Patchwork Reds can’t hold off rivals..

If them bastards had got me some more players.. oh, is that mic on!?

Billy: "If them bastards had got me some more players.. oh, is that mic on!?"

Nottingham Forest – 2
Derby County – 3

Concentrating on the league, no more cup distractions, no shame in a threadbare squad losing despite trying hard?  These are all things I’ve heard and read, and they’re all correct – but I’m still mighty pissed off regardless.  American owners must lead to Americanised fans – as they mechanically twirled their freebie scarves in their jester hats whilst bouncing up and down to the Fratellis, it was nice to have them quietened for a while – but well, Forest fans know better than most not to count their chickens!

What looked like a dream start turned into a nightmare as a makeshift Forest side was unable to hold on against a slow-starting opponent.  A short corner was cursed by all and sundry (self included!), but despite sloppy passing, somehow Cohen was left free to wallop the ball into the net.  McGugan caught a Tyson pass beautifully on the volley, but alas straight at the keeper.  No fear though, Tyson did well to get around the keeper shortly after, he was felled and won our first penalty of the season – which is stroked calmly into the top corner.

However, nobody knows a team’s ability to bottle a big game better than a Forest fan – whilst outwardly glee was on show, inwardly we all prayed we could hold out ’til half time with the two goal cushion intact.  Space for Teale to cross, space for Hulse to head, 2-1 and things are a lot more tense.  It was an excellently placed header, but a bloody soft goal to concede, frankly, and it did rather start to knock the stuffing out of us, and gave our visitors a way back into the game earlier than we would have liked.  Prior to this the generally quiet-so-far Commons had done well and brought an excellent save from Smithy.

It looked for a moment Lewis had been shoved in the box, indeed, he had been – but his rather theatrical response to that (something Derby players evidently have much more practice at – albeit outside the box) earned him a booking rather than the penalty many fans thought we’d got (come on, two in one game?!).  This pretty much brought us into half time, a mix of cautious optimism and tension filled the home fans.

The second half started in a quick fashion, Perch won a superb tackle on the edge of the Derby box, the ball falling kindly for Cohen whose shot was well saved by Bywater at the expense of a corner.  However, Forest were starting to look disjointed and the visitors were putting on more pressure.  The equaliser came in pretty much identical circumstances to their first goal, Teale was given toomuch time to cros from the left – this time it was Paul Green on hand to place a gentle header into the net.  Frustrating.

Kris McCommons, I must regrettably say, looked lively – and he was starting to look a danger, a deflected effort just missed, and Forest only really looked capable of threatening on rare counter attacking forays.  One of these saw Tys burst down the left channel, but agonisingly away from goal – he did really well to cut the ball back to find McCleary on the back stick, unfortunately he couldn’t get enough power to restore the lead, giving Bywater the chance to make the save for another Reds corner.

This miss, combined with what was to follow, were the moments that lost the game for us.  The next event was Perch’s injury.  Now, we’ve talked about Perch at length before, but today he was having a good game – and part of his role was tracking that elusive Commons ‘in the hole’ roaming.  It’s true the fat one had his moments prior to this, I already grudgingly accept he played well, but without Perch on hand to tidy up between midfield and defence, it was starting to look rather ominous for Forest.

First Green seemed to stroll through a few challenges and into the box, he’d done all the hard work and proceeded to drag his shot wide.  Commons wasn’t closed down from range and hit an absolute belter from 30 odd yards off the foot of the post and away.  We almost learned, a minute later there was a block of sorts on a Commons shot, sadly it was a mere deflection which wrong-footed Smith and gave Derby the lead.  He almost got another just after too.

Then comes the promising bit, with youngsters Heath, Byrne and Newbold on the pitch, the Reds did keep fighting – we just didn’t have enough about us, enough composure nor enough luck I guess to get that equaliser.  Cohen had another good effort from 25 yards, but it curled annoyingly to Bywater.  Wes – operating as an emergency striker (since we didn’t have any left!) did well to cross to Byrne on the back stick who put a shot wide from an embarrassingly close distance.

Despite effort, composure was lacking in the five minutes of stoppage time, and after those chances it’s fair to say Derby’s goal didn’t really come under much pressure.  Derby forced a late corner which was taken short to bring about the final whistle and pandemonium in the away end, dejectedness in the home ends.  A very disappointing evening, for sure – although on balance, I would – in all honesty – rather take three points on saturday.  Although with another injury to Perch, and Tyson feeling a tight hamstring, the chances don’t look good.

I find it hard to criticise the players or Billy Davies for the performance – McGugan still minced around a bit, but the lads did get stuck in, and on another day would’ve snuck a win or a draw, this was a close game as the scoreline suggests.  Derby are to be reluctantly congratulated for not letting their heads drop at 2-0.  What can be criticised is another substandard transfer window performance by the transfer committee at Nottingham Forest.  The manager said he needed players, it’s painfully obvious to anyone we need players – so why the goddamn hell did we make derisory offers for players on deadline day itself?

This is an annoying habit we’re forming which has to stop.  So, thinking about the league we need to start picking up points – we also need to assemble a side that can see about getting us a nice bit of revenge on 21st Feb, because if I had to choose a league or cup win even before today, then it would’ve been a league win, so let’s look forward to that and do it all over again.  And of course, good luck to Manchester United in round five.  So down, but not out – it was good to hear Billy’s pragmatism after the game, but I won’t pretend it didn’t hurt, nonetheless.

The very insignificant silver lining was that the Twitter experiment seemed to work well – so I might just carry on with that, thanks for those of you who followed and commented.  I’m only sorry it wasn’t a better outcome for the maiden voyage of twittering!

44 Responses

  1. Oh, and a big thanks to my friend who pointed out what I’d done wrong in making the Twitterings appear in a box on the right – they do now!

  2. A fair summary NFFC. It is hard to blame the players for the defeat tonight. they tried to hard but were eventually beaten by the much more experienced team.

    I believe that result would have been different with one or two new faces (as promised) to give us a lift. You cant really expect to win any game with so many players missing and yet more going off injured. The club have let us down on the transfer front and not given a decent explanation why that is.

  3. Thanks for the report. I was at work for this game – and am glad I missed in now. Was v. sad, but your report made me feel a little better (all injuries, Perch out too, board can’t sign owt etc.) My kids heard me say “f**k you commons” when I saw he got the winner. It just had to be didn’t it. So….. I feel the madness of the last 5-6 weeks should now be at an end. It’s been the most interesting period in several years – real drama. Now we have to go about the business of staying in the championship and the new manager building a new squad around his style for us to keep on improving. Quite a task that Frank Clark was the last to succeed at.

  4. You only had to look at the benches last night, Derby had a full dug-out and an over-spill onto some chairs, we had room in the dugout for another 6 backsides. I hate Derby and the fact for the first time in my 30 years following Forest I felt like the poorer man and club. They just had more depth, better bench players and age on their side. If this is not the wakeup call to start building a squad then it will never be clearer. I also hate Commons but I’m not bitter!!!!

  5. Good report but why do you have to lower yourself like so many in criticising the club for lack of new player. If I understand things correct we (Mr Doughty, it is his money afterall) offered £400k for a 33 year old centre forward, who Bristol said was not for sale, a similar amount for Croft who they would not sell to us and £600k for a centre half who very few of us had heard of. Thet were not derisory bids. How many championship clubs actually bought players during the window at these sort of fees.
    The above players were identified by Billy and the club made decent bids. The only way we could have got them is to pay more. Even billy said he would only pay the going rate, so why are folk keep banging on about Mark Arthur. He can only offer what the chairman has made available and if clubs will not sell what is he supposed to do. Forest supporters more than most should know what happens when inflated prices are paid for players. Remember Scott Dobie,was he really any better than one of the academy lads.
    It always seem to me Forest fans have to moan about something. Lets just support the club, bring an air of positivity to the ground. Just think if the home support was like it is away.We will not go down, see it is not difficult.

  6. I agree to a certain extent John, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the Club has only had 3 first team strikers for a long time now, and we seem to have left it to the last minute to put a bid in for another one, leaving no time for a “plan B”.

    As for the game, best team won I’m afraid.
    Apart from a couple of point blank saves Smith had a nightmare (and I’m a huge fan of his).
    McGugan. Was he playing last night? Yeah, the odd good touch, but not enough for me I’m afraid. Why did he insist on standing off Commons when he had the opportunity to hit him with a tackle??
    That miss from Byrne was right in front of me and trust me it was as bad as it looked!

    They’re the bad bits, but overall I thought considering the players available we did as well as can be expected, really. And to still be on the attack at the end is more positive than we’re used to, too.

    Now we need to get behind the lads for Saturday. 3 points is more important than any old tin pot trophy!

  7. Sounds like the boys gave their all tonight and the only thing that beat us was experience. Frankly whilst disapoointed, that is only because it was Direby and I won’t give a toss if we beat them in the league. Thought BD’s post match interview made a lot of sense, with a valid point about the parachute payment, and even though I firmly belived it beforehand, it really confirmed my view that Mark Arthur is the villain of this piece.

    His incompetant transfer policy may yet cost us dear! John Hemstock makes some valid points but the fact remains that we moved too little too late and had no obvious contingency plan. The so called transfer committe could and should have identified the weaknesses much earlier, ie before BDs arrival, and had a strategy in-place. If they did then it was a great piece of deception of which MI5 would be proud off, because bugger all appeared to be happening. Moreover, we all also know this is not knew, as NFFC comments in one of his previous blogs, this has been a common occurence in recent years – inactivity, penny pinching, no strategy followed by failure to capture. Like it or not this is Mark Arthur’s end of the business and it is consistently failing to deliver! Sorry JH, he firmly carries the can in this respect.

  8. I think I am correct in stating that had we indeed brought in any new players in the last few days , then they would not have not been available to figure in last night’s match as they were not with the club at the time of the original match at Pride Park.

    I didn’t hold out much hope for the team in the replay due to our injuries and really it isn’t such a bad loss after all. Isn’t it better that we let Derby get shamed in front of their crowd against Manure when we have a chance to beat them a few days later in a match that really means so much more (and at the same time win the Brian Clough trophy .

    The league is what matters this year and I know that we are good enough to survive.

    The way is see it , Charlton are as good as gone, Southampton are just about there too and we are better team than the following: Barnsley,Norwich,Blackpool,Plymouth,Doncaster(maybe not) and Watford with whom we will be competing for 21st place or better.

  9. I’ll read the whole report in my break, but for now I’ll say we didn’t bottle it, we were left needing, lost our Captain (to concussion it seems) and it looks as if the ref skanked us. 😦

    Well proud 😀 & let the Sheep gloat in their pens. We’re coming to get you & soon. Bring on the League match… 😀

  10. oh & balme the inexperience on an inexperienced manager. (Yes, Calamitywood)

  11. John, don’t mistake my comments for a criticism of the chairman or even necessarily the amounts offered (which vary wildly depending on which paper you read).

    My main issue is with the timing – why wait ’til deadline day, when it’s too late to do anything? By derisory I meant that clearly we did NOT meet the selling club’s valuation, and left ourselves no time to pursue alternatives.

    I’m not sure about eligibility based on being present at the first game, Ozzy – I don’t think that’s true though, if so it should count for postponements too – and it doesn’t, as far as I’m aware.

    You’re quite right that the league is the priority – but an already thin squad is looking riskier stil with Perch picking up concussion (get well soon, Perchy) and Tys already feeling his hamstring. A bit more snow and calling off Saturday’s game might do us a favour here.

  12. Thanks for the report NFFC, I too was working so am trying to piece together what actually happened. Did fatboy celebrate his goal or did he have the commonsense (no pun intended) to show a bit of dignity?

    As for transfers, I agree with NFFC, DeepingRed and Mattyboy, it simply doesn’t wash that there is no contingency plan if the bids fail (although I also agree with John that I don’t want to pay over the odds for average players).

    OzzyRed: last night wasn’t as important as the league (and has probably saved us a televised humiliation against the strongest team in the land just as they really hit their stride), but the issue of players not coming in will surely take its toll over the next few weeks…

  13. Come on, you can’t moan about Forest leaving things till the last minute – there’s a reason 90% of deals in the window are done on the final day. Clubs simply won’t sell, for a couple of reasons, till then. The chairman is £40m in the hole, I’m sick of people telling him he should be blowing more of what he’s got left on overpriced players. He gave childline a million this week, is an inflated fee for footballers we don’t desperatly need really a better use of his cash?

    Since the committee took control of transfers we’ve seen two things. Us miss out on players we wanted because we’re being asked silly money, and the overall quality of our signings improve.

    When will some people get that the two are related?

  14. DeepingRed – and others – why do you think ‘Mark Arthur is the villain of the piece’? Is he the Chairman? Does he identify potential transfer targets? Does he say how much we can spend and when we can spend it? To be frank I find this witch hunt rather tedious.

    As for last night’s game – if Brendan Moloney doesn’t play right back on Saturday I’ll…scratch my head and wonder why.

  15. Can anyone tell me how far away is Moussi from a return? With all the injuries we have that we would be like a new signing …

  16. I’ve read the report & comments – I don’t have much else to add to what I’ve said but 2 things come out: 1stly I’ve been saying it since last season, I’ve been saying it this season & I’ll say it again & again ’till 90% get it – we have some damn good reserves/academy players who as shown last night will go a long way given a chance.

    Let the Derby fans gloat, cheer, muck it in but they know (or choose to ignore) that the Forest side was walking wounded & they squeezed past.

    as for the 2nd I’ll come to it later as I got to do something more important right now…

  17. Psycho – I don’t know if you have met MA, I have and frankly I wouldn’t buy a used car from him. As for Moloney you make a valid point.

    Ozzy – don’t underestimate Barnsley, Norwich, Blackpool, Plymouth, Doncaster nor Watford. They all have players that have been in this position many times before and survived. We don’t especially ones that are fit. This season is far from over.

  18. John Michael White: very good point well made – but I think most people are bemoaning the lack of a plan B when we are clearly short of first-teamers.

    Of course, in the long run, that is great because the experience that the likes of Heath and Moloney have picked up this season will make them better players. However we are in danger of losing points in the meantime due to that lack of experience, and we are not far enough from the relegation zone for that not to be a worry.

    I should point out that I am still confident, as I have been all season, that we will NOT go down this season.

  19. Bitter, bitter bastards….. Plastic fans? You’re having a laugh.

  20. I’m not bitter, I even congratulate Derby in the report. Do you deny the proliferation of scarf-twirling nonsense with freebie promotional scarves? If so, you’re a big fibber.

  21. The scarfs are both functional and a great colour, better than those stupid clappy sticks they distributed a few years ago (pre yank btw). By the way, davies brought idea of clappy sticks from PNE so expect them at the city ground soon. Thats if your chairman is willing to pay for them.

    You dont get decent footie scarfs now anyway… even to buy.

  22. You see loads of scarf twirling by italian and spanish teams.

  23. I doubt we will see them any time soon, certainly hope not! So long as we don’t end up with poxy paper masks!!

    Agree on the scarf front, I still have my vintage one that I wouldn’t swap for any modern ones I’ve seen.

    Enjoy the bragging rights, we get to do it all over again on 21st!

  24. Saw a lot of scarf waving at the Superbowl the other night, they call them “towels” over there. The yanks obviously think you need a wash. Or a dip.

    Maloney was cup tied last night I think, so should be in at the weekend.

    Whatever Doughty and McArthur’s level of commitment and love for the club, the fact remains that we needed a couple of new faces and we didn’t get them. That there was over £1m to spend makes it even worse. I understand not wanting to pay over the odds for players, but what is worse – pay 25% more for two players than you feel they are worth and sign 2 players and stay up, or stick to your valuation and sign no players and go down. Normally I’d consider that an overly dramatic thing to say, but with Gamble backing up Smith and ??? backing up Breckin (Bencheriff!!??) it really could make the difference if either one was out for long.

    Anyway, good effort last night from the lads, good entertainment even when the result makes you feel physically sick.

    Also well played to Doughty for that wad (our jan trasfer kitty?) he just bunged to that kids charity, very noble cause. Almost makes up for the mil he gave those clowns at the Labour party.

  25. you’d think yhat after beating their arch rivals – derby fans would be going about the feel good factor of reading their own blogs,patting themselves on the backs,loving the post match celebrations of judas over and over again, – not coming on here (an NFFC blog !) squalking about free,crap football scarves paid for by derby fans and not the club/chairman due to a difference of £2.50 per ticket compared to the man utd fans at the same game !

  26. DeepingRed – I too have met MA but that is irrelvant to my point, as is your claiming you wouldn’t buy a second hand car from him. You may not trust him, which is absolutely your prerogative (my opinion is different), but I can’t see how that makes him culpable for our failure to spend the chairman’s money. I’ve been a season ticket holder for over thirty years and for as long as I can remember Forest fans have looked for a scapegoat, whether it be on the pitch or off it. The guy who lifted two European Cups used to get untold abuse every week from the terraces, as did the goalkeeper who received a standing ovation when he was introduced to the crowd before kick-off last night. I just think it’s sad, and for MA to be the man singled out this time around when none of us know what really goes on behind the scenes just seems a bit pathetic to these eyes and ears. What happened to the old principle of unite and fight…

  27. I agree totally that scapegoating is both in our (collective our) nature and isn’t healthy. Aside from provocatively putting a picture of Mark Arthur in an article, I haven’t explicitly pointed the finger at him this time around – rather the committee he forms a pivotal part of.

    Billy did his bit – he identified players, we made offers – but it was too late. It is whoever decided upon this peculiar policy that needs to reevaluate the way we do business.

    On a more general note – Mark Arthur (and I have no personal experience of him, nor will judge him as a person, merely a CEO) is responsibly for the day to day running of our club – if we feel elements of this are not being run in an effective manner, then I don’t think people are too far of the mark to at least question his effectiveness.

    I don’t go in for the personal abuse angle though, for better or worse I’m sure he tried his best.

  28. The future’s bright & the future’s red. Putting aside the financial aspect of playing those arrogant muppets from Salford, did anyone really want to see the Reds depleted squad put to the sword live on TV? What the defeat does allow us to do is concentrate on what really matters- staying in the division and building for the future.
    I too feel a little let down by the club’s dealings in the transfer market, but applaud the stubborness and the steadfast refusal to get mugged by our competitors. Although just to contradict myself I must admit there must be players playing at a lower level who should be able to make the step up- re Tyson/Kightly etc
    Nevertheless lets concentrate on the future & despite our inexperienced and depleted squad we weren’t too far away last night from scalping a squad set up for the premier league. I agree that Red’s fans are pretty poor at times and do tend to look for a scape-goat: stupid as those sheep-shaggers looked last night it beats whinging and moaning that the supporters of our proud club often revert to if things don’t go our way! (I don’t include NFFC in that I hasten to add!!) A combination of injuries and poor management by our last incumberant has left Billy with a big job on his hands; so chins up & with a little more back up for the fantastic Tyson bring on 21st February 2009. Plus I have a consignment of sheep heads I am looking to offload…

  29. NFFC, thank you for being more eloquent than I in that the point you make is exactly how I feel. For those that read my posts, I trust you note that I don’t scapegoat and too believe in solidarity; I always show support to the team and would not countentance the boo boys for example. I too remember McGovern’s treatment by the fans and have remarked as such previously!

    However, this is a chat room where we should be able to air our concerns, grievances, moans and emotions etc without being accused of not supporting the team because we have a grumble or identify a percieved weakness. I accept that I was unwise to call into question MA’s character – even though I still wouldn’t trade vehicles with him – but to quote his own words “this is a results business”. By his own benchmark, and even though it wouldn’t have affected last night necessarily, he has failed to replenish an injury riddled squad lacking in experience and seems to have no contingency. Other clubs seemed to manage to achieve this and this is not the first year this has happened. Therefore, criticism of him is warranted even though I am sure some other, unseen good acts go unblessed. Anyone who has run a large organisation or a business will know that is often the case.

    All immaterial anyway as it is ND that is the final arbiter of how MA runs the business side of the club and I do not criticise ND as I firmly believe we are better because of him. Those who think otherwise should hark back to the Irving Scholar days!

  30. Players are dropping like flies. We have no backup keeper except for untried youngsters, Were playing 4 centre backs accross the defence, We’ve lost half the midfield and Garner is the only fit striker.

    When can we get someone in on loan?!

  31. Well put nffc.This committee were too slow making bids and no back up..
    I hope arthur and pleat enjoyed the match last night !!.
    We should have offered more,maybe over the top,but isn´t it worth it ? We immediately lost half a million pounds last night by losing the united match..
    Anyway NOW lets climb the table !!I´m sure the crazy defensive mistakes won´t occur again on saturday,although I too am praying for a postponement.. Well played the lads last night !!

  32. […] Patchwork Reds can’t hold off rivals.. « Through the seasons … […]


  34. Any idea when the five year plan is due to start,cheers……….

  35. the five year plan starts when clough gets the job after five attempts. i cannot get excited about davies, he looks untrustworthy !!! god knows what football we will be playing soon.

  36. Why is everyone looking to point the finger?

    Even funnier that we have a mutton fan on here, not happy with a great victory, coming onto this site and pointing the finger as well !! I call this one of life’s constant losers (irrespective of your teams colours).

    Point is who has the plan B, so here it is ..

    Plan B is when the transfer window opens next time you act 100 times quicker than you do in the close season, you have your names lined up, and you spin the media way before it even starts.

    Plan C is you kick this stupid UEFA (aka Froggy/Kraut axis) scheme into touch.

    As Elliot (US) should have pointed out …

    No pain no gain.

    QPR sat 3pm. Come on yoooooouuuuuuuu reeeeeeedddddss

  37. Just thought you all might want to know that if the match does actually go ahead tomorrow, we will have to face a QPR side with none other than Lee Camp between the sticks….

  38. Saw the highlights last night, what a little shit McCommons is in the way he celebrated. Most players who play for a good length of time at a club (+ alleged supporter), don’t usually celebrate at their former club when they score. No accounting for class eh.

  39. Don’t have a go at the scarf twirling as it definitely looks impressive when everyone does it!! I think you lot missed a chance to do something similar in ‘Mull of Kintyre’ – a handful a scarves went up a la Liverpool’s Kop – but it was all a bit half-hearted. As for the atmosphere Forest were as loud as I’ve known in the first 15 minutes (I’ve been trying to see the Rams win in West Bridgford since 1987) – but the nervousness in the ground was measurable after Hulse’s goal and this transmitted to the players and you went on the back foot instead of trying to finish us off.

    Not surprising to see the way Billy has you playing. Under him we always played in short spurts, then sat back content to hold on if we had a lead – Preston warned us that this would be the strategy and it seems the year off hasn’t changed him. Ditto the excuses (pre & post match) that preclude Billy from any part of the blame. Billy might turn out to be a great manager but he will also make sure that he, at least in his own eyes, comes up smelling of roses – regardless of results. So for your own sake please don’t buy in to all that post match cobblers about the squad etc. He’s just making sure you don’t blame him if things get tough.

  40. Scarf twirling …. sounds like a scene from High School Musical.

    Thank god I wasn’t there …

  41. …aah, you seem well informed about High School Musical. Presumably you’re a Troy fan. You should try and go to a game – and remember to take a scarf and not your poms-poms.

  42. If this Troy bloke had a good game for the Sheep, good luck to him, I was still supporting the lads from the heights of the Alps. Hopefully they’ll bounce back against QPR and I’m looking forward to my first match for a while, now back.

  43. Judas celebrated his goal – so much for being A Forest supporter. Judas aka Fat Boy aka Pie Eater, stay there & rot in your new found pen!! 😆

  44. […] Davies revolution took a while to be fully prepared.  He had a tricky start, and in this month we lost to Derby at the City Ground.  Twice.  Now whilst our respective fortunes have diverged in a favourable direction for us, make […]

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