You fill up my senses.. with pure dullness and boredom..

king of the dirty bastards..

Chris Morgan: king of the dirty bastards..

Nottingham Forest – 0
Sheffield United – 1

Cor blimey, whatever you’ve heard about this game if you didn’t go, it was probably worse.  A terrible advert for the Championship, and a turgid game between two dour teams on a freezing cold night.  The kind of game that makes you wonder why you bother, which was summed up ten minutes from kickoff as the familiar sound of ‘thunk’, ‘thunk’, ‘thunk-thunk’, ‘thunk thunk thunk’ filled the air as Forest fans filed silently back to their cars, and their seats thunked back into the ‘unoccupied’ position, such was the utter inevitability of us failing to get a goal this evening.

If you wanted to sum up the good bits, both sides had two excellent chances – the Blades scored one of theirs, ours were both spurned.  The first chance came very early, Beattie drew a decent save from Camp with a header, and the ball fell to Halford who unfeasibly, from very short range, conspired to miss the target completely and hit the side netting.  A very early let off indeed.  One of our less excellent but half-chances fell to Garner who headed a Cohen cross just wide.

This was followed up with an excellent chance – Cohen slotted an absolutely sublime ball through the proverbial eye of a needle to find the run of Robert Earnshaw, who bore down one-on-one with Paddy Kenny, only to see the big keeper make the save.  It was a good save, don’t get me wrong, but you would expect Earnie to be making him work a bit harder than that.  The ball spilled out to Paul Anderson who spannered it over from the penalty spot – I was convinced it must’ve deflected, it was such a poor shot!

Half an hour into the game, (which was punctuated mainly by chav-like adolescents bemoaning their inability to fulfill their ambitions to work in the mining industries, which they somehow blamed upon similarly too-young-to-be-fucking-involved Forest fans), the Blades took the lead.  Kilgallon crossed to the back stick, Beattie headed it back across goal and then I could make out much at all aside from it going in, and Forest players protesting.  Apparently Brian Howard volleyed it in, so there you go.

Just before half time came probably our best chance – Tyson timed a diagonal run absolutely perfectly to latch onto another excellent through ball (this time from Garner), but the striker-cum-winger snatched at the chance with his right foot, and missed the target completely, which is pretty unforgivable.  Half time saw chuntering from the fans, and an increasing sense of inevitable defeat – as well as the questioning of why we’d bothered our arses to come out on a cold evening!

The second half started with Forest building from the back, then James Perch giving the ball back to the Blades.  I have often defended Perchy, and tonight he did well at winning the ball (aside from when he scythed Quinn down), but his distribution – not his strongest point in any game – tonight was abysmal.  Of course, it doesn’t help that his teammates generally don’t make space, or make themselves available for a pass, but even when they did it seemed to go wrong for Perchy tonight.

Probably the nearest thing to a chance in the second half was a limp-wristed header from Earnshaw from an Anderson cross, which Kenny didn’t exactly struggle to keep out.  However, Smoulds of course had an ace up his sleeve, oh yes.  He withdrew the clearly-still-not-match-fit Earnshaw and Brendan Moloney with the terrifying attacking potency of Arron Davies and Matt Thornhill, with Perch switching to right-back.

In fairness, we did start to try to pass it around a bit more, but a weak shot from the edge of the area for Anderson and an unlikely diving header from Garner were about all that came of it.  In fact, the best chance of the second half for us was when Kilgallon lofted the ball back to Kenny with Tyson threatening to burst through.  Of course, I thought it was against the rules for a goalkeeper to handle a backpass, but Kenny had to palm this one over the bar.  The referee gave the corner, which of course, we wasted.

Did we deserve to get anything other than nothing for the game?  Probably not, although it’s hard to argue the Blades were the better team – perhaps they just gave as much as they needed to; I must admit, casting an envious eye down their squad list I expected more from them; but they too have a mediocre-at-best manager so perhaps that explains it.  They’re still a bunch of cheating moany buggers as well.  Ho hum!

Even Smoulderwood was unusually down on things – he said we were second best; normally he always finds a spuriously positive spin to put on our many dour performances, but not tonight it seems!  To say that he was gleefully talking up two home games to keep closing the gap, it’s a bit depressing.  We’re still 3 points from safety (4 if you include goal difference), although Watford have a game in hand.  We’re one game away from the half way point of the season.  

What’s more depressing than anything is that I can’t bring myself to get behind the anti-Smoulderwood protests.  I fear the worst under his stewardship, I certainly can’t see him taking us to be a challenger in this division – currently I can’t see him keeping us in it.  But I always live in fear that whilst we may well be better off with a different manager, you can never be too sure who the next one will be!  Still, I’ll no doubt still be there on saturday for another healthy serving of disappointment!

So in summary, Sheffield United were average and dirty, the referee was garbage, and Forest were below average and wasteful.  An awful game of football on a bloody cold night.  We may or may not have deserved to lose, but I think we probably did – we missed the chances we had, we let them score – it’s as simple as that really, and it’s not good enough to secure survival.

Notts girls get their kits out for the lads (in Iraq and Afghanistan)..

CoverA calendar featuring sexy girls from Nottingham and the surrounding area is being launched to raise money for a charity helping British servicemen and women in the current conflicts.

The Ladies in Red Calendar, produced by the popular Nottingham Forest fan site Lost That Loving Feeling, will see proceeds going towards Help for Heroes, a UK charity that supports soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The calendar features 12 gorgeous girls posing in football strips and lingerie, making sure that 2009 already looks like being a good year for Nottinghamshire’s football fans.

What’s more, there is the chance to meet the ladies themselves at the official launch party which is taking place at the Southbank bar in West Bridgford on Thursday, 11 December. There will also be live music and a raffle raising even more money for Help for Heroes, not to mention the unveiling of the calendar itself. Entry is free.

The ‘Ladies in Red Calendar 2009 is available to order from now, priced at £11.99 with all proceeds going to Help for Heroes and delivery in time for Christmas.

Produced by a small group of volunteers from the LTLF site, the calendar is just the latest effort from the long-running fan site to raise money for good causes – in recent years they raised more than £5,000 towards the statue of Brian Clough recently unveiled in Nottingham.

JodieProject manager Richard Crouch said that it had been hard work to produce the calendar but the effort was well worth it considering the beneficiaries.

He said: “I always love to get involved with things, especially where charity is concerned. Once it was talked about this being in support of Help for Heroes I was totally sold.

But it had nothing to do with scantily clad models, honest!

He said: “I’m amazed at how much people can do in a short amount of time when the desire is there, organising both the calendar and the launch party. Southbank have gone above and beyond expectation to help us out. It will be a great night, and hopefully raise plenty of money for a worthy cause.

Photographer Lee Wallis said: “The shoots at the new sports centre at South Nottingham College were great fun. All the models were very receptive of what we were trying to do and happy to give up their time for free to help out a great charity.

He added: “Now I’m just looking forward to the launch party. It should be a great night and very busy. We have a band, a raffle with some excellent prizes and all the beautiful models shall be in attendance as an extra incentive for people to come down. We aim to raise some big money for Help for Heroes.

All photographs in this piece are copyright Lee Wallis Photography.