Forest score five, but only win by one!

Norwich City – 2
Nottingham Forest – 3

Apologies for the delay in posting this, I returned to Nottingham this afternoon to a number of distractions!  Thanks for your concerns, Vasillis, but worry not, everything’s fine!

So, the drive to Norwich is always interesting – if you don’t go ‘cross country’ you end up in Suffolk before heading back upward into Norfolk which can unnerve the unwary traveller!  However, I got to my destination in time for a quick wander around East Anglia’s capital, and it was really rather nice.  In my parochial way, judging everywhere I go by football chants, I imagined a ‘frontier town’ type affair, but I was wrong!

Pembo’s first game in charge saw him ring the changes, five of them no less.  And he changed the formation!  Lining up with Camp in goal, a back four right to left of Chambers, Morgan, Breckin and Heath, a midfield five of Cohen, Thornhill, Perch, McGugan and Anderson, with Tyson operating as a lone striker.  On the bench were added firepower of Earnie and Garner, along with Moloney, McCleary and Smith.

The game started positively, and some interplay between Lewis and Thornhill culminated in a chance for Chambers which was blocked at source, then passed back to the keeper – not that the referee noticed!  Marshall was in action again, coming out smartly to smother a chance before Cohen could pounce.  The Norwich fans started the game in good voice, but very reminiscent of us at home, very quickly got on their team’s back.

Croft on the right wing was looking dangerous for the home side, and was taking advantage perhaps of Heath’s inexperience as he often got around the youngster to pump crosses in.  One reached the giant Gary Doherty who brought a decent save from Lee Camp, conceding a corner.

Less than half way into the second half Forest had the lead, Tyson did all the work in getting the ball back for Thornhill who hit it from the edge of the area, smacking the post and ending up in the net – much to the shock of the travelling Reds fans!  It must have slightly confused the players too, who started letting Norwich back into the game, but not for long.

Lewis evaded both Clingan and Omozusi to give him a direct run at Marshall; the keeper came out quickly but McGugan kept his cool and calmly slotted the ball through his legs and into the waiting goal.  Now if the first goal came as a bit of a surprise, the second one certainly did!  Any pretense of contentment from the home fans disappeared and the vitriol started coming from them – either that or sullen silence.  Which made a nice change from such things afflicting us.

The Canaries heads hadn’t dropped though, and Croft again provided the danger with a break forward and a decent shot which Camp stopped comfortably in the end.  Pattison must’ve been asking himself why he headed the ball to Lita when six yards out rather than going for goal, but that’s what he did – and it gave Camp the opportunity to intervene and prevent a goal.

The save of the game came from Camp – although he was out of position in the first place – the loanee was off his line, and Pattison looked to have done enough to lob it over him and into the goal, but somehow he got back to get a strong hand to tip it over the bar for a corner.  Cue the inevitably-going-to-be-ignored chants of ‘SIGN HIM UP!’ from the travelling Reds fans.

Despite ending the half strongly, Forest did have the last say – McGugan hassled the ball from Omozusi and found Tyson whose shot was dragged wide which probably would’ve wrapped up the game at half time.  As it was, 2-0 is never a particularly comfortable lead to defend – in fairness, given the number of times we’ve had one, I don’t suppose any lead for us is comfortable to defend!

The second half started more evenly; Forest were just a bit more urgent but Norwich were containing them from creating any further chances.  Tyson managed to make a monkey out of Omozusi and get a shot away, but Doherty was on hand (tell you what, he’s a quick bugger than Doherty!) to get a block in to prevent the danger.

With the Reds looking increasingly comfortable the Reds fans mischievously started ‘You will be sacked in the morning’ chanting again, this time directed at the weasel-faced Glenn Roeder – amusingly this chant was gleefully taken up by the home fans!  Anderson was unlucky with a curling effort that almost wrong-footed Marshall, but Forest were predictably starting to sit deeper and deeper in defence.

Heath blocked a cross from Croft, but from corner a flick-on bounced of the bar out to Russell, whose shot looked pretty poor until it took a rather decisive looking deflection off Ian Breckin to evade Camp and find its way in the goal.  This got the home sides tails well and truly up, and they did start to pile on the pressure, and we certainly showed some signs of cracking, with Lita having a chance narrowly over.

Doherty nearly made a serious faux pas, passing back without looking which got Earnshaw almost clean through.  The substitute almost got around Marshall to claim a goal but the ‘keeper managed to just get a touch to take it out for a corner.  The bloke infront of me started saying “He doesn’t want to score against them, look!” – referring to Earnshaw’s prematch and half-time interactions with the Norwich fans.

Forest lost a lot of shape after this, Camp made an outstanding save from a Lita header that had goal written all over it.  However, Forest got the next goal somewhat against the run of play – substitute Joe Garner played a great ball through to Earnshaw who did well to evade Doherty in the penalty area before deftly chipping the ball over Marshall and into the goal.  He flipped infront of the Forest fans before making ‘peace’ gestures to the four stands of Norwich fans, a nice touch.

The referee – who was increasingly giving every decision to the home side unless his linesmen intervened (he even booked Chambers for being shoved by Lita!) – dredged five minutes of stoppage time from somewhere, which set a few sphincters a twitching – particularly when Joe Garner, for reasons he alone will know – decided to plant a spectacular diving header onto Wes Hoolahan’s cross to gift Norwich their second own goal of the day.

Fortunately for us, there wasn’t much time left and the whistle did indeed go to give us a much needed win to take us out of the relegation zone.  The celebrations were more muted than we might have expected, but it was such a relief to get the points!  Camp running to the fans, doing the ‘I’m not worthy’ bow and lobbing his shirt to the fans is a sign to me he’s not sticking around – which is a crying shame.

And so, having been out of the internet loop for a period of time I have no idea of the latest rumours – except that Paul ‘sex pest’ Jewell has quit on Derby, which is amusing.  Although of course it is only fair to admit that the vacancy down the road does give us some competition in filling ours – assuming we don’t already have somebody lined up.  I imagine it will be a competition between Forest and Derby fans to see who can come up with the most enduring Nigel Clough related rumours.

I am worried that there don’t seem to be any moves to get Camp to sign permanently, and it’s a little worrying that we have immediately gone ahead to extend Lynch’s loan spell despite him being, well, a bit rubbish for the most part.  We shall see, I suppose!