Earnie brace sinks Preston..

Nottingham Forest – 2
Preston North End – 1

Two wins on the bounce for the Reds against promotion-chasing opponents, who would’ve thunk it!  Certainly I had half earmarked Preston as a potential scalp for us, but that was partially down to a fairly formidible looking run of opponents.  The win and performance at the Madejski stadium restored some optimism, even if injuries to Nathan Tyson, lack of fitness for Guy Moussi, and siling rain from the heavens were present to perhaps provide more cause for pessimism!  Spirits were high in the pub before the game, and whilst it took a while to get going, the Reds weren’t about to disappoint.

The game started scrappily.  The visitors were marginally on top early doors – but no major chances were created.  Our first half chance came from a Paul Anderson corner which he swung in and nearly scored from – Andy Lonergan had unwisely come out for it (much like some of our fans would be howling at Paul Smith to do if it were a corner we were facing!) and was nearly made to look foolish.  To his credit, he adjusted himself very well and was able to get a firm hand to the ball to prevent Forest scoring.

Lewis made a good break into the box but he was blocked before able to unleash a shot, the ball fell for Chambers who was only able to scoop the ball beyond the far post.  In the meantime Preston’s only ‘chance’ of note was Ross Wallace’s unconvincing claims for a penalty after Wilson had taken the ball from him cleanly.  Whilst they protested Forest broke forward quickly culminating in a Cohen strike from range which Lonergan couldn’t hold despite it being straight at him – unfortunately he could get to it comfortably before any Reds could capitalise.  Our final opportunity of the half was from a Chambers cross, but Lonergan was able to claim it.

So half time came with us in good spirits – we’d largely had the better of the game after a few early wobbles, Osbourne looked comfortable in the middle and Earnie didn’t look too isolated with McCleary, Anderson, McGugan and Cohen quick to support him when required, and Earnie himself content to work hard with somewhat limited service at times.  The defence grew into the game, and after a shaky start all round started to look more comfortable.  Lynch again is worth singling out for a solid end to the half, but Wes, Wils and Chambers also looked comfortable compared to recent weeks – as did Smith in goal.

As with the first, the second half saw Forest start nervously – and Preston put pressure on.  Pessimism may suggest Forest ‘don’t do’ two good halves, but fortunately a decent shot from Wallace didn’t dip enough to go under the crossbar – as there wasn’t a fat lot that Smith would’ve done about it had it been on target.  Forest knocked the ball around well and took the pace out of the game a little.  The home fans stayed with the side unusually – which appeared to coincide with a more confident showing, culminating in McGugan finding Cohen who knocked it back to Lynch on the left, who hit a superb cross which Earnie was on hand to head home from four yards to give us a deserved lead.

Eyes rolled though as a Preston corner came in, it managed to land in a bedlamic six yard box without a Red shirt clearing (I’m sure many would have expected Smith to claim it, I’d need to see a replay but I think it was too low by the time it reached the middle of the six yard box), leaving the massive Jon Parkin to nudge over the line on the half-volley for perhaps one of the easier chances he’ll have for a while to give the travelling Prestonians something to cheer about as they huddled under the Upper Tier of the Bridgford End to keep out of the rain.

However, there was still positivity – on the pitch and in the stands, I can’t stress enough how refreshing it was to hear a loud and clear “COME ON YOU REDS” emanate from the Trent End and carry right around the ground.  Sure, there was the usual fuckwittery being uttered around me, but in general it was great to hear the fans backing the lads.  And they were rewarded for it – the circumstances of the goal were undoutedly full of luck, but we deserved it, a Preston defender played a suicidal backpass to Lonergan whose clearance was steered into the waiting goal by the gambling Earnshaw.  It’s worth reiterating how hard Earnie worked again tonight – considering he’s not fully fit too.

Preston still attacked, and Carter was close from range although Smith was tracking it and saw it wide, but Forest continued to play positively where possible – Osbourne put in a great cross to Anderson whose pace got him ahead of the defender to head towards the bottom corner, but Lonergan was equal to it and made a smart save.  Lewis had another run into the box – it was a bit like against Reading (with less build up admittedly), he cut inside the defender – we got excited – then he blasted it wide when perhaps teeing up Earnie or Anderson might have been the more sensible option.

Lynch was withdrawn – apparently due to injury – to a deserved ovation from the fans, he’d had a cracking game, and Heath entered the fray in the same position.  Davies wound out the remainder of the game (again we had five minutes of stoppage time, not sure what for!) with further substitutions, first McGugan was withdrawn for Thornhill, before Breckin was put on to shore things up at the expense of man of the match (officially) Robert Earnshaw.  Forest wound down the clock in the corner through McCleary and Anderson – and eventually the whistle came to cheers around the ground.

With other results the win feels all the more important, it’s nice to see us – whilst not increasing the gap to the dropzone meaningfully – putting a few more teams between us and it.  Well done to the boys today, great games all round – particularly the endeavour and hard work of Cohen, Anderson, McCleary and Earnshaw in chasing down Preston defenders.  Lewis drifted in and out as Lewis does, but had a few excellent moments.

A solid debut for Osbourne who looked comfortable on the ball and recovered well from a couple of errors in the second half that momentarily threatened to undermine his confidence.  The defence did very well, Lynch and Wes stood out but Wilson and Chambers had decent games too.  I think Smith coped very well with the conditions, and despite what the myopic folks at the City Ground seem to think each week, he claimed crosses and distributed quickly when it was sensible to do so.

The subs really were only there to wind down the time, Heath was most involved having been on the pitch longest!  And of course, a big well done to Billy – hopefully his words of criticism aimed at the home support hit home, it certainly seemed to have as the fans really backed the boys tonight – and I believe that helped them along.  We now have Swansea to look forward to at the weekend, and of course seeing if Billy was able to bring in those signings he craves!

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15 Responses

  1. Well done !!!! I was nervous listening to the commentary so I can imagine what it was like in the ground.Can we hope for another 3 points on saturday??It would be nice to finish above the sheep. Should be a good game on saturday !!!I hope the weather is better for a big POSITIVE crowd!!

  2. I nearly didn’t go. Busy at work, long way to travel, awful weather, we can play awful too sometimes….but how can you not go?!? (matt on the other thread).
    I’m the sort who tries to get behind the team however they’re playing, and I’m so glad I did go in the end last night because that was a cracking game.
    Some of the football we played was a delight to watch. Particularly in the 2nd half.
    I’ve moaned about Lynch (on here) but he was awesome, Lewis got better as the game wore on, Earnie worked bloody hard, as did they all.
    Anyone else notice how all 3 substituted players appeared to be on the right wing when subbed?!

    Oh, and get a message to those Villa fans please…can we have another one of your “shit” players. Considering he’s been playing reserve football and never met our lot until this week that was an accomplished a debut as we’ve seen at the CG for some time.
    Win tackle, play short pass to red shirt, ask for it back, pass it again ON THE GROUND. Marvellous!

  3. A good solid performance lads on one hell of a shit night,lynch and Cohen top class lads,liked Billys time wasting with the subs late on sending players to the far side of the pitch,then bringing them off nice one,good steady game for the Villa lad things dont look so bleak………..you REDS…..

  4. Well done to billy and the lads a little fire in the belly is needed at forest and team davies are working miracles in my book.

    Without earnies goals and workrate we are a toothless lion so MASSIV UP FOR SUPER ROB.With players back in we suddenly seem a diffrent side its gonna be a dogfight right to the end so come on forest you can do it.

    U reds

  5. I was astonished at how well Joel Lynch played after some pathetic performances. I hope his confidence is restored, because he had a stormer today.

    I though Isiah Osbourne played brilliantly as well, considering that, as he put it, barely even knew the names of his teammates.

    Just one final thing…i usually bloody hate time wasting, and if i was the opposition my blood would have been boiling yesterday. But i guess if it secures us the points…:S

  6. well put mattyboy for your assumption of issiah osbourne – fantastic debut.nice now to have a gaffer with a bit of nouse with the naughty tactics with which we were often the victim of under calderwood,as matty and Mickf both said concerning subs,you could see mcgugan’s and earnie’s withdrawals a mile off and give the t*** of a ref his due he simply let all three subs trudge off at walking pace but then stung everybody with five mins injury time ! neh mind,fortunes turning again and a good job considering the results around the bottom of the championship.

  7. I thought Chris Bart-Williams, sorry, Isaiah Osbourne had a fine debut. Simple stuff done well. Whole team played well, in much the same vein as they did at times in the 2nd half at Reading. Neat and tidy passing. As nffc says, Lewis was Lewis… Blindingly infuriating at times, utterly skillful at others. I don’t think its so much a case of learning the right time to try the extravagant, more understanding when NOT to do it. Subtle but important difference.

    Great performance, some great football and a real TEAM effort. Very difficult to pick a MoM, there were several excellent displays but I think I’d just plump for Wes ahead of Lynch. Great game defensively and lead like the leader shoud. 10/10 lads, well done and keep it up for Saturday.

  8. Great results over the last couple of days, lets keepit up boys! Found this while trawling the net – http://www.itvlocal.com/yorkshire/sport/?player=YOR_Sport_15&void=281384
    it’s the Clough Calendar Special that was broadcast on ITV when Clough got the sack from Dirty Leeds. A classic, so go and watch now!

  9. A little story, please bear with me on this, all will become apparent!
    On Saturday I got up feeling miserable, all week I’d been reading the blogs about how bad we are/relegation/nobody cares about the club anymore etc. I must admit I’d started to get caught up in it.
    We were playing third in the league and I’d decided not to listen to the commentry or look for the score.
    I then found myself in a supermarket in Heanor (dodgy sheep shaging border town) where near the checkouts they were selling the Evening Post. As I’m queing a young lad in front of me shouted ‘look mum Forest!!’ he’d spotted a picture of (I think) Chris Cohen on the front cover of the Post. He then nagged his mum to buy it for no other reason than he wanted to see whatever was about Forest in it!
    I thought to myself that the bollocks that nobody cares anymore is just that. There are still kids out there for whom the Club is everything. I left feeling a bit more positive. I still didn’t listen to the commentary but by 4.30pm I had to find out so tuned into Colin Fray (nice to have him back). His first words were ‘it’s been a tough afternoon’ I thought 2 or 3 nil down? Imagine my surprise when he said we were 1 nil up!!
    After all that I was still not confident about last night – but I should have been we played with confidence and we well worth the win. Cohen was brilliant! Earnie, Lynch, Wes, Louis outstanding.
    The point to all this is that although we’re not out of the woods yet we’ve got to have FAITH – like the young lad!!
    PS We the fans were great last night, the reason? They gave us something to shout about and you could see even when PNE equalised their heads didn’t go down.
    COME ON U REDS!!

  10. URED, if I had four thumbs they’d be all up for you!
    Yes, there are people for whom the club really matters, and not only in the Nottingham region…
    Proudly wearing the 1994 blue-and-green shirt which has just come to my house via post (thanks ‘premiershirts’), I’m sending my warmest wishes to people who refuse to go with the flow and stick with their club through thick and thin.
    The best is yet to come!
    U MAGNIFICENT REDS!

  11. If you had four thumbs you’d be from Derby 🙂

  12. Hahahahaha
    Off subject nffc, I would like to extend my good luck wishes to Paul Hart who has got the green light to continue as Pompey manager until the end of the season. I think many Forest fans would join me in my sentiments towards a man who has done so much for our club and has departed in the most despicable way as far as I’m concerned.
    Would you fancy opening a topic on the subject? Up to you of course.

  13. My apologies to LEWIS McGugan, sorry for spelling your name wrong in my last post.
    Spellyn waz nevr mi stronge poynt.

  14. I hear we’ve got McSheffrey…

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