Turning a corner? We can’t even take a corner!

It’s fair to say that Forest have never excelled at corners – certainly not in my time of supporting them since the late 80’s.  So even the late and great Brian Clough seemed to fall foul of our default state of rubbishness.  Aside from Breckin’s halcyon season of nodding in a number of goals from corner kicks, I can’t really remember a time when we were a consistent threat from them, that said, I do have a pretty bad memory!

The obvious joke I’ve heard a number of times is that the reason we’re so poor at attacking corners is because we only have our defence to practice against – and you only have to watch the panic that ensues – not just at corners, but whenever the ball is in our penalty area – to see why perhaps in training corner practice seems somewhat easier.  However, we are reaching new levels, beyond the bottom of the barrel, this season.

Even in times past, when we knew that we weren’t much cop from corners, we would get a bit excited – we’d add one to our goal’s scored tally and chant it, finishing up with a ‘come on you Reds!‘; now we just kind of sit there.  On our row we take bets on a number of outcomes:

  • Won’t beat the first man – 1:2
  • Straight into the keeper’s hands – 2:1
  • Over everyone and out for a throw-in – 4:1
  • Cleared by a defender unchallenged – 3:1
  • Forest player heads/kicks off target – 5:1
  • Forest player scores direct from corner – 14:1
  • Forest player score after scramble from corner – 10:1
  • Own goal scored from corner – 9:1

You get the general idea.  Frankly, the inability for a professional footballer to take an unchallenged set piece and put it into a dangerous position in the penalty area is criminal.  Perhaps not every time, we’re all entitled to make mistakes – but at least some of the time!  What’s worse is that our general crossing and freekicks (also not exactly strengths) are becoming equally insipid.  And don’t get me started on the series of desperate long balls we start launching at Earnshaw!

It’s all part of the wider problem that we don’t seem to be able to take advantage of the most basic of set plays in football.  In last night’s game with Sheffield United a player was fouled just outside the area, but the referee (rightly) played an advantage, I was gutted – we ended up with a corner.  Admittedly the freekick would inevitably have been thwacked into the wall or into the away end, but at least sometimes we conspire to get them on target.  Instead we had a corner which was inevitably cleared by the first defender.

I have no idea whether this is lack of confidence, lack of training, lack of ability, some kind of conspiracy to continue the trend of our awfulness at corners or some kind of ancient curse on the club that prevents us from profiting from such things – but whatever it is, it’s one of the many things that I hope is on the list of Smoulds and his team to get sorted.  The likes of Cohen, McGugan, Anderson etc should be capable of whipping in a decent cross at least every other corner.  Shouldn’t they?  If they aren’t, then perhaps they should relinquish corner-taking duties forthwith!

Then, having addressed the actual taking of the corner, we just need a Breckin-esque target in the middle – speaking of whom, has anybody heard anything about the whereabouts of our captain?  Given the nervousness and lack of experience in defence, I would have thought he would be just the kind of steadying influence we might crave.  Anybody would think he’s fallen out with Smoulderwood the way he’s disappeared completely…