesday’s trip to fellow strugglers Doncaster – assuming of course the game doesn’t get snowed off, which is a possibility.  Smoulds seems to have pivoted from tolerated (and even liked) to being villified again, and frankly, I’m left feeling like I can’t really be arsed to keep writing about it!

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