Off the bottom, and Smoulds is still the gaffer..

Smoulds promises Garner an extra special Christmas bonus...

Nottingham Forest – 1
Barnsley – 0 

So the key question of the day was where we were in 1984.  Well, the 29th of November, 1984 was a Thursday, so I was probably at school.  The people asking the question, with extra digits, were probably not even a twinkle in their cousin’s eye.  Oh yes, and there was another question too, an all the more serious one, that of our manager’s future – was Smoulderwood going to walk today?  Nobody seemed to be sure.

Certainly it was claimed vehemently outside the ground that bookmakers wouldn’t take a bet on the bronzen one leaving before the day was out; I didn’t venture into Ladbroke’s myself to check this out – but certainly the pre-match mood was a combination of vultures circling over a carcass, or maybe a funeral for a relative you liked but didn’t know very well.  Very few people whose conversations I earwigged (I do that a lot!) were particularly disparaging toward the manager – all in all, the confidence that ‘done deals’ had happened didn’t seem evident at all.

On to the game, we started with a kind of 4-3-3 arrangement; Moloney was in at right back, with Morgan and Wilson in the middle and Lynch at left back.  Anderson was on the right of the midfield three, McGugan on the left with Perch in the middle.  Earnshaw, Tyson and Garner were up front, with Garner sitting deeper initially so that we almost had a diamond system going on.  And it’s fair to say that for the first 20-30 minutes, it didn’t work very well at all!

Campbell Ryce had the first shot of the day after a mere 2 minutes, I’m not sure if it deflected or not, but Camp seemed to react late and ended up conceding a corner by saving it.  The corner came to nothing and Anderson was able to break through, the bodycheck by Souza saw him pick up a yellow card, McGugan wasted the freekick by spannering into the leering, ‘scab’ shouting Barnsley fans – swelled in number by the cheaper tickets.

On the twenty minute mark Jon Macken missed a gilt-edged chance when he managed to put the ball wide from just six yards out, after which Forest started to amass some pressure – Earnshaw put the ball just wide after Garner nodded it down to them, again Garner fed Earnshaw who in turn teed up Anderson, but the winger’s effort was blocked for a corner.  At the other end the impressive Moloney put in an excellent block to deny Macken again.

It was a disjointed game, much like tuesday night’s, between two teams who struggle to create chances – Barnsley knocked the ball around reasonably well, Forest – it’s fair to say – hadn’t really been up until now.  The formation had tweaked itself into more of a 4-4-2 with Tyson on the left, and it was down this channel he burst; initially I thought he’d missed the opportunity to slip Earnshaw in who was alongside him – instead he beat his man and crossed to Garner who rose to head home from close range to give us a very unlikely lead.

Just before half time there was further evidence that we’ll never get a penalty this season – Garner was completely clattered in the box; ending up clutching his head (ironic given the away fans odd chanting of ‘Stand up for Iain Hume’).  The referee wasn’t having any of it, though, as we’re becoming accustomed!  Half time came, and we had a chance to reflect in the bitter cold on whether we’d be able to add to, or hold, our lead.  General opinion wasn’t positive!

The second half started much more positively; McGugan seemed to take the ball through the entire defence before crossing to Earnshaw whose effort was blocked.  Shortly after this the midfielder cut in from the left and from the edge of the area curled an excellent shot which bounced off the bar and over.  Although, somewhat inevitably, the visitors too were creating chances – a long range effort was tipped around the post by Camp for a corner, and the pressure was starting to mount.

Kelv had a calamity moment when he slipped in the area leaving Cureton with a pretty much clear go at goal – luckily for us Lynch was on hand to sort it out.  Earnie was withdrawn for McCleary, and shortly after Anderson (my man-of-the-match, just pipping Perch), was withdrawn for Thornhill.  Moloney put in a goal-saving challenge to deny substitute Rigters a pretty much nailed on goal.

Tyson’s petulance picked him up a booking; although Barnsley’s ‘Mr Bump’  (Stephen Foster) should’ve kept his gob shut as the referee didn’t look like he was due to act until he mouthed off at him; he’d kicked away the ball after the whistle had gone – picking up what is apparently his fifth booking of the season so that’s a game out for the striker.

Four minutes of stoppage time was announced, and Garner (who’d also picked up a booking for something – after a clash of heads in the box) was withdrawn for debutant James Reid.  Well into stoppage time the referee decided to ignore another blatant shove by a Barnsley player – this time in our penalty area – allowing ‘Mr Bump’ Foster to head goalward – well, almost – it hit the bar.  It should’ve been blown up as a foul, however. 

The final act of note was a freekick 35 yards out – Barnsley sent their ‘keeper Heinz Muller up front, but it was a decoy of sorts – as De Souza unleashed an almost Metgod-esque (well okay, not really!) effort that whizzed through the crowded box; but Lee Camp did exceptionally well to keep his concentration and make the save – which pretty much brought about the final whistle to cheers of relieve from the home fans, and miner’s strike-inspired venom from the visitors – most of whom weren’t born during them!

And so we got the win; of the options open to us, it would appear that either Forest are playing a very elaborate pantomime, or that the ‘he’ll be gone regardless of the result’ type rumours that were being peddled as fact before today were infact a pile of turd.  Whilst I wasn’t (and am not) necessarily opposed to his removal as manager, with all this talk of Billy Davies coming in, I must admit I was a little relieved to get back to the car and hear his dulcet tones on the radio as I negotiated my way through the traffic to home.

What the next few days holds is anybody’s guess, but certainly with the loan window closed no matter who is managing us, they would have the same squad to work with – so perhaps Kylie was right all along, and the devil you know might indeed be better in some circumstances.  Whatever happens, we needed those three points desperately – and for now at least, I don’t have to Photoshop Smoulders from the banner for this website!

PS: To the idiots with the banner, save it ’til after the game, if you have to at all, eh?

17 Responses

  1. Well done you Reds, good battling performance. & well done CC. Despite all the turmoil you seem likea decent bloke.

    Onwards and upwards

  2. Forest haven’t been playing as well as they were at the start of the season though results are coming slightly easier albeit without the style. I thought we would win today and stay the inevitable execution though it will come as soon as we lose. As for Calderwood, I think he has been the best we have had since Paul Hart however I think he lacks some nouse though he is still learning, especially at this level. I would like to see him stay, until Christmas or the New Year just because it’s yet another management change and it wasn’t so long ago Forest were changing their managers like they were going out of fashion. Also Billy Davies is a worry, especially with Earnshaw whom he was very unwilling to play at Derby. Brian Laws would have been my choice though he has just signed a new contract. Having said that, a new manager coming in for the Christmas period would at least give him lots of games in quick succession to adapt to life, City Ground side. Good result all in all, lucky maybe for Colin but 3 points and off the bottom is a step in the right direction.

  3. Hey nffc – you forgot to mention Terry the Kitman’s special appearance in the matchday programme!!

    Bloody great result today. When a draw would have been absolutely the right result in terms of quality (or lack of) of play, we go and skank a win. Exactly what we’ve not been able to do all season.

    Maloney was brilliant – just shows what a difference it makes when you have someone playing as a fullback who actually understands the position. He made the numerous blocks and interceptions he did not because he’s the best player in the world but because he’s a fullback – he knows where he should be, he knows how to show a player down the line, not letting them cut inside, etc, etc. Very, very bold of CC to recall him and thrust him straight into the side. Brave decision and fully justified. Well done Colin.

    Anderson – his pace and trickery were a joy to behold. His dreadful decision making , woeful crossing and at times overplaying bordering on greediness were not. Get your head up and have a look before you cross fella. If there’s only a short arsed little Welsh fella in the box, try pulling the ball back rather than putting in a head height cross.

    Wilson – Generally, a much better performance but there was a moment in the first half that summed up this fella perfectly and highlighted exactly why he should not be skipper. A ball was played pretty through the middle towards the left. Wes was marking one forward and Kelvin should have got to the to the ball ahead of the ofther striker and put his foot through it. What did he do? Dither. Back off. And then when the ball went out for a corner, he berated Anderson for not closing down. Yes, thats right. He berated our right winger for not being in the left back/centre back position. The fact Anderson was the first person back was lost on our so called captain. The man is absolutely useless as skipper and should be replaced immediately. Give the armband to someone vocal. Someone the players will respond to. Lee Camp would be my choice as we don’t have any other real cnadidates, do we? Perch would be 2nd choice.

    Speaking of whom, what a brilliant game he had yet again. Very understated, almost unnoticed but without him I fear we’d have taken a right tonking today.

    My MoM would go to Maloney. Great game and when you consider the pressure the young fella must have been under, all the more impressive. Nice to hear McGugan admit he’d had a stinker on the radio afterwards. He was dreadful and if he hadn’t produced two moment of absolute brilliance, and found his heart in the last 5 minutes, he’d have taken a real pasting for the dross and lack of commitment he showed today.

    Let hope this is a turning point. 3 points that weren’t deserved, largely the right shaped pegs in the right shaped holes and some great backing from the 25,000 crowd – although they were absolutely right to lambast the team for not making a challenge at one point. It could all have turned nasty then but credit to the players for battling from then on.

    U REDS!!

  4. I don’t get the programme, mate – but good to know Terry is getting some coverage!

  5. NFFC spot on again.
    Anderson MOM … first half awesome. Maloney fantastic. Mcgugan aweful crossing and at then at times second half class. Earnshaw, class above the rest at 1/4 fit.
    Moment of the match is when Lynch on the left looked up from 35 yards, saw the keeper off his line and hit a dipping rocket shot bound for the top of the net … finger tip save spoilt what would have been one of the greatest goals ever seen at the CG (how can you put top spin on a football … answers on a post card)
    Great atmosphere. I was apprehensive before the match. Vulture (Press) appeared from behind main stand before match and engulfed CC when he came onto the pitch like a possy of undertakers. All the crowd got behind the team and this is how it should be …
    BUT 10 mins into second half we gave up WHY ?? lack of confidence ? Probably the defensive mindset of the Manager in my opinion?
    Will we survive playing like this … NO CHANCE. Raise it 10% we’ve got a slimmer of hope, 20% just maybe.
    Do the NFFC fans deserve it? On this performance … is the Pope a Catholic?

  6. NFFC. Where was the banner/What did it say? Couldn’t quite strain mi neck from lower main stand? Surely not before kick off? during the match?

  7. Lower BC stand, I think – I didn’t see it.

    Something about an obituary (I presume metaphorical rather than real!) for Smoulds.

    During the game, just before we scored. People involved were taken to the concourse by security, but returned after.

    Shit like that shouldn’t happen during the game.

  8. As a true red im chuffed for the club and the fans tonight WE BLOODY WELL NEEDED THAT EH !

    As for CC i kind of admire how he has stayed resolute despite all the flak im still not a believer but billy davies and rumours alike scare me.Come on forest another couple of decent results and we could be out the bottom three .We need 25 points by the end of the year to be on course for survival we can do it.

    U reds

  9. 25 points is still a big ask, we still need to “click” and keep our best players free from injury.

  10. Jar of Wasps?

    Sometimes the jar needs a whack and see what the bloody well happens …. might be what Doughty has done to see what falls out.

    Never seen the Upper Trent End minging so much second half, flasks and blankets flying everywhere, probably swamped the protestors …. more of it …. can’t wait for the next 3 points.

  11. From radio commentators the banner said something like cc is tactically naive and another similar comment.They were amazed the banner was opened so early in the match.
    Fantastic result and I wish towards the end the players would learn how to keep possesion of the ball,preferably in the opponents half. The way they play doesn´t help my blood pressure.
    Camp for captain when Brecks not playing. I hope coventry have a hard match at reading on monday. Who should replace Tyson next week ? Did Mcleary do enough today ? Looks like cc is staying so lets hope for anothe 3 points at coventry.

  12. We were still shite – its just they were shite-r than we were!!!

    Some good displays on the park though, Perch, Anderson and Maloney all putting in excellent shifts for me. Maloney getting my MOTM nod for an excellent performance when everyone wondered whether he was up to the task.

    Still 3 pts is 3pts and I will take them anyday.

    Question is though…..havent we just delayed the inevitable????

  13. great all round performance – special praise for anderson and moloney who were both awesome.i’m with alan camp for captain, watched him closely yesterday constantly on at wilson and morgan. great peice as ever nffc.

  14. I thought Moloney was outstanding. And despite his occassional greediness and the odd wayward cross Anderson worked bloody hard and had us out of our seats with his running at defenders. Perch played well, as did Wes, and Tys once again ran himself into the ground. Lewis had a stinker, but once he sorts himself out we’ll look much better in the middle of the pitch.
    Personally I was disappointed with Garner. Too often he lost the ball and refused to chase back, and at the moment we need EVERYONE to come off that pitch totally knackered.
    If Calderwood still insists on playing that bizarre 4-1-2-1-2 system again then drop Garner for Cohen. (It didn’t work though, Colin. So don’t)

  15. Edit….don’t play the bizarre system, you can still drop Garner for Cohen though

  16. When he’s fit…

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