The kids are alright..

Goalscorer Cohen, one of our more senior players today at the ripe old age of 21.

Goalscorer Cohen, one of our more senior players today at the ripe old age of 21.

Nottingham Forest – 2
Queens Park Rangers – 2

A hard-earned point felt like a decent reward from a game where another threadbare Forest line up – this time in a 5-3-2/3-5-2 formation scrapped through a match with a very physical QPR side.  QPR chose to swap sides unusually at the start, so the Reds kicked towards the Trent End in the first half, giving Lee Camp an opportunity to take applause from all areas of the ground.

The game started scrappily, Forest had started reasonably well keeping the ball in the QPR half without really creating much of threat – but the visitors muscled their way into the game and started to threaten.  A Routledge corner was converted goalward by di Carmine but blocked by Moloney, the followup hit by Alberti but blocked on the line by Joe Heath.  Then, just what we need, Tyson goes off injured after someone smacked him in the head with something sufficient to need stitches – the referee of course didn’t notice anything.

Garner too was being pushed and kicked all over the park, the referee choosing broadly to ignore everything.  It became apparent Tyson wasn’t returning from his stitching session, and as such Adam Newbold was sent on in his place.  QPR’s best chance early doors was created from little by Miller (not Blackstock as I suggested on Twitter!), an over-head kick was easily within Smith’s reach but the ‘keeper mistakenly thought it was going off target.  Phew.

The first proper chance we had fell to Thornhill after good work from Heath finding him in the box, but his shot was weak and fairly easy for Camp to deal with – however, it seemed to galvanise us a little more.  Further Reds pressure eventually lead to a goal – McGugan chipped a nice pass to Chambers running into the box, who was promptly flattened by Alberti when through on goal.  As on Wednesday night, the referee chose to only give a yellow card despite the offence clearly being worthy of a red if you read through the rules of the game.

Excitement at our second penalty in two games (indeed, our second of the season!) was mixed with trepidation that we knew Camp is actually pretty handy at saving spot kicks.  Fortunately not in this case, he went the wrong way as Lewis finished his chance of comfortably – even had he guessed right, it would’ve taken some save to have kept it out.  This was pretty much at the end of normal time, but as we have found of late, we do seem to have a worrying tendency to lose our concentration.

Around three minutes into the stoppage time Connolly crossed low through bodies, it fell kindly for Alberti whose deflected shot left Smith with no chance – but leaves question marks over marking in defence.  Particularly when we were playing three at centreback.  It also highlighted the issue with 3-5-2/5-3-2.  Joe Heath had tracked their winger inside, leaving the wing open for their fullback Connolly to steal in and pick out a cross.  Of course, this is a problem Forest often have when deploying 4-4-2 as we don’t tend to have wide players who stay out wide!

Half time left a mixture of pleasedness and obvious residual annoyance at the late concession.  It wasn’t a pretty first half, it was scrappy.  The referee was a total disgrace, and in all honesty it was difficult to envisage anything other than a QPR win – but the kids were scrapping back too, and there was no denying their determination and fight – so it was a tempered rather than outright pessimism I think.  Something like that.

The second half started in a way that would really justify a degree of pessimism.  A bright start from the Reds saw Heath again provider of a decent cross, Thornhill burst into the box to get a looped header on it which saw it head on over Camp, but also just wide of the post unfortunately.  Then it went a bit wrong, Alberti was quicked to react than Moloney to an incoming cross and was able to fire it emphatically into the top corner from around six yards.  This brought the visiting fans to life, and it’s fair to say silenced the Reds fans.

Just as Forest were starting to string a few passes together and regroup, a long delay for Di Carmine to be treated (and eventually stretchered off) disrupted our flow, and once play resumed QPR were back on top.  Routledge did everything right cutting in from the right, except shooting on target – he dragged his shot wide.  Joe Garner – who was getting no change from the QPR defenders (nor the referee) was withdrawn for McCleary, and whilst it wasn’t related to the change – Forest equalised a minute later.

Wes did well to get the ball to Chambers on the right, he crossed in over everyone.  Camp did what most people scream at Smith to do every week – he came for a cross he shouldn’t have, and missed, Cohen’s header was weak in power – but on target and someone evaded two defenders and found its’ way into the goal much to our delight!  It certainly livened up the Reds fans and silenced the not-so-super Hoops, and started to get a bit of banter going.  It was amusing when the knuckle-dragger section down near the BC stand chanted for their manager to give them a way, only to be ignored!

There was more pressure to come from Rangers, and Forest started to do that customary thing of sitting deeper, and deeper, and deeper, and deeper – it was a bit of a worry!  Smith had one outstanding save to make after a good effort by Leigertwood, but Forest also looked potentially dangerous on the counter – Heath played McCleary down the left who passed inside to Cohen, sadly the midfielder couldn’t get much power behind his shot which was also pretty much straight at Camp.

This is the point when B reckin was put on for Thornhill, with Wes moving up front to assist the increasingly isolated Newbold up front.  Wes did well winning a ball in the air, and followed it up with what looked to me like a great challenge on the deck to win the ball.  The referee thought otherwise and booked him for it, which was rather harsh – but not entirely unexpected from this particular official.  The rest of the game was tense, without any clear cut chances – and a point was certainly more appreciated by the Forest fans than the sullen Londoners.

A good result – it’s disheartening to once again lose a lead as we did, but we forced QPR to do the same thing – and unfortunately didn’t quite have enough about us to try to force the winner.  A draw was a fair result, and a deserved one.  I was surprised at how physical/cynical QPR were, and also how well our kids dealt with it.  Certainly a side this young isn’t sustainable for us, but it gives hopeful glimpses of a rosier future.  For now though, we need to keep racking up the points!

Thanks to those of you who tuned in to Twitter.  It’s quite addictive during the game, although I’ll have to watch it as I almost kept missing things!

36 Responses

  1. This was an ecellent result. I can’t begin to say how much I admired the youngsters battling qualities. Thos 2 QPR goals conceded in that manner after going ahead either side of half time would have flattened many a side; particularly a CC led one. Yes they rode their luck at times but that is needed. No one can question their attitude – well done boys!

  2. On BBC Nottingham site Billy is praising the players and again praising the fans.Very positive interview.
    I like you NFFC was very anti his appointment but Billy is making a habit of saying the right things and I am very impressed by his approach

  3. I’ve been impressed with him, the only disappointment is I’d hoped his fiery reputation would have forced the powers-that-be into actually sorting out some signings in January, but t’wasn’t to be.

    He certainly inspires more confidence than Smoulds, despite having the same players at his disposal currently.

  4. good fought for point in the end but thought we ran round like headless chickens for most part of the ninety,bet lee camp gets a bolloc*** for waving at the forest fans when asked to do so. did anyone else hear the interview he did with radio nottm? sounded very much like he’s willing forest to do something in the coming days/weeks ? we’ll wait and see ! as for his so called fall out with billy – ha toatally quashed that rumour.

  5. Fair review of today’s events NFFC, the kids did alright but we desperately need to bolster the squad with a bit of experience and muscle, not has beens but some 25-30 year olds ! My concern is McGugan who frustrated me today, some good skills but his attitude stinks, bid time Charlie syndrome ? He undoubtedly has talent but his work rate ? Other than that I thought the ref was very harsh on Forest and given time I think Billy may be able to do something as long as the board support him………

  6. Another great blog, this is the first site I look for each day on

    I feel I should point out though, a fullback tracking inside in a 5-3-2 formation and leaving a gaping hole is nothing to do with the formation, rather coaches not coaching what to do in that situation and/or players not communicating to each other on the pitch.

    Seeing as we have a complete derth of leadership on the pitch at the moment I’d assume it was more of the latter than the former, but that fact that a bunch of kids managed to make such a tactically complex formation work (for the most part anyway) against a good, mature side should be applauded.

  7. I heard the interviews after the game. Davies basically said “this is what we have, young kids, injured players coming back, deal with it”. We may get a couple of loans in, but I’m not holding my breath after hearing his interview. As for Camp, he sounds desperate to come. I like Smith, but my word he was suspect again today.
    McGugan has needed a kick up the arse most of this season. Well, since Psycho turned up at the training ground last season and told him how good was, anyway.
    Don’t believe the hype Lewis.

    QPR surprised me. I thought they’d be better than that. Instead they kicked lumps out of our lot and hit as many high hopeful ball upfield as we did.

    Just before he got spannered, Tys told the ref that there had been 3 elbows against our players. The ref told him to calm down. Then he gets whacked too.

    Surely the club can make an official complaint against shite refs? Todays was about the worst so far, and we’ve seen some hopeless w*nkers this season.

    All in all, good well earned point. Credit to Wes and Cohen, outstanding again.

  8. Very proud Forest fan here. We are effectively putting out a reserves side (or is it a Youth team). It was the first match I had seen under Davies and we never ever seemed to give up, even though we were in danger of being over run at times. QPR played it around very well at times and we would have wilted under CC.

    First half was the worst reffing I’ve ever seen at the CG. Tysons injury was herrendous from where I sat, and there was a red card offence 5 mins before that as well with a well timed elbow. The pen was also a red carder on Chambers. I thought that QPR were clearly out to nobble a young side.

    I like the fact that the players run around and applaud the crowd before the game … not quite the Pyscho-esk approach, but perhaps that’s something we need loan wise.

  9. Fair result in the end. Getting a bit fed up of Billy trotting out the same old lines game after game although I loved the way he very diplomatically called the ref hopeless. Really want to see the pen incident again as Chambers it looked to me like Chambers wasn’t close to the “action” and the ball was virtually in the keepers arms when he was clattered. Still, nice for us to get one dodgy decision today.

    Hopefully the FA will charge one or two QPR players for elbows which they can do as the ref didn’t even book them.

  10. The ref was shite for sure. He didnt actually give the foul for our pen – the lino did! Which isnt surprising as he missed EVERYTHING. Total crap.

    Im getting more and more disillusioned with Lewis. Cohen works his bollocks off every game whilst Lewis just strolls about the park casualling losing the ball. If we werent so lacking in competition for places I’d want Davies to drop for a game or two. He’s undoubtely talented but he’s got to give 90 mins EVERY game. He just goes missing for large periods and in our positiom, he’s a luxury we can ill afford right now.

  11. Time to keep our feet on the ground. The positives – McGugan in a holding role breaking up the play is a good development (whilst we’re sans moussi). Cohen did well, and overall getting a point was not a bad result against a team who are doing well, given our injuries.

    But… Smith seems to still lack confidence, the defence is playing musical statues, we’ve let 5 goals in, in 2 games, and for the second game in a row not held onto a lead. (Last time it was not holding onto 2-0, this time it was not holding on for 3 minutes to get to half time!)

    Billy’s interviews arent helping either. He is praising them to the hilt – that we could expect no more from such youngsters…praise them for effort billy but SORT OUT the poor marking for goodness sake, and stop going on in every interview about how young and naive the team are. It might reduce expectations on you, but it cant be doing much for their self belief.

    Here’s hoping for loan success, not least campy, in the next week.

  12. Sounds like Cohen and Wes are the stars again.
    I´m sure Billy will drop Lewis when he can just to give him a kick up the backside.
    Well done Forest..I´m happy with a point today..
    Yes Get Campy back on loan for the rest of the season.

  13. Love the site, but ‘pleasedness’ is a touch over the top.
    Great result. Love BD’s positive attitude. Seems to be paying off. A weakened team getting a point in a game we would have lost under CC – with the same players available!
    BC to BD. At least it’s alphabetically correct!

  14. Good save from Smith second half when he tipped a dipper over the bar. He made it look easy as he is 6-6 ish +. The QPR main goalie has similar stature, probably why Camp doesn’t get in. I thought when Smith saved that would Camp have reached? Far too negative against Smith from some people in my opinion, then again they’ve probably been bullied at school for being short arses. No he is not the best keeper, but unpopular as it may be for the shortie’s out there height matters. Discuss.

  15. The apparent anti-McGugan sentiment is concerning. I recall similar “lazy” comments being directed at Mssrs. Commons and Reid – why do we seem hell bent on driving talented footballers out the club. I agree that Cohen never stops and appears to play as if deploying a third lung but Lewis is undoubtedly our most creative midfielder in a team desperately short of attacking ideas. He is by no means flawless but let’s also remember his age and the pressure on him to be the play maker, often with limited movement from his colleagues. Loan priorities must be proper full backs to replace converted centre backs and a physically imposing forward (big un!) to at least give us options up front should Plan A not work.

  16. Steve….. mine personally WASNT an anti McGugan feeling (for what its worth I didnt want Reid or Commons to leave)but I do feel he needs to up his work rate and impose himself more. Players of his calibre make or break games and my moan is I want him to be involved for a full 90 minutes – not drift in and out the game like he appears to do presently. Yes I agree, theres a lot on young shoulders but Im hoping BD can mould him into a first rate creative midfielder.

  17. There are many more positives to take from recent performances than negatives.
    But I’ll just dwell on Steve’s concerns for a moment…
    Anybody who has watched Lewis rise from the Academy to a first pick in the senior team should be proud of a fantastic footballer. His talent is without question. But his committment this season is. These last dozen or so games he just doesn’t have the same energy and passion. To me he seems to stand off too much, and doesn’t seem bothered about winning the ball back when he loses it. I know he’s still a kid, but so are Thornhill, Cohen, Heath, Moloney.
    Maybe he needs the Moose back alongside him?
    Smith…I got pilloried by sections of the Trent End last season for sticking up for him. The abuse he got was outrageous.
    He is still a great ‘keeper, but his distribution and kicking has not improved at all. It’s only a matter of time before one of his wayward clearances is spanked straight back into the net.

    As I said, there are more positives than negatives. Just my opinion on those 2 players.

  18. While I’m on the ‘puter, I would like to see Moloney and Heath given consistent starts at full back in a 442 system. Heath has the potential to be the best left back we’ve had since Pearce. And Moloney impresses me every game.

  19. […] the original post on Through the seasons before […]

  20. Why is it a certain section of Forest fans just have, HAVE, to have scapegoats? Not just the bad sides either! The Clough sides had them, the Frank Clark side had them, the Bassett side had them, the Hart side had them.

    Smith’s performance again criticised, despite the saves, the fact that he was blameless for both QPR goals, and despite Lee Camp making a right ricket for our equaliser – EXACTLY type of ricket that would see Smith slaughtered by howling hoards of morons.

    Luke Chambers would only have to sneeze during play to be given stick, I was at Charlton and stood in disbelief as Wes made a mistake, they broke down their left, and because Chambers came over to try and cover he was the one that had people screaming!

    And now Lewis McGugan – most naturally talanted player the club have produced since Reid and Jenas. People say he isn’t putting the effort – b*llshit. He has a combination of three lung Cohen around him and a laid back running style. But then so did Michael Johnson and he wasn’t too bad at the ol’ running lark. Yesterday he would go from joining in with an attack down the left, to providing cover on the right as Maloney dropped deep, to breaking things up in front of the back four. How can he be covering so much of the pitch if he’s not trying! We’ve got prozone ffs, there is no where for any player to hide if they are shirking.

    As for the attitude how the hell would people know? People have read his mind have they? Can see what he’s thinking? I’ll tell you what I do know – football squads very quickly let you know if someone has undeserved high opinions of themselves. We’ve seen it before with certain players – and when Lewis scored yesterday (which, by the way, of itself showed great mental strength) the team to a man ran over and fully congratulated him in the way we’ve seen then do all season. It’s a sign of real togetherness, and not at all what you see towards a player regarded as a billy-big-boots who believing his own publicity that he’s too talented to knuckle down and do the hard stuff.

    Lewis McGugan is a kid of 20. 20! He’s carrying the weight of being the club’s creative player in the centre of the park in only his 2nd full season as a player at a level he’s never played at! Yes he sometimes uses his ability in the wrong way, sometimes he twists and turns into blind alleys, sometimes he does the complicated when the simple is needed, sometimes he gets caught out. He’s still learning the game! Still learning how to be a footballer. And in amongst all that he sometimes, often, does things that almost no other player on the pitch could, things that should make all of us purr.

    I want Lewis to be the heart of Forest’s midfield for the next decade or more, if he is we’ll go places we’ve not been in a while. When he’s learnt how to use his ability to consistently hurt the opposition we’ll have a hell of a player on our hands. I do not want him to be another whose talent we see blossom at the highest level whilst wearing someone else’s shirt. Those who small mindedly carp and snipe make the latter far more likely than the former, and the next one to do it near me during a game is going to get an earful.

  21. so it’s fair to say,you like lewis then john michael white ?

  22. Smith Debate:

    I think we all like him and agree that he is an outstanding shot stopper but can anyone remember the last time he commanded his area, shouted at the defenders, came off his line decisively or consistently cleared / kicked the ball to a red shirt?

    D@rby’s winner on Weds night started from a sliced Smith clearance that went out for a throw in our own half. The pressure is on us immediately Smith gets the ball as no one seems to have any confidence in him. A big problem we seem to have is keeping the ball – Smith is just not helping – Lee Camp will do fine for me, even if he is a little shorter than 6’6″.

  23. @John – great post, great passion. Unfortunately you’ll never change the outlook of some people.

    @Dave – when was the last time he did all the things you listed? Yesterday against QPR – sometimes people only see what they want to see.

  24. Well, sadly I didn’t make it to the match yesterday, just listened on the radio, so good to hear he had a good game, but did he really do ALL those things?? If so then why can’t he do it every week. Maybe motivated by the presence of Camp in the other goal / his place under threat?

  25. Yeah great post John – full of passion as NFFC says but hey football is ALL about opinions…thats what makes it a great game!! 🙂

  26. JMW, good job I have a thick skin and don’t suffer paranoia, otherwise I might have thought your post was directed at me!
    Again, as I said we should be proud to have watched a player as talented as Lewis McGugan come through the ranks at our Club. However, at the moment IN MY OPINION he stands off too much and doesn’t seem to try to win the ball back when he’s lost it.

    Luckily John we’d never fall out during the game as I’m not like certain sections of our crowd who seem to delight in standing up and lambasting our players if they make a mistake. Not like some of the goons in the Trent End every time the ball goes anywhere near Smithy.
    I like to have my little moan or groan on here. It’s not snidey carping, just my opinions.

  27. Good to hear some passion from posters on the site.And great to hear fans getting behind the kids after the derby defeat.

    We all seem to forget a 20 year player like lewis is still maturing in a physical way as well as mental.Most of the younger lads in our squad are starting to look tired and have been playing twice a week.And most that criticise havent played at a decent level either and dont understand recovery and fitness levels.We also forget that CC football is physical and demanding on young players it takes years to acclimatise i know cos im an x player.

    Well done to BDs kids its remarkable
    U REDS

  28. We so desperately require some experience in our squad, and I know they are preparing to swoop tommorow. But this is a must, because these lads simply can not be expected to dig deep every week can they? I do think Billy maybe preparing the squad for huge changes with these very positive comments.
    Saying all that, this squad is developing, and Doughty’s tactics of not paying over the odds will pay off in the future stability of our club. Mark my them rise

  29. JMW good post and well made points. You are right every side has scapegoats, those players who no matter what they do come in for criticism. Sadly you have to accept that the vast, vast majority of fans do not think the game through (or haven’t even played it) nor take a measured stance before shouting off. All part of the game I’m afraid which is why its good to have a great blog like this. I enjoy stating opinions, getting them challenged, having my views changed and getting hopefully a wider perspective on matters. I love it!

  30. I’ve seen the pen incident again now and from the TV angle, it looks much more like Chambers had a chance to get the ball. I’d still be pretty miffed if it’d been given against us though 😉

    Regarding McGugan, I’ve been fairly critical of him of late. And I think justifiably so. I have not critisised him for being lazy, not lambasted his work ethic. I’ve had a go at him for playing crap. And I will argue all night with anyone who thinks Lewis has been playing well over the last couple of months, Man City and Derby replay aside.

    Lewis is a fantastically talented footballer, I don’t think anyone is disputing that. But he does “go missing” for prolonged periods of games and only really starts to play when we’re in an advantageous position. If he “turned it on” from the off…

  31. Off topic I know but have a read of this is you get a few mins.

    Although penned by a sheepsha*gger, mostly good points well made I think.

  32. The bits I read in the article that appeared true were the one’s unfortunately printed in white font. e.g. he got them promoted, he gave them a cash lifeline, he fell out with Pearson, he rescued them from relegation to League One ….. perhaps if one of the miserable sheepshaggers said “thanks & good luck” I might believe it. It doesn’t mean he will do the same with us, but now and again it might be worth someone somewhere printing a more balanced report …. e.g. nffc on this site.

    I genuinely think Forest fans are a more grateful bunch.

  33. Great result, Im well proud of the result. We are still needing 16 more points. But to be honest I thought this would have ended a loss. On the positive side the young players are thrown in the deep end and they will be all the better for it next year.

  34. Ermm.. forgive me if I’m wrong – but did we NOT make any transfers. Therefore, WHY are fans getting on the back of Smith/Lewis etc. ( for me 2 of Forests best current players anyway). WHO is gonna come in and do better than these guys. NO ONE thats who – get behind the team – that’s what ALL fans need to do.

  35. John Michael White – couldn’t agree more, absolutely right. When Lewis plays well Forest play well, he’s instrumental to this team and the the club’s future.

  36. […] warrant much mention for our game with Swansea in 2007/2008, however by the time we reach the QPR game in 2008/2009 certainly I point out some issues with him.  He ignored an incident which saw Tyson withdrawn […]

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